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Uini Atonio receives punishment for Rob Herring tackle

Uini Atonio

The Frenchman has been punished.

Uini Atonio has received a three-match ban for his tackle on Rob Herring during Ireland’s win over France at the Aviva Stadium last weekend.

Atonio was surprisingly not sent off for the tackle on the day, and was instead only shown a yellow card by referee Wayne Barnes.

His challenge forced Herring off for a head injury assessment from which he did not return, though it didn’t stop Ireland from running out relatively comfortable winners in what was an excellent game of rugby.

While Atonio was suspended for Les Bleus’ Six Nations appointments with Scotland, England and Wales, it now looks more likely that he will return for the final Six Nations game, as he could only serve a two-game suspension.

This comes after an independent judicial committee granted an application by Atonio to take part in a coaching intervention programme, which means he will be available to face Wales on 18 March if he completes it.

Uini Atonio punished for Rob Herring tackle

“He admitted that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card,” a Six Nations statement read.

“Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee accepted the player’s admission that the tackle on Ireland number two was foul play.

“His shoulder made contact with Ireland number two’s neck/face as described in the citing commissioner’s report, and therefore reached the red-card threshold.”

Barnes was heavily criticised both on the day and after the match for not sending Atonio off for the tackle on Herring.

Speaking at the time, Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll said that France were extremely lucky that they were not reduced to 14 men, while others said that Barnes let himself down more than anything by refusing to show a red card.

Ireland travel to Italy for their next Six Nations game on 25 February.

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