x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Swift contrition helps Hogg keep ban for Six Nations red card to three weeks

Scotsman to miss three Pro 12 matches after ban reduced by 40 per cent

Referee Jerome Garces, right, sends off Stuart Hogg, left, of Scotland after reviewing a late tackle on Dan Biggar of Wales during their Six Nations match at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on March 14, 2014. Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Referee Jerome Garces, right, sends off Stuart Hogg, left, of Scotland after reviewing a late tackle on Dan Biggar of Wales during their Six Nations match at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on March 14, 2014. Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Stuart Hogg’s heartfelt apology to Dan Biggar spared the Scotland full-back a longer ban from last weekend’s red card against Wales on the final day of the Six Nations, it has been revealed.

The Glasgow Warriors player has received a three-week suspension after his dismissal in Cardiff.

Hogg was sent off 23 minutes into the Millennium Stadium clash when he smashed his shoulder into the jaw of Dragons fly-half Biggar.

Hogg – whose team had their heaviest defeat in their history in the tournament when they were reduced to 14 men and Wales stormed to a 51-3 victory – appeared before a disciplinary hearing in London and will miss his club’s next three Pro 12 fixtures against Llanelli Scarlets, Ospreys and Benetton Treviso.

The 21 year old apologised to Biggar, his teammates and referee Jerome Garces – who initially showed him a yellow card before upgrading the punishment after the incident was replayed on the stadium’s giant screens – after the match.

In a statement, the Six Nations disciplinary committee explained Hogg’s punishment could have been worse.

It said: “The player did not contest the red card. The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Mark McParland [Ireland], along with Jeremy Summers [England] and Achille Reali [Italy], having viewed the TV footage of the incident and considered representations by and on behalf of the player, determined that the player’s actions constituted an act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4(f) [which relates to playing an opponent without the ball] and that it was in the mid-range of the IRB’s sanctions for the type of offence, resulting an entry point of a five-week playing suspension.

“The Disciplinary Committee found that there were no aggravating factors and granted the player a 40 per cent [two week] reduction to account for mitigating factors, including the player’s remorse for the incident both on the day of the match and subsequently through the media.”

The shame for Hogg and Scotland is that the dismissal wrecked their hopes of a positive end to the tournament.

After losing dismally to both Ireland and England, the Scots had shown spirit and tenacity in triumphing in Italy and, while they lost at home to France, it was an encouraging display in that game, even if individual errors cost them the match.

Playing Wales in Cardiff was always going to be tough at the best of times, but a numerical disadvantage meant a humiliating drubbing was the only real possible result from the moment of madness from Hogg.

The word sorry may have cut the punishment, but it will not easily remove the memory of Saturday’s disaster for Scott Johnson’s men.

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