England international Denny Solomona has been given a four-week ban for using homophobic language against an opponent.
The Sale Sharks winger was found guilty of verbally abusing Worcester Warriors outhalf Jamie Shillcock during a Premiership clash last month, a charge which Solomona vehemently denied.
The referee’s mic at the time picked up Shillcock’s complaint of twice being abused with homophobic language, though Solomona still denied the charge.
However, an independent RFU panel found that there indeed was a case to answer and, despite accepting that the comments were made on the heat of the moment, confirmed via a statement that the 24-year-old has been suspended for a month (reduced from six weeks due to mitigating circumstances):
“The panel found that the player used language that was verbally abusive on more than one occasion in quick succession.
“The comments were offensive and have no place on the rugby field. However, the panel accepted that they were said in the heat of the moment rather than premeditated.
“For these reasons, the panel deemed it was a low end entry point which carries a six week suspension as a starting point. The player did not accept the charge but all other mitigating features were present. The panel therefore reduced the sanction to four weeks.”
The ban means that, unless Sale reach the Premiership final, Solomona will not play again for his club this season. The side are currently six points (and three places) outside of a playoff place, however, so it will be a tough ask for them to progress to the next stage.