France lock Gabrillagues suspended, will miss first three RWC pool games

LONDON (AP) – Lock Paul Gabrillagues will miss France’s first three pool games at the Rugby World Cup (RWC) after he was suspended on Tuesday for six weeks for hitting an opponent’s head during an illegal charge into a ruck last weekend.

At a World Rugby disciplinary hearing, Gabrillagues admitted the offence was red-card worthy in the 16th minute of France’s 32-3 win against Scotland in Nice last Saturday. He wasn’t sanctioned at the time, and Gabrillagues was cited after the match.

A three-man disciplinary committee deemed the incident intentional. The unnamed Scot was injured.

The offence carries a minimum sanction of 10 weeks but was reduced by 40 per cent after Gabrillagues admitted early guilt, apologised, and showed remorse.

He was suspended to midnight on October 6, meaning he will miss France’s remaining warm-up games against Scotland and Italy this month, and the World Cup pool games in Japan against Argentina on September 21, the United States (US) on October 2 and Tonga on October 6.

Stade Francais’ French lock Paul Gabrillagues (C) vies with Montpellier’s South African hooker Bismarck du Plessis (R) during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Montpellier and Stade Francais at the GGL Stadium in Montpellier, southern France on May 19. PHOTO: AFP