Quins' Skinner handed two-week ban

The Harlequins flanker Will Skinner has been handed a two-week ban after he was sent off – while on the sidelines – during last weekend's Heineken Cup 31-24 victory over Toulouse in France.

Skinner received a red card from Irish referee Alain Rolland for what European Rugby Cup described as "an act contrary to good sportsmanship".

It followed an incident a minute from time at Le Stadium when Skinner, who had been replaced some 30 minutes earlier, played the match ball in the technical zone and prevented Toulouse from taking a quick line-out.

Following yesterday's disciplinary hearing in Dublin, an ERC statement read: "For red card hearings, the onus rests with the player to demonstrate that the referee's decision to issue the red was wrong. The judicial officer found the player had not demonstrated that, and he accordingly upheld the red card.

"Employing the IRB-recommended sanctions for acts contrary to good sportsmanship, the judicial officer decided that the offence was at the low-end entry point of four weeks.

"Having taken into account the mitigating factors, including the player's excellent record, he decided on the maximum reduction of 50 per cent and imposed a suspension of two weeks."

Skinner, who can appeal the decision, will be free to play again on 2 January. He will miss Quins' Premiership games against Saracens at Twickenham next Tuesday and the New Year's Eve trip to Exeter.

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