MUNSTER back-rower Arno Botha will miss Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup game against Saracens and the two PRO14 derby clashes against Connacht and Leinster after being handed a three week ban in London today.
The South African was red-carded by referee Romain Poite in the closing stages of Munster’s 10-3 victory over Sarries in Thomond Park last weekend after leading with his arm into a carry.
Botha’s disciplinary hearing today in London saw him banned for “striking the Saracens replacement, Nick Tompkins (No 23), with his arm in contravention of Law 9.12.”
The disciplinary committee upheld the red card decision and found that Botha’s act of foul play was reckless.
Botha’s ban could have been even greater except for his guilt plea and expression of remorse.
World Rugby’s regulations ensure that any contact with the head or neck results in a mid-range entry point of a six-week ban, but Botha had 50% taken off due to his “guilty plea and timely expression of remorse.”
Munster coach Johann van Graan yesterday said that Munster would plan for Saturday’s game once the verdict was made known.
“We will only make our decisions afterwards we will plan for both (whether Botha was banned or not),” said van Graan who will most likely draft Tommy O’Donnell in as his back-row cover for Saturday.