Saturday saw one of the most exciting, free-flowing games of recent times. Two of the best international sides in the world battled it out in a thrilling encounter that saw Ireland come out on top over the upcoming World Cup hosts, France.
Adding to the intense drama, an illegal hit by Uini Atonio saw the French prop receive his marching orders as he spent 10 minutes on the sideline. The hit was initially thought by many to have been a solid and legal collision, but after inspection by the Television Match Official, it was deemed to be a dangerous direct contact to the head tackle. The collision itself also saw Ireland hooker Rob Herring removed from the action, not to return from the head injury assessment. Herring has since been confirmed to be proceeding through the return-to-play protocols.
A Six Nations statement read:
“The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card,
“Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee accepted the player’s admission that the tackle on Ireland number two was foul play.
“His shoulder made contact with Ireland number two’s neck/face as described in the citing commissioner’s report, and therefore reached the red-card threshold.”
An original six-week suspension was reduced to three weeks because of 32-year-old Atonio’s “immediate admission of guilt, his exemplary disciplinary record and genuine remorse”.
Atonio would miss the Scotland and England matches as a result of the ban, but will be available for the Wales match should he complete the coaching intervention programme.