Paul Gabrillagues could miss the World Cup after he was handed a six-week suspension for a dangerous head-first challenge on Scotland flank John Barclay.
The incident with Gabrillagues and Barclay took place at a ruck 17 minutes into a warm-up match last Saturday, which France won 32-3.
France lock Paul Gabrillagues has been cited for this clearout against Scotland.
Foul play contrary to Law 9.20 (dangerous play in a ruck or maul). pic.twitter.com/x6h4JaaAXT
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) August 18, 2019
Gabrillagues appeared on Tuesday before an independent World Rugby disciplinary committee, having been cited for alleged foul play.
The disciplinary committee accepted a guilty plea from Gabrillagues for contravening Law 9.20: ‘A player must not charge into a ruck or maul.’
The committee determined that the act merited a top-end entry point which, according to World Rugby’s sanctions table, carries a minimum 10-week suspension. But because of the player’s early acknowledgement of guilt, his apology and expression of remorse to his opponent and his good conduct at the hearing, his sanction was reduced by 40%.
The 26-year-old has subsequently been banned from all forms of the game for six weeks, up to and including Sunday, 6 October 2019. The suspension covers the opening three group matches at the World Cup.
Gabrillagues has the right to appeal the decision within 48 hours. It remains unclear if France will replace the lock in their World Cup squad.
Meanwhile, former France international Gregory Lamboley claimed it was ‘outrageous’ that Gabrillagues received a six-week ban, while the All Blacks’ Scott Barrett only received a three-week ban for a similar offence the week before, meaning he will not miss any World Cup games.
Si pour ce geste Paul Gabrillagues prend 6 semaines et manque la Coupe du monde alors que Scott Barett en a pris seulement 3 pour son geste contre l’Australie c’est tout simplement scandaleux … https://t.co/uokSXWSrCd
— Greg Lamboley (@greglamboley) August 20, 2019