Wales will be without lock Bradley Davies for the duration of the Six Nations after he was handed a seven-week ban for dangerous tackling.
Davies was sin-binned by referee Wayne Barnes for a tip tackle on Ireland’s Donnacha Ryan on Sunday, and was also cited for the incident.
He was subsequently suspended at a Six Nations disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday after pleading guilty to foul play. Davies has the right to appeal the seven-week suspension, but Wales coach Warren Gatland has admitted the offence was worthy of a red card.
The New Zealander did go on to say how Davies was not a dirty player, though stressed the importance of maintaining discipline at international level.
Davies returns on 26 March so will be available for his club side Cardiff Blues in their Heineken Cup quarter-final against reigning champions Leinster in early April. But he will miss the remainder of Wales’ upcoming Six Nations fixtures, as they look to build on their impressive opening 23-21 victory in Dublin.
They face Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, and as well as the banned Davies their inspirational captain Sam Warburton is also a severe doubt.
Warburton, who controversially received a red card for a tip tackle in Wales’ 2011 World Cup semi-final against France, could only play 40 minutes against Ireland after picking up a dead leg.
Winger Alex Cuthbert is also doubtful, while the second-row department is decidedly light with the added absence of Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris through injury.
Gatland has received some good news on the injury front, however, as blindside flanker Dan Lydiate and loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins both return for Sunday’s clash. Jenkins’ return to fitness ahead of schedule is a significant boost to the front row, particularly with first-choice hooker Matthew Rees still out of action with a calf injury.