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Pape gets 10-week ban for kneeing opponent in back

February 19, 2015

LONDON (AP) — France lock Pascal Pape will miss the rest of the Six Nations after being banned for 10 weeks on Thursday for deliberately kneeing Jamie Heaslip in the back, a challenge that left the Ireland No. 8 with three broken vertebrae.

Pape was given a yellow card for the offense during the second half of Saturday’s match in Dublin, but was later cited.

A Six Nations disciplinary committee determined that the offense merited a red card and “should be categorized at the top end of World Rugby’s scale of seriousness.”

The three-man committee gave Pape a 15-week suspension, which was reduced to 10 weeks because of mitigating circumstances including Pape’s admission of foul play and “his expressions of remorse for what had occurred and the injury sustained by his opponent.”

Pape, who attended the first day of the disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday, has the right to appeal. France has three games left in the Six Nations, against Wales, Italy and England.

The French started their campaign by beating Scotland 15-8 but lost 18-11 to Ireland.

Heaslip, who has accepted an apology from Pape, was ruled out for four weeks as a result of the injury. He will miss Ireland’s crucial match against England in Round 3, when the competition’s two remaining unbeaten teams meet in a potential title showdown in Dublin.