Rugby Union: Yates banned for a month

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By David Llewellyn

THE BATH prop Kevin Yates was yesterday banned for 28 days by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel for his stamp on the Wasps flanker Paul Volley in an Allied Dunbar Premiership match at the beginning of last month. It means the Bath player will be out of action until 1 April.

The panel, which met at Twickenham, decided that Yates was not guilty of wilfully stamping on Volley - the penalty for which would have been a 12-week ban - but found him guilty of the lesser charge of recklessness.

The ban is a further blot on Yates' record after he had been found guilty of biting the ear of the London Scottish flanker Simon Fenn a year ago for which he was banned for six months. But Yates is not out of hot water yet. The RFU has yet to consider another charge relating to the ear-biting incident. That will be heard at a date still to be decided. Yates is alleged not to have paid pounds 20,000 towards London Scottish's legal costs, incurred during the hearing 13 months ago. If he is found guilty then he could face a further six-month suspension.

France have been forced into making a late change to their team to face Wales at the Stade de France tomorrow. The Brive flanker, Olivier Magne, is suffering from a foot injury and his place in the back row is taken by the debutant Marc Raynaud, of Narbonne. It is the first time Magne has missed an international through injury since his debut in 1997.

Richmond have yet to decide whether to apply for an administration order after admitting they have run up losses this year of a reported pounds 1.5m.

Their owner Ashley Levett wants to reduce his stake in the club by up to 25 per cent and the club is looking into ways of raising the necessary pounds 1.4m which would allow them to retain their present playing staff.

With weekly outgoings estimated at between pounds 65,000 and pounds 80,000, including the pounds 15,000 rent they pay to Reading FC for use of the Madejski Stadium and its facilities, it is likely that the administrators would have to consider trimming the playing staff and cutting wages.