Crockett wins appeal against ban

Bath captain has yellow card rescinded meaning he is available for Bristol match
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The Independent Online

Bath were last night given the good news that their captain Alex Crockett has escaped a possible ban after winning an appeal. He picked up two yellow cards, the second of which automatically commuted to red, in the Premiership match at Gloucester last weekend.

The first card was for a technical offence, the second was for an alleged dangerous tackle. Crockett won an appeal against the first yellow card when he appeared at a disciplinary hearing in Bristol last night, the second yellow will stand on his record.

The centre's successful appeal means he is free to play and will be available for Saturday's West Country derby against the Premiership's bottom club, Bristol. In contrast to Crockett, Newcastle winger John Rudd was last night banned for three weeks by a disciplinary hearing after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Glen Jackson of Saracens last month.

It is understood that Tom Walkinshaw, of Gloucester, has been succeeded by Peter Tom of Leicester as chairman of Premier Rugby Ltd, the umbrella body that governs the 12 Premiership clubs in England, following a decision at yesterday's quarterly meeting with shareholders.

London Irish have been hit with a double whammy after learning yesterday they will have to spend the next six weeks battling for a Premiership play-off place without captain and lock Bob Casey and full-back Peter Hewat.

Casey has just undergone surgery on an injured biceps muscle and head coach Toby Booth said: "He had an operation last week and it's probably going to be six weeks or so." Meanwhile Australian Hewat is still recovering from a medial ligament injury in a knee and is also expected to be out for up to six weeks. Elsewhere, Jason Robinson has spoken for the first time about his new role at Sale from the start of next season. The former England international is to return to his old club in the role of head coach.

The former winger, who helped England win the 2003 Rugby World Cup, said: "I did once say I'd never play rugby union. What I've learnt from this is never to say never. I'm sure I can add something to what is a very good side at the moment. Having 17 years at the top in both codes, what I've gained over the years, I can't just bury."

But Robinson, who has agreed a two-year deal, will be without France prop Lionel Faure, 31, who announced yesterday that he is to return home for personal reasons at the end of the season. Faure is set to join ASM Clermont Auvergne.

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