Leicester Tigers have been handed a major blow in the ongoing Gallagher Premiership campaign after hooker Tom Youngs has been suspended for three weeks.
The 32-year-old was sent-off by referee Tom Foley during the 56th minute of the game for striking the head of lock Ollie Atkins during a ruck during the recently concluded Gallagher Premiership clash against Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road.
Youngs appeared before a three-person disciplinary panel chaired by Philip Evans QC on Wednesday and was initially handed a six-week ban that was reduced by half taking into consideration his conduct during plea and other mitigating factors.
"Given his early plea of guilty, his candid evidence to the panel, obvious remorse, playing record and personal mitigation including off-field mitigating factors, exceptionally, the panel felt able to reduce the period of suspension by three weeks," Panel chair Philip Evans QC said.
As a result, Youngs will miss the Gallagher Premiership games against Newcastle Falcons, Harlequins and Bristol Bears in their battle to avoid relegation as they are positioned 10th with 34 points - five more than bottom-placed Dean Richard's side.