Tomas Francis banned for eight weeks for Dan Cole incident
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 16/03/16 9:56am
Wales prop Tomas Francis has been banned for eight weeks for making contact with the "eye or eye area" of England’s Dan Cole.
Francis was not punished for the offence during Saturday's match at Twickenham, which the hosts won 25-21.
England were awarded a penalty, though Francis was warned at the time that the incident was likely to be looked at after the match.
The Six Nations disciplinary committee found that Francis had "recklessly made contact with the eye or eye area of an opponent, which had been worthy of a red card".
In a statement the disciplinary committee said: "[We] heard submissions on sanction before concluding that the offending be characterised as being at the lower end of World Rugby's scale of seriousness for this type of offending, which has an entry point of 12 weeks.
"The disciplinary committee was then required to consider aggravating and mitigating factors, which it did before concluding that the appropriate sanction be a playing suspension of eight weeks. Mr Francis is free to play again on Monday, 9 May 2016. He was reminded of his right of appeal."
The ban rules him out of Wales' Six Nations clash against Italy on Saturday - he had been named among the replacements - and the rest of his club Exeter's regular season.
Wales coach Warren Gatland, speaking about the Francis incident on Tuesday before the disciplinary hearing announced its verdict, said: "You see it, and you see it in absolute slow motion don't you, and everything looks so different in slow motion.
"When you play it in real time, the contact with the hand with the eye is a third of a second. That's the contact time.
"Having looked at some of the other views and stuff, and looking at it in real time, those are questions you can ask about 'was it deliberate?'
"Normally, if you are going to be grabbing someone's face or going for the eyes, it is a little bit more than a third of a second that is potentially going to do some damage. We will just wait and see what the outcome is."