Worcester Warriors prop Val Rapava Ruskin has been banned for six weeks after he was found guilty of pushing a referee during the Premiership defeat by Newcastle Falcons.
The Georgian was seen to push referee Greg Garner in the back during the first half of last weekend’s Premiership encounter at Kingston Park, and he will not be eligible to play again until start of the new season in September.
“The panel heard from the player and after carefully considering all of the available evidence, found that this was at the lower end of seriousness for this type of offending,” an RFU disciplinary panel said in a statement.
“The panel imposed a sanction of six weeks which reflects the seriousness of making contact with a referee or any match official.”
Rapava Ruskin’s ban is far from the longest ban handed out for making contact with a match official, as that currently belongs to fellow Georgian Viktor Kolelishvili. The Clermont Auvergne flanker was banned for 28 weeks, later reduced to 14, for deliberately shoving referee Wayne Barnes out of his way lining up in defence.
Kolelishvili’s suspension was reduced as he apologised immediately and showed remorse during the hearing, but the sanctions demonstrate the zero tolerance approach for making contact with match officials that World Rugby has implemented across all competitions.