The Montpellier lock misses France's crucial match against Scotland in their final Six Nations game
Paul Willemse banned for two matches
Paul Willemse has been banned for two matches after being sent off in France’s penultimate Six Nations game against Wales. Crucially, he misses the championship decider against Scotland on Friday night.
After clearing out Wales’ Wyn Jones from a ruck with an illegal neck roll, France lock Willemse made contact with the prop’s eye area in the same action, which led to his dismissal after referee Luke Pearce and TMO Wayne Barnes reviewed the footage.
Related: Fabien Galthie claims Wales ‘specialise in getting players sent off’
Willemse admitted to committing an act of foul play at his hearing but denied making contact with Jones’s eye. The independent disciplinary also determined “that there was insufficient evidence” of Willemse making contacting with the Wales prop’s eye and rated the offence as “reckless”, ruling it low range.
A low-range offence starts with a four-week ban and the committee reduced Willemse’s suspension by two weeks, the maximum reduction of 50%.
Willemse’s two-match ban therefore covers France’s Six Nations decider against Scotland, plus Montpellier’s Challenge Cup fixture against Glasgow on 2 April.
A Six Nations statement read: “Willemse accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and that it had warranted a red card. He did not accept making contact with the eye.
“The disciplinary committee determined that Willemse had acted recklessly and not intentionally and that there was no evidence of injury. It found the offence to warrant a low-end entry point.
“The disciplinary committee identified no aggravating features. In terms of mitigation, the disciplinary committee gave credit for Willemse’s prompt acceptance that his actions had constituted foul play. They also gave credit for his attitude to the disciplinary process before and during the hearing and his clear remorse. They reduced the suspension by two weeks so that the final period of suspension is two weeks.”
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