Fly-half Finn Russell has been handed a reduced three-week band after he was sent off against France in Scotland’s Six Nations finale.
The Scotland fly half, Finn Russell, appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee via a Zoom call today. Mr Russell had received a red card in the match in the Guinness Six Nations Championship between France and Scotland on 26 March 2021 at the Stade de France in Paris. The red card had been issued for an infringement of Law 9.12 (A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking), when, in the 70th minute of the match, Mr Russell ‘fended’ the France 15, Brice Dulin.
The Disciplinary Committee, which comprised Antony Davies (England), Olly Kohn (Wales) and Jamie Corsi (Wales), heard evidence and submissions from Mr Russell and his legal counsel (Bruce Caldow), as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative.
Russell accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and that it had warranted a red card. However, he did not accept that he had ‘struck’ Mr Dulin and suggested that the foul play should have been categorised as an infringement of Law 9.24 (A ball-carrier is permitted to hand off an opponent provided excessive force is not used).
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The Disciplinary Committee decided that Mr Russell’s actions had been properly categorised as striking with the arm under Law 9.12 and found the offence to warrant a mid-range entry point (six weeks).
The Disciplinary Committee identified no aggravating features. In terms of mitigation, the Disciplinary Committee gave credit for Mr Russell’s prompt acceptance that his actions had constituted foul play and been worthy of a red card, his disciplinary record, his attitude to the disciplinary process before and during the hearing, and his clear remorse (shown by his response to Mr Dulin on the pitch), and reduced the suspension by three weeks so that the final period of suspension is three weeks.