Cueto set for World Cup after 9-week ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cueto set for World Cup after 9-week ban

12/04/2011 11:19:29 AM Comments (0)

Mark Cueto will be able to play for England at this year's World Cup after he received a nine week suspension instead of an 18 week one on Monday for gouging an opponent in his club Sale's English Premiership clash with Northampton on April 2.

The Rugby Football Union's disciplinary panel judged the wing's offence to be a mid-range offence which normally would bring an 18 week ban but they halved it because they said Cueto offered "compelling mitigation".

Cueto's ban has been back-dated to start on April 4, the day he was handed a six-week internal suspension by his club.

The nine-week suspension means 31-year-old Cueto will be available for England's Rugby World Cup warm-up Tests in August and the tournament, which begins against Argentina on September 10.

Cueto, who won his first cap in 2004 and was a member of the side that reached the 2007 World Cup final, was summoned after television footage showing him apparently gouging Northampton lock Christian Day.

The images showed Cueto placing his hand on Day's face, with his fingers seemingly bent like a claw. Cueto did not contest the charge, known colloquially as gouging.

When Sale imposed their own suspension, director of sport Steve Diamond said: "Mark let the club and his team-mates down, and he is very upset that he has done so."

Had the panel not reduced the suspension by 50 percent, Cueto would have been banned until August 8 and missed England's first warm-up game with Wales.

Cueto will now be able to join up with England for their summer training camp on June 20 ahead of the August internationals against Wales, home and away, and Ireland.

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