Scotland and Lions prop Rory Sutherland will be available for the upcoming Six Nations Championship despite being suspended for three weeks.
The loosehead was sent off in Worcester Warriors’ 22-19 defeat to Bath for a head-on-head collision with Will Stuart.
Sutherland is set to miss Worcester’s matches against Toulon, Zebre Parma and Northampton Saints, but he will definitely be available for Scotland’s clash with England on February 5.
And the 27-year-old could still play for the Warriors in their next Premiership clash at home to Northampton on January 29 if he successfully completes a World Rugby coaching course.
Challenged red card call
Panel chair Charles Cuthbert said: “The player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play in which his head had made direct contact with that of the opposing player.
“It was not accepted that the act merited a red card.
“The player sought to persuade the panel that when applying the Head Contact Process (HCP) it was possible to apply mitigating factors on account of the ball carrier’s sideways step shortly before contact.
“The panel considered the oral submissions from the club and the player as well as those of the RFU but did not find that the movement of the Bath player was sufficient to allow a reduction from red card to yellow card. The charge was therefore upheld.
“The player had accepted that he committed an act of foul play, has a clean disciplinary record and was open and direct in response to questions asked.
“The panel allowed 50 per cent mitigation accordingly. There were no aggravating features present and therefore the sanction remains three weeks.
“The player sought permission to apply to World Rugby to take part in the Coaching Intervention Programme which the panel approved.
“If the player successfully completes the coaching course, he will be available for the game against Northampton Saints.”
Exeter prop Alec Hepburn, meanwhile, has received a three-week suspension after being sent off for a tip tackle in the Chiefs’ 14-12 Premiership defeat at Harlequins last Saturday.
Cuthbert said: “The player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and that the act merited the award of a red card.
“The panel agreed with the submissions of both the club and the RFU that the appropriate entry point was low end.
“Allowing 50 per cent mitigation on the basis of his acceptance of the charge, his clean record and his engagement with the process, the panel imposed a three-week suspension which means the player is free to play on February 1.”
Hepburn will miss Exeter’s Champions Cup games against Glasgow and Montpellier and the Premiership visit to London Irish.