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Aviva Premiership
Armitage handed five-week suspension
ESPNscrum Staff
November 9, 2011
Bath's Tom Biggs feels the force of Delon Armitage's high tackle, London Irish v Bath, Aviva Premiership, Madejski Stadium, Reading, England, October 29, 2011
Bath's Tom Biggs feels the force of a tackle from London Irish's Delon Armitage last month © Getty Images
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London Irish's Delon Armitage has been handed a five-week ban by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel for his dangerous tackle on Bath wing Tom Biggs last month, his fourth suspension of 2011.

Armitage will also serve a three-week ban for striking lock Dave Attwood with his knee in the same fixture, a penalty which will run concurrently with the longer penalty. He will be available to play again on December 9.

The 27-year-old served an eight-week ban for pushing and verbally abusing an anti-doping official in a game on New Year's Day, and was then sidelined for another three weeks for a punch on Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler in April. Armitage also missed England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to France for a high tackle on Scotland's Chris Paterson.

RFU disciplinary chief Judge Jeff Blackett said in an RFU statement: "We accept that both these incidents were reckless and not malicious. However, in relation to the dangerous tackle on Tom Biggs there was the potential for significant injury and for that reason we believe that it was a mid-range entry level offence of six weeks.

"We increased it to eight because of concerns raised by the IRB about injuries caused by dangerous tackles and because of his poor disciplinary record. We then reduced the sanction to five weeks because of his guilty plea, his contrition and the impressive way he conducted himself at the hearing. In relation to the strike to which he also pleaded guilty, we decided that this was a low-end entry offence and for that we imposed a three-week suspension."

Gloucester front-rowers Nick Wood and Darren Dawidiuk have had their citings for dangerous tackles dismissed due to a procedural error by the governing body. Prop Wood and hooker Dawidiuk were charged following tackles on Saracens' Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell during Gloucester's home to the Aviva Premiership champions on October 29.

But the pair will face no penalty because their citings were handed down before the necessary consultation with the match officials had taken place, although they did receive a warning from the panel, chaired by Blackett.

An RFU statement read: "The charges against Darren Dawidiuk and Nick Wood of Gloucester Rugby for dangerous tackles on Saracens' Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell respectively at Kingsholm on October 29 were this afternoon dismissed because, before the citings were brought, the mandatory consultation with the match officials did not take place."

The RFU also announced that the citing of Saracens' Owen Farrell for an alleged dangerous tackle on Gloucester's Henry Trinder had been dismissed, after the panel deemed there had been no act of foul play.

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