Ellis banned for spear tackle

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The Independent Online

The England scrum-half Harry Ellis was yesterday banned for one match by his club for making what appeared to be a spear tackle on the Perpignan fly-half Dan Carter in last weekend's Heineken Cup match in France.

Ellis was found guilty at an internal disciplinary hearing by his club, Leicester. After the incident Carter, who was nominated Man of the Match, had said: "I'm thankful I wasn't hurt. It was pretty scary up there. I had no control on how I was going to land."

Ellis is due to attend an independent disciplinary hearing in Dublin tomorrow after being cited for the tackle. A club statement said: "Harry has been banned for one week, and he will miss the Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons this weekend. The club accepts Harry's view that there was no malice and no intent in his actions."

Meanwhile, all is far from quiet on the West Country front where the rumour mills have been grinding out whispers of the demise of one club and the loss to another of its head coach.

It has emerged that more than a dozen Bristol players will be out of contract at the end of the season and if the club fails to find a wealthy backer, then the squad could be halved in the exodus which is bound to follow. It is understood that the club hopes to have positive information early in the New Year, but the parlous state of the one-time rugby giants will leave a very black cloud over the festive period.

Up at Gloucester, the head coach Dean Ryan found himself having to deny reports that he is to move back to Wasps, where he once plied his trade as a player. "I read about it when I was having a cup of coffee in my local cafe," said Ryan yesterday.

"What I can tell you is I've had no conversations with anybody. It is flattering to be linked with a club as successful as Wasps, but I'm already at one of the biggest clubs in the country. I don't want to move."

Ryan also announced that he has decided not to risk aggravating the injured hamstring of high scoring full-back-winger Iain Balshaw in Saturday's top-of-the-table Premiership meeting with London Irish. "He's more or less there, but we don't want to lose him for another three months," Ryan said.

Two more people staying in the West Country, at least for another couple of years or so, are Bath's England flanker Michael Lipman and Aaron Jarvis, their promising young prop. The former has signed on for another three years, the latter for two.