Finn Russell has been banned for three matches – including Edinburgh’s match vs Racing92 in the Champions Cup this weekend – following his red card in the historic win in Paris at the weekend.
He appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee via a Zoom call yesterday.
Russell had received a red card for an infringement of Law 9.12 (A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking).
In making his case, Finn accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and that it had warranted a red card. However, he did not accept that he had ‘struck’ Mr Dulin and suggested that the foul play should have been categorised as an infringement of Law 9.24 (A ball-carrier is permitted to hand off an opponent provided excessive force is not used).
The Disciplinary Committee decided that Mr Russell’s actions had been properly categorised as striking with the arm under Law 9.12 and found the offence to warrant a mid-range entry point (six weeks) which was then reduced to three weeks for general acceptance of his punishment as well as his sporting check that Dulin was okay as he left the field of play.
Although he does have a right of appeal, Mr Russell will be free to play again on Monday, 19 April 2021 or Monday, 26 April 2021 depending on how Racing’s fixtures pan out.
It finishes a mixed tournament for the Scottish standoff who went into it with a mix of hype and detraction but eventually emerged somewhere in the middle, having failed (even with that red card) to do anything truly catastrophic nor anything truly spellbinding.
Whether his last act in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations does him any favours in terms of Lions selection is more certain, with the act offering coach Warren Gatland a ready made excuse to pull out of the large sack he already keeps beside his desk labelled “Scottish players and mental weakness – justifications for not picking”.