Zander Fagerson may play again in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations after all – although the championship disciplinary committee can’t make their mind up.
After three days of appeal, a disciplinary hearing upheld the original decision of a four-match ban for the Scotland tight-head prop as a result of his red card in the game against Wales two weeks ago.
But although they have clarified the ban to confirm Glasgow’s matches during the championship DO now count to the ban, they’re not sure whether yesterday’s postponement of the game against France comes into play.
Therefore Fagerson will definitely miss the game against Ireland on March 14, it’s still not clear whether he can play against Italy six days later.
Fagerson was sent off for a dangerous clearout on Wales’ Wyn Jones during Scotland’s 24-25 defeat to Wales at Murrayfield.
He continued to dispute the decision of referee Matt Carley at the original disciplinary hearing and was given a four-match ban, meaning he was likely to miss the rest of the championship.
Those four matches were thought not to include Glasgow Warriors’ games against Ulster (played last week) and Zebre, but the appeal hearing clarified these games – in which Fagerson is unlikely to have played anyway – do count.
However it’s not clear whether the fact the France game now will not take place comes under the auspice of the ban.
It’s another example of the fraught and often puzzling results from rugby’s disciplinary committees, where conduct to the hearing and agreeing with the referee’s decision carry as much weight in penalty as the actual offence on the field.
Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony, sent off for an almost identical offence against Wales a week prior to Fagerson, got just a three-match ban, but that was because the Irishman didn’t dispute the decision at the tribunal.