Six Nations 2015: France lock Pascal Pape handed 10-week ban

France lock Pape cited for kneeing

France lock Pascal Pape will miss the remainder of the Six Nations after being handed a 10-week ban for kneeing Ireland's Jamie Heaslip in the back during last weekend's game in Dublin.

Pape and France coach Philippe Saint-Andre both appeared in front of a disciplinary panel on Wednesday.

The second row has the right to appeal against the ban.

The panel said that it wanted to suspend Pape for 15 weeks but had reduced the ban because of his remorse.

"The Disciplinary Committee decided that the offence should be categorised at the top end of World Rugby's scale of seriousness and set an entry point of a 15-week suspension," said a statement.

"It noted further the absence of aggravating factors and the existence of certain mitigating factors, including the player's admission of foul play and his expressions of remorse for what had occurred and the injury sustained by his opponent, in applying a five week reduction."

2015 Six Nations: Ireland 18 - 11 France

The French lock apologised to Heaslip on social media on Tuesday.

Pape was given a yellow card by referee Wayne Barnes for the 52nd-minute incident during Ireland's 18-11 win.

The France lock was subsequently reported by the independent citing commissioner Stefano Marrama for falling foul of Law 10.4 (a) which forbids "punching or striking" an opponent.

Irish number eight Heaslip will miss at least the next game against England with damage to three vertebrae but accepted Pape's apology, tweeting a message in French which translates: "Rugby is a physical game and one accepts that can happen. I accept your apology completely."

Wednesday's hearing ran late owing to personal testimonies from both Pape and Saint-Andre and the verdict was delayed until Thursday afternoon.

France's next game is at home to Wales on 28 February, when Romain Taofifenua is likely to start at lock in place of Pape.

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