GLASGOW will have full-back Stuart Hogg available for the finish to the RaboDirect PRO12 season after he escaped with a three-week suspension for his Six Nations sending-off.
The 21-year-old was initially shown a yellow card for a late hit on Wales stand-off Dan Biggar during Scotland’s game at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, which ended in a 51-3 win for the hosts. However, using new regulations allowing match officials to review incidents on the big TV screen, match referee Jerome Garces changed his mind on watching the replay and upgraded the sanction to a red card.
Hogg did not complain and, as well as going into the Wales dressing room to say sorry after the match and showing contrition to his team-mates, he was quick in offering a public apology to supporters for letting the team down. It was only the third time that a Scotland player had been sent off in a Test match, Hogg following Nathan Hines and Scott Murray into an exclusive but infamous club.
However, there were fears that his reckless act would also deprive Glasgow of his services for the rest of this season. That has proven to be unfounded with an independent disciplinarypanel convened by the Six Nations hearing from the player yesterday and deciding on a three-week ban. The charge against him had been amended to an act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4 (f) – Playing an opponent without the ball, which carried a mid range (five weeks) offence. The panel reduced the punishment by two weeks for mitigating factors, including Hogg’s record and remorse shown on the day of the match and through the media.
Hogg reiterated after the hearing that he was embarrassed by the incident, and had no complaint about his punishment.
“I am very sorry,” he repeated. “I have let people down and apologise to my team-mates, the Scotland management and all Scotland supporters. I am disappointed to be missing three games but fully respect the committee’s decision.”
The ban will end at midnight on 6 April, which means Hogg misses Glasgow’s home games against Scarlets, Ospreys and Treviso, and will be free to return for what is expected to be a crucial match away to Munster on 12 April, with games against Ulster, Edinburgh and Treviso following before the top four qualify for the play-offs.