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Gloucester pair banned for Wallabies tie

07/10/2009 10:50:46 AM Comments (0)

Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam will miss next month's clash with the Wallabies after being suspended for 12 weeks on Tuesday for violent play in the club's recent encounter with Saracens.

Azam was punished after pleading guilty to kicking England captain Steve Borthwick during the Premiership loss to Saracens on September 27, while teammate Adam Eustace was outed for three weeks for stamping on Justin Marshall in the same match.

The bans mean Gloucester have had four players banned after just five matches this season.

Captain Gareth Delve had a three-week ban for punching reduced to two weeks on appeal, while flanker Andy Hazell has already been forced to sit out a week for stamping.

Azam had only just returned from a nine-week eye-gouging ban when he clashed with Borthwick at Vicarage Road, leaving the Saracens lock requiring five stitches and a night under surveillance in a specialist eye hospital.

Borthwick was ruled out of action for between two and four weeks with extreme swelling of his right eye, but is expected to be fit for England's autumn international campaign which begins on November 7.

Azam had insisted any contact with Borthwick was accidental as he tried to emerge from a ruck but pleaded guilty at a Rugby Football Union hearing in Bristol.

The Frenchman will miss Gloucester's first four Heineken Cup matches, six Premiership games, two Anglo-Welsh Cup ties and the club's marquee friendly against Australia on November 3 and then is scheduled to return in the home league clash against Worcester on January 2.

Eustace's three-week ban rules him out of the Heineken Cup fixtures against Newport Gwent Dragons and Biarritz, plus the league game against Wasps.

He will next be available for the Cherry and Whites' Premiership trip to Sale on October 30.

Also Tuesday, Munster prop John Hayes received a six-week ban for stamping on his Leinster opposite number Cian Healy.

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