sport

Simmons lands eight-week ban

Australia forward Rob Simmons has received an eight-week ban after being cited for a dangerous tackle against France last Saturday.

The Six Nations, who oversee disciplinary issues during the autumn Tests, announced Simmons' suspension following a disciplinary hearing before independent International Rugby Board judicial officer Robert Williams in London on Wednesday.

Simmons went on as a substitute in the French game - Australia lost 33-6 - and was subsequently reported for a "tip" tackle on Les Bleus forward Yannick Nyanga.

Williams decided that Simmons' offence was at the high end of the IRB's sanctions scale and suspended him until February 24.

The ban recognises a period of close-season inactivity after Australia's current European tour, which ends against Wales in Cardiff on December 1. Simmons will also miss this weekend's clash against England and an appointment with Italy on November 24.

Williams heard representations from Simmons, his coach, team manager and legal representative.

A statement released by the Six Nations read: "From the high end entry point of 12 weeks, the judicial officer added two weeks of aggravation to reflect the need for a deterrent for this type of dangerous tackle, but allowed the maximum six weeks of mitigation, including the player's exemplary previous disciplinary record and his conduct at the hearing.

"A sanction of eight weeks was duly imposed, with Rob Simmons suspended until midnight on 24 February 2013.

"The specific period of suspension recognises the close-season inactivity after the current tour when the player is not scheduled to play. The player has the right of appeal."

New Zealand flanker Adam Thomson has been banned for one week for "stamping or trampling" on the head of Scotland's Alasdair Strokosch.

Thomson will miss the All Blacks' Test against Italy in Rome this weekend but he will be available for the fixtures against Wales and England.

Thomson was yellow carded for the incident during New Zealand's 51-22 victory at Murrayfield and then cited for an alleged stamp or trample.

The judicial officer, Jean-Noel Couraud, upheld the citing but deemed the offence to be at the lower end of the scale of International Rugby Board sanctions.