David Paice’s sending-off meant London Irish had to play more than 40 minutes with 14 men

London Irish captain David Paice has been banned for five weeks by the Rugby Football Union after he was sent off in their Premiership match at Gloucester.

The ex-England hooker, 34, pleaded guilty to dangerous charging and making contact with the head of Willi Heinz.

He misses two Challenge Cup and three Premiership matches and will be able to play again on 9 January.

One of the league games he will miss is the bottom-of-the-table encounter at Worcester on 22 December.

Disciplinary panel chairman Aidan O’Brien said: “The panel found that this was a reckless challenge in which contact was made with the head of the Gloucester player causing an injury.

“The entry point was mid-range, one week was added on to reflect the player’s previous disciplinary record and, after allowing mitigation to reflect the player’s guilty plea, remorse and conduct at the hearing, the final sanction is five weeks.”

Meanwhile Sale’s Scotland back Byron McGuigan has avoided further sanction after his red card at Worcester.

He was sent off after two yellow cards, the first for a deliberate knock-on and the second for a dangerous tackle.

RFU rules state if a player is sent off for two yellow cards and at least one is a technical offence, such as a deliberate knock-on, the sending-off is sufficient punishment.

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