Edinburgh’s Simon Berghan will miss the first month of the New Year and Scotland’s opening Six Nations match against Wales after being handed a six week ban for his sending off in the 1872 Cup match against Glasgow.
Berghan was shown a straight red card by referee Frank Murphy for an intention stamp on the head of Scotland team-mate Fraser Brown after just five minutes of the first leg of the inter-city derbies, in which Edinburgh rallied to win 18-17.
The 27-year-old New Zealand-born tight head has four caps for Scotland and was the starter for the final Autumn Test against Australia last month.
Berghan faced a Guinness PRO14 disciplinary hearing committee consisting of three Irishmen, Michael Coghlan, George Spotswood and former international referee Donal Courtney, and they concluded that the offence merited the full 12 week “high-end entry point” for a suspension.
However they recognised Berghan’s previously good record, his apology to Brown, the fact that no serious injury occurred and the manner in which he and the club conducted themselves at the hearing, and the suspension period was halved to six weeks.
This means Berghan is out until February 4, the day after Scotland’s opening NatWest 6 Nations game against Wales in Cardiff.
To fill the gap left by the ban and worries about Rory Sutherland after Saturday’s game, Edinburgh signed their third prop in just over a month by recruiting Samoan international Jordan Lay.
Lay, who played for Samoa in the Autumn Test at Murrayfield last month, joins until the end of the season from Mitre 10 Cup team Bay of Plenty Steamers.
A loose-head, Lay covers the absence of Alasdair Dickinson (missing the entire season so far), Allan Dell (just two games this term), Darryl Marfo (out with a back problem since the Autumn Tests) and now Sutherland who suffered a suspected shoulder injury against Glasgow.
Former Dunfermline prop Murray McCallum is likely to start if Sutherland is absent for Scotstoun but Lay could come straight on to the bench.
“Jordan is a young prop with great potential and I’m delighted that he’s chosen to join the club at an exciting time of the season,” said head coach Richard Cockerill.
“He has impressed for Samoa on the international stage and he will no doubt add another dimension to what we’re building here at Edinburgh.”
Lay was born in Samoa but moved to New Zealand at three years old, and learned his rugby at the renowned King’s College in Auckland.
He made his debut for Samoa against Tonga in July, and has won four caps in all.
Meanwhile, lock Anton Bresler has left Edinburgh by mutual agreement and rejoined the club’s former coach Alan Solomons at Worcester Warriors.
The 29-year-old Namibian made 61 appearances for the club since joining in the summer of 2014. He had signed a one-year deal at the beginning of the season.