The Ivory Coast international back-row forward Ismaella Lassissi, of the French club Castres, was last night found guilty of biting Ireland and Munster prop Peter Clohessy on the left arm during last weekend's final Heineken Cup Pool Four match and suspended for one year – the minimum sentence for such an offence.
It is the second-longest ban dished out to a player for a foul play following the two-year ban slapped on Richard Nones of French side Colomiers a couple of seasons ago after he was found guilty of gouging against Pontypridd.
A counter claim of racial and discriminatory abuse brought by Castres against Clohessy was withdrawn at last night's hearing in Dublin. The ban is effective immediately and under ERC rules Lassissi has 72 hours in which to appeal.
Warren Gatland, the former Ireland coach, has finally joined the Zurich Premiership strugglers Wasps on a two-and-a-half year contract. The deal was confirmed yesterday by Nigel Melville, the London club's director of coaching, and Gatland is expected to slot into the club's coaching team in time for the Premiership match at Newcastle a week on Sunday.
Gatland looks likely to concentrate most of his efforts on the Wasps forwards, linking up with Melville and Wasps' defence specialist, the former rugby league player Shaun Edwards.
Gatland, a New Zealander, was controversially sacked as Ireland coach less than two months ago, despite leading them to second place in the 2001 Six Nations' Championship and a memorable Dublin victory over the tournament winners, England, last autumn.
Gloucester have partially solved their front-row crisis – two bans and one injury – by drafting the rookie tight-head prop Mark Irish into the team for the Powergen Cup quarter final at London Irish on Sunday. Trevor Woodman and Olivier Azam are banned and Phil Vickery has a broken bone in his right hand.
Bristol are optimistic that their Argentinian scrum-half, Agustin Pichot, will be fit for their Parker Pen Shield quarter-final tie away to Sale a week today. Pichot injured a toe playing for the Pumas in the World Sevens series last weekend.
Colin Charvis has lost his place in the Welsh squad for the Six Nations' Championship opener against Ireland in Dublin on February 3.
WALES SQUAD (v Ireland, Dublin, 3 Feb): Backs: K Morgan (Swansea), D James (Bridgend), R Williams (Cardiff), C Morgan (Cardiff), J Robinson (Cardiff), A Marinos (Newport), I Harris (Cardiff), S Jones (Llanelli), R Howley (Cardiff), D Peel (Llanelli). Forwards: S Quinnell (Llanelli), M Williams (Cardiff), N Budgett (Bridgend), B Sinkinson (Neath), C Quinnell (Cardiff), C Wyatt (Llanelli), I Gough (Newport), D Jones (Neath), C Anthony (Newport), S John (Cardiff), R McBryde (Llanelli), B Williams (Neath).