Heineken Cup: Lassissi gets 12 month ban

Castres forward Ismaela Lassissi has been banned for 12 months by Heineken Cup disciplinary chiefs after being found guilty of biting an opponent.

Castres forward Ismaela Lassissi has been banned for 12 months by Heineken Cup disciplinary chiefs after being found guilty of biting an opponent.

Ivory Coast international Lassissi was cited by Munster for biting their Irish international prop Peter Clohessy during last Saturday's group game between the clubs in France, which Castres won 21-13.

And after a disciplinary hearing in Dublin on Thursday night, chaired by solicitor and Welsh Rugby Union official Terry Vaux, 32-year-old Lassissi was hit with the ban, which takes immediate effect.

Lassissi and the Castres club have 72 hours in which to decide whether they will lodge an appeal.

Clohessy was cited by Castres in a counter response for making an alleged racist remark to Lassissi, but the French club withdrew their protest at the hearing.

Lassissi's suspension is one of the biggest ever handed out to a player in the Heineken Cup.

But biting - French television pictures appeared to show him making contact with Clohessy's arm - is considered one of rugby union's most heinous crimes.

Bath prop Kevin Yates received a six-month suspension in 1998 after being found guilty by the Rugby Football Union of biting London Scottish flanker Simon Fenn's left ear, although Yates has always denied that accusation.

Lassissi is now set to miss Castres' Heineken Cup quarter-final against Montferrand on Saturday week, but Clohessy is free to continue playing, and is certain to be in the Munster line-up for their last-eight clash at Stade Francais.

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