Six Nations: Finn Russell out after losing appeal

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FINN Russell will miss Scotland’s RBS Six Nations clash with Italy after his appeal against a two-week ban was thrown out by tournament officials.

A Six Nations appeal committee rejected the Scottish Rugby Union’s appeal against Russell’s ban for tackling Dan Biggar in the air in the 26-23 defeat to Wales on 15 February.

Russell will now miss this weekend's match with Italy. Picture: Getty

Russell will now miss this weekend's match with Italy. Picture: Getty

The appeal committee upheld the original decision to suspend Russell for two weeks, despite considering submissions from the 22-year-old stand-off at a London hearing yesterday. Russell will now miss Saturday’s match at BT Murrayfield but will be free to face England at Twickenham on 14 March, if selected. Scotland will name their team to face Italy today.

“The Appeal Committee, having considered submissions on behalf of the player and on behalf of the Six Nations disciplinary officer, dismissed the appeal with the result that the original sanction of a two-week suspension stands, with Finn Russell able to return to play on March 2, 2015,” read a Six Nations statement.

Russell had his initial three-week ban cut to two weeks in the first hearing on his case, because of his clean record.

The Glasgow No 10 avoided a lengthy ban as Six Nations chiefs ruled his challenge “reckless rather than deliberate”.

Russell collided with Biggar as his Wales counterpart leapt for a high ball into the Scotland half during the first period of Scotland’s slender Murrayfield defeat. Biggar landed in a heap, but avoided serious injury and was able to continue.

New Zealand referee Glen Jackson sin-binned Russell, but a Six Nations disciplinary committee sprung a surprise by ruling that the offence warranted a red card following the first hearing in London. The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) quickly announced plans to appeal the decision, clearly adamant Russell had collided with Biggar unwittingly and accidentally.

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