Clermont Auvergne’s Viktor Kolelishvili has been suspended for 14 weeks after pushing referee Wayne Barnes during Friday’s European Rugby Champions Cup fixture against the Ospreys.
The Georgia international pushed Barnes in the 17th minute of his team’s eventual 21-13 defeat, and was fortunate the Englishman only warned him and awarded a penalty.
An independent disciplinary hearing was, however, scheduled for Tuesday in Paris after the flanker was cited, and after hearing evidence and Kolelishvili pleading guilty to the offence, the judicial officer David Martin found that he had “committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card”.
The 26-year-old will again be free to play from April 25, and he and European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have the right to appeal, though it was “determined that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and (Martin) selected 24 weeks as the appropriate entry point.
“He added two weeks due to the player’s poor disciplinary record before reducing the sanction by half of the entry point taking into account Kolelishvili’s immediate apology to the referee, his subsequent remorse, guilty plea and good conduct at the hearing.
“He then imposed a suspension of 14 weeks.”