Northampton appeal Best’s hefty ban

Northampton on Thursday appealed the 18-week ban the RFU slapped on Ireland international forward Neil Best for eye-gouging.

Best pleaded guilty to the initial charge of “making contact with the eye or eye area” of Wasps flanker James Haskell in a match last month on the grounds that the action was reckless but not deliberate.

The Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel accepted the offence was not pre-meditated but concluded Best “pulled Haskell’s head upwards by the eye socket” once he realised contact had been made.

Northampton sought legal advice after the RFU confirmed Best had been suspended for 18 weeks.

The appeal will be heard on Monday by an RFU panel.

Best cannot be selected by Northampton until the final determination of the appeal.

If the ban remains in place, the Ireland international will not be able to play again until January 28 next year, missing eight rounds of Premiership action, plus all of Northampton’s European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup pool matches.

Sapa-AFP –

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