24-week gouging ban rules Dupuy out of Six Nations

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Julien Dupuy, the Stade Français scrum-half, was yesterday banned for 24 weeks for gouging the Lions flanker Stephen Ferris during last week's violent Heineken Cup game with Ulster at Ravenhill.

The French international, who moved to his Paris-based club from Leicester in the summer, cannot play again until early June and will therefore miss the Six Nations Championship in its entirety.

Judge Jeff Blackett, the Rugby Football Union disciplinary officer who imposed the punishment, adjourned a second hearing involving Dupuy's team-mate, the prop David Attoub, who is also accused of making contact with Ferris's eyes.