Kyle Sinckler handed seven week ban for gouging

Kyle Sinckler has apologised to team-mates after being banned for gouging
Kyle Sinckler has apologised to team-mates after being banned for gouging
©PA

Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler has been handed a seven-week ban following an eye-gouging incident that took place in the recent Aviva Premiership encounter against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens.

The England international was cited for making contact with Michael Paterson's eye during the Saturday's encounter which the Saints went on to win 30-22.

As a result, the 24-year-old will miss the first two games of England's autumn international campaign when the host Argentina and Australia on 11th and 18th November respectively and will be available to play from 21st November - four days before Eddie Jones' men take on Samoa.

The minimum suspension for making a contract with the eye is 12 weeks but this was reduced to seven because of Sinckler's conduct during the hearing and his plea of guilty.

"It was a genuine mistake and an act of recklessness on my part," he said.

"I accept the outcome of the hearing and wanted to go on record to say I am sorry that I have let my team-mates down.

"More importantly, I feel terrible that anyone would think I would deliberately gouge an opponent. That was never my intention."

The disciplinary panel chairman Dan White stated that the absence of injury also played a part on him being sanctioned a lesser punishment.

"The panel heard evidence from the player as to his actions. They found that it was an intentional action, but that due to the absence of injury it merited a low end entry point," panel chairman Dan White said.

Harlequins rugby director John Kingston backed Sinckler to bounce back from the setback and urged the players to be more disciplined.

"Despite Kyle's unfair public reputation he actually has a very good on-field disciplinary record," Kingston added.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this incident was accidental, but both myself, and as a club we fully accept the importance of player welfare and believe wholeheartedly that there is no place for any player's hand ever to be around the eye area of an opponent."

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Aviva Premiership Rugby 2016/17 - Points Table