Wasps forward Brad Shields has been handed a four-week suspension following his red card against Munster in their Champions Cup home game over the weekend.
The news comes as a further setback for the Premiership club as they battle to be able to field a competitive team to take on Top 14 giants Toulouse on Sunday.
Shields was sent off in the 26th minute of the 35-14 defeat by Munster after referee Romain Poite deemed his tackle on Dave Kilcoyne to be dangerous, saying that he had struck the prop’s neck with his shoulder.
Ban reduced by two weeks
The former England back-row contested the red card at an independent hearing but it was found that he had “made contact with Kilcoyne’s head and neck area in a dangerous manner”.
The offence was considered mid-range in severity, resulting in a six-week ban that was reduced by two weeks because of Shields’ good disciplinary record.
It wipes out his involvement in the second round of Europe this weekend, plus Premiership fixtures against London Irish, Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers.
However, the last week of the suspension will be waived if he successfully completes a World Rugby coaching intervention, making it possible for him to face the Tigers at the CBS Arena on January 9.
It is a major blow to Wasps, who are struggling to raise a team for their visit to the Stade Ernest Wallon due to an injury list that accounts for 17 players and an outbreak of Covid.
Saracens have been forced to forfeit their upcoming Challenge Cup fixture against Pau following a Covid-19 outbreak at the Premiership outfit.
European Professional Club Rugby revealed a 28-0 scoreline and five match points had been given to the Top 14 side, who were due to host Saracens on Saturday.
EPCR added that Saracens had informed them of a “significant number” of positive tests among their squad, meaning they couldn’t safely fulfil the pool fixture.