Davies to appeal against ban

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The Independent Online
RUGBY UNION

John Davies, the Wales prop, will this week appeal against the 60-day suspension he received after being sent off for kicking Ben Clarke in the head after an hour of England's 23-9 win at Cardiff Arms Park.

The 26-year-old Neath forward was yesterday being shielded from the media by the Welsh management, who themselves are treading a diplomatic path to avoid upsetting the appeal panel, which will meet within seven days.

"John is upset and disappointed at the sending-off," Robert Norster, the Wales team manager, said. "Having sat before the Five Nations' disciplinary committee, John will be invoking his right to appeal against his sentence. It is our understanding that the appeal will be heard within seven days. As that is the case, it would be inappropriate for John or anyone else to comment further."

Davies's dispatch occurred after an intervention by the touch judge Patrick Robin, Didier Men thus becoming the first French referee to send off a player in a major international. Clarke said: "A boot connected with the back of the head. I don't want to whinge but players who kick in the head have got to be sent off."

Davies was judged by a committee consisting of the Welsh Rugby Union chairman, Vernon Pugh, a senior Rugby Football Union committee man, Peter Brook, and an independent chairman, the former Ireland and Lions captain Tom Kiernan.

England have a month before going for the Grand Slam against Scotland at Twickenham but Wales must pick up the pieces in time for team selection for their own Scottish match at Murrayfield on 4 March.

As well as the suspended Davies, they will be without two players injured against England. The full-back Anthony Clement was concussed in the opening minutes and automatically has to rest for three weeks; the wing Nigel Walker will need between four and six weeks to recover from a second dislocation of his right shoulder.

Scotland have injury problems of their own after completing the second leg of the Grand Slam by beating France 23-21, the Scots' first win in Paris since 1969 and their first at Parc des Princes since 1920.

Their lock Damian Cronin has torn elbow ligaments, which will put him out of the Welsh match and possibly the English one too. The centre Ian Jardine is out for the rest of the championship with a cracked cheekbone.

Five Nations' reports, page 28

England A romp, results, page 29

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