Matt Banahan banned until Christmas in fall-out from fiery clash between Leicester and Bath

 

The fall-out from the fiery Aviva Premiership clash between Leicester and Bath saw three players suspended on a busy night for rugby's judiciary.

Bath centre Matt Banahan was banned until Christmas after pleading guilty to a dangerous tackle on Anthony Allen, which saw him become one of three players sent off at Welford Road.

Banahan's three-week ban will rule him out of Bath's Amlin Challenge Cup home and away fixtures against Calvisano and the Premiership game against Saracens.

Leicester flanker Brett Deacon saw red for punching Banahan in retaliation for the tackle and he was banned for one week, ruling him out of the Tigers' Heineken Cup match against Treviso this weekend.

Bath flanker Francois Louw, the first player to be sent off in the match after assistant referee ruled he had elbowed Geordan Murphy, had his citing dismissed.

But Bath hooker Lee Mears was banned for two weeks, having been cited following Leicester's 17-12 victory for punching or striking an opponent.

Mears will miss Bath's European fixtures but he will be available to face Saracens at The Rec on December 22.

The biggest suspension of the night was the five weeks handed down to London Irish number eight Chris Hala'Ufia for a dangerous tackle on London Welsh player Seb Jewell.

The Tongan was dismissed for the challenge just 10 minutes into his side's 15-9 Aviva Premiership defeat by London Welsh on December 1.

Hala'Ufia is banned until January 7 and he will miss the Exiles' home and away Challenge Cup fixtures against Gloucester plus three Premiership matches.

In the RFU Championship, Plymouth Albion and Bristol received a five-point deduction, suspended for 12 months, following a mass brawl in the match at Brickfields on November 24.

Both clubs pleaded guilty after being charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game.

Bristol prop Jason Hobson was banned for 12 weeks for "acts contrary to good sportsmanship". He will be sidelined for nine matches and not available to play again until February 27, 2013.

Plymouth's Jack Andrew, who was sent off for striking after the brawl, was given a three-week ban. He will be free to play again on December 16 2012, having already served a club ban imposed on November 24.

Bristol issued a statement saying they were "surprised and disappointed by the verdict of the RFU disciplinary panel".

The club added they would wait to receive the detailed written judgment "before considering all further options, including a possible appeal".

PA

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