Murray may call on Gough to avoid ban

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The Independent Online

Scotland lock Scott Murray will find out tomorrow whether his Six Nations Championship is over when he appears at a disciplinary hearing at London's Heathrow airport. The Edinburgh second row forward was sent off in Cardiff on Sunday for kicking the Wales lock Ian Gough. The minimum sentence for kicking an opponent is six weeks, which would wipe out the rest of the international season for Murray.

Murray, who had never been sent off before this incident, needs to prove there was no intent when he made contact with Gough; a stud caught the Wales player below his left eye. To help him, there is a chance the Scottish management will call on Gough to appear as a defence witness at the hearing.

If Murray succeeds in proving there was no intent, the three-man panel, comprising chairman Paul Mauriac (France) and two Irishmen, Peter Boyle and Dr Barry O'Driscoll, might deem the sending-off sufficient punishment, or hand out a two-week ban. In the latter case, he would miss the Calcutta Cup match against England at Murrayfield on 25 February.

Gough, who received a yellow card for late tackling Murray in the same incident, dislocated a finger later in the game but is expected to be fit for the Ireland match in Dublin on 26 February.

Team-mates Shane Williams and Matthew Watkins both suffered a dead leg, but they too are expected to recover in time.