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Wales winger Alex Cuthbert has been suspended for three weeks after being cited for a dangerous tackle during the Ospreys’ Champions Cup clash with Racing 92.
However, he could still be available for the Six Nations opener against Ireland if he applies for a World Rugby Coaching Intervention.
That’s a new scheme under which a player found guilty of a red card offence for head contact will work with their coach on tackle technique and implementing modifications.
Cuthbert’s offence was a dangerous high tackle on Racing 92 hooker Teddy Baubigny in the opening minutes of the Ospreys’ meeting with the French club in Swansea last Saturday.
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He was yellow carded following the incident, but was then subsequently cited by the match Citing Commissioner Peter Ferguson, of Ireland, who felt it deemed a red card.
An independent Disciplinary Committee made up of charman Daniel White (England), Mike Ross (Ireland) and Leon Lloyd (England) heard evidence and submissions from Cuthbert, Ospreys team manager Dai Davies and EPCR Disciplinary Officer Liam McTiernan.
The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding the 48-cap wing had carried out a dangerous tackle and had made contact with Baubigny’s head and neck area.
It then determined the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
But, on the basis that Cuthbert accepted he had committed an act of foul play and had a clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant the full 50 per cent mitigation.
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So the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.
That rules the 31-year-old out until Monday, February, 7, which means he would be unavailable for Wales’ Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin on February 5.
However, if he applies for a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, January 31.
That means he would sit out the Ospreys’ games against Sale this Sunday and then Edinburgh the following week, but would be available for selection to face the Irish.
Cuthbert returned to international rugby after a four-year gap in November with a try-scoring display against Fiji.
He has become eligible once more under the 60-cap rule having joined the Ospreys from Exeter last summer and was named in Wayne Pivac’s Six Nations squad on Tuesday.
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