PARIS (Reuters) – France lock Paul Gabrillagues has successfully appealed against his six-week suspension for foul play, World Rugby said on Wednesday, making him eligible to be named in the squad for next month’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Gabrillagues was found guilty of a head-first challenge on Scotland’s John Barclay during the hosts’ 32-3 win in Nice earlier this month and the Frenchman accepted that it was a dangerous foul worthy of a red card.
The initial ban was set to rule him out of contention until Oct. 6, which would have seen him miss France’s first three pool matches against Argentina, the U.S. and Tonga. He will now be eligible for selection after the first pool match on Sept. 21.
“Having considered all the evidence and submissions by the player… the Appeal Committee determined that the act of foul play contrary to Law 9.20 merited a mid-range entry point, which has a starting point of six weeks,” World Rugby said in a statement.
“The Appeal Committee found that there were no aggravating factors, but in light of his admission, the fact the Appeal Committee accepted his account of the incident and other relevant features of mitigation, the committee reduced the suspension to three weeks.”
As a result of the reprieve, Gabrillagues will be available for France’s second match against the U.S. on Oct. 2. Head coach Jacques Brunel is set to name his final 31-man squad on Sept. 2.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)