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French secondrow Willemse handed ban for red card vs Ireland

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Wednesday Feb 7, 2024

French secondrow Paul Willemse has been handed a four-week ban following his red card in round one of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

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Issued with a yellow card in the 8th minute for a clear-out attempt on Ireland prop Andrew Porter that saw the player leave the pitch for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA).

The Bunker did not deem the yellow card met the red card threshold and thus remained as just a ten-minute offence.

Returning to the field of play for just over ten minutes, Willemse was shown a second yellow card for a high tackle on number eight Caelen Doris in the 30th minute.

Meeting the red card threshold, the second incident would have resulted in Willemse leaving the pitch even if the first incident had not occurred.

Willemse will now miss France’s next two fixtures away to Scotland and home to Italy but will be available for the final two rounds against England and Wales.

The player appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee via video link on Tuesday, where he was formally sanctioned.

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“Having considered the incidents separately, including the relevant supporting statements and footage, the Committee deemed that the red card threshold was reached in respect of the citing, meaning that too was upheld.

“The Committee, however, accepted that whilst both actions were reckless, there was no evidence to suggest the player acted maliciously or with intent in either case. The Committee also highlighted the player had presented himself admirably in the process and shown remorse for his actions.

“Following World Rugby’s mandatory guidelines, the sending off incident warranted a mid-range entry point of six weeks suspension. Mitigating factors were applied by the Committee reducing the six-week entry point by two weeks, resulting in a sanction of four weeks for this offence.”

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