Ambitious French club Toulon were dealt a crunching blow with the news that their All Black prop Carl Hayman has been suspended for four weeks.
This follows a disciplinary hearing in Dublin on Friday, arising from the Amlin Challenge Cup Final against Biarritz last Friday.
Hayman was ruled to have carried out a dangerous tackle on the Biarritz wing Taku Ngwenya during the second half of the match for which he received a yellow card.
The ban comes a day before Toulon are scheduled to meet Racing Metro in the first round of French play-off matches.
The judicial officer, Christopher Quinlan (England), heard evidence and submissions from Hayman who accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, but argued that it warranted a yellow card and not a red card.
The Judicial Officer upheld the citing complaint and found that the offence warranted a red card, and employing the IRB recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(j), he determined that the offence was at the mid-range entry point of six weeks.
In reference to the IRB's directive on this pattern of offending (tip tackles), he then added a further week as a deterrent.
Having then considered the mitigating factors, including the player's admission of culpability, good record and character, conduct before the hearing and genuine expressions of remorse, which he demonstrated immediately after the tackle on the pitch, the judicial officer allowed a reduction of three weeks, before imposing a suspension of four weeks.
In light of the forthcoming off-season, the suspension will run for the remainder of the Top 14 championship season - from last Monday, May 21, up to and including Sunday, June 10, namely three weeks. The balance, one week, will commence at the start of Toulon's 2012/13 season. On the basis that the judicial officer was told Toulon's first pre-season fixture is scheduled for July 27, the balance will run from July 26 to August 1.
Hayman will be free to play on Thursday, August 2.
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