The 12-week ban imposed on Olivier Azam of Gloucester Rugby for kicking during the Guinness Premiership match at Vicarage Road on September 27 remains in place following today's appeal hearing.
Gloucester Rugby was successful with its appeal in arguing that the offence was best categorised at the mid range entry point of eight weeks rather than top end of 12+ weeks on the scale of seriousness.
However, the panel of Ian Mill QC, Philip Evans and David Hurst decided that the sanction should stay the same based on the following:
* The offence should be categorised at the mid range rather than the top end entry point decided by the original panel
* Six weeks should be added to the eight weeks for his previous disciplinary record, bringing the total to 14 weeks
* Two weeks should be deducted for the player's guilty plea and other mitigating factors which will be outlined in the full judgment available in due course
Azam is therefore still suspended until December 28. He can play again on December 29.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).