- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
England will be without Kyle Sinckler for the first round of this year's Six Nations after the prop received a two-week ban for failing to respect the authority of the match official during Bristol's 20-7 win over Exeter.
The British & Irish Lions tighthead contested the charge but an online independent disciplinary panel found that his actions were "aggressive" and "directed at" the referee, former Harlequins team-mate, Karl Dickson. In adjudging that Sinckler had contravened World Rugby Law 9.28, the panel noted that the offence was at a "low entry point with no relevant mitigation".
Brian Moore column: Call me old-fashioned but Kyle Sinckler's F-bomb row highlights need for respect
Sinckler will be free to play again on Feb 9, missing England's Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on Feb 6 - should he be selected - or Bristol's next two Premiership matches, against Bath and Sale. Telegraph Sport understands that the ban cannot be applied to Six Nations matches at this stage, seeing as Eddie Jones is still yet to name his squad for the tournament.
The independent disciplinary panel, chaired by Richard Whittam QC, alongside Becky Essex and former Leicester wing Leon Lloyd, said: “Kyle Sinckler accepted that he used foul language at the referee, he did not accept the conduct warranted a red card. The panel viewed the live recordings of the incident and were satisfied that his shout of ‘are you f------ serious’ was aggressive; directed at the referee...
“The player was candid in is evidence as to why he had done so and regretted his actions. The panel found that his actions disrespected the authority of the referee it was in breach of a core value of rugby - respect of match officials - and warranted a red card. The panel determined that in all the circumstances it was a low entry point with no relevant mitigation. The sanction is a two-week ban.”
The incident occurred early in the second half of the Bears' victory over the champions last Saturday, when Sinckler was angered by a perceived no-arms tackle by England team-mate, Luke Cowan-Dickie. After referee Dickson deemed the challenge legal, Sinckler shouted “Are you f------ serious?”
Dickson did review the tackle but opted not to penalise his former team-mate, whom he warned of his "unacceptable" language. Sinckler was subsequently cited by independent citing commissioner Duncan Bell.
Sinckler issued an immediate apology on social media after Saturday’s game, tweeting: “Want to apologise for my reaction today. Not the example I want to be setting. Heat of the moment stuff. Will make a conscious effort to improve. My bad.”
Bath's Will Stuart, who impressed off the bench during the Autumn Nations Cup, will be the frontrunner to deputise for Sinckler against Scotland, with Exeter's Harry Williams and Leicester's Joe Heyes among other possibilities.