THE Six Nations appeals panel, which started considering Zander Fagerson’s four-match suspension on Tuesday, night finally delivered its verdict yesterday evening, but failed to fully clear up where the Scotland prop currently stands. 

The panel upheld the suspension which was handed down after the prop was sent-off during Scotland’s round two clash against Wales on 14th February, ruling that Fagerson’s shoulder had made contact with opposite number Wynn Jones’ head as he cleared out a ruck during the second half, and confirming that the offence merited a red-card, but then ruled that the panel "had not given appropriate weight to the evidence before it about the matches to be covered by the period of suspension". 

The initial panel stated that Fagerson was "suspended for four weeks and, given his playing schedule, he will miss the three Scotland matches in the Guinness Six Nations Championship against France (28th February), Ireland (14th March) and Italy (20th March), and one further match to be determined." 

However, the appeal panel stated that Glasgow Warriors' two matches against Ulster (19th February) and Zebre (6th March) on the Six Nations' fallow weekends should count towards the ban alongside the France and Ireland matches, thus freeing Fagerson to play against Italy if selected.  

Glasgow Times:

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If that was all pretty straight-forward and clear-cut, then news that Scotland’s match against France was being postponed to a date yet to be decided threw a spanner in the works. Does that mean that Fagerson can now claim that he would have been released back to play for Glasgow Warriors against Leinster this weekend, so that should be counted towards his ban? Or will the Italy game now come back into play?  

"Due to the postponement of the France v Scotland match, the Appeal Committee will have the opportunity to review Mr Fagerson’s playing schedule and consider the consequences of the postponement," said a statement from Six Nations, which hardly cleared that matter up. 

To further confuse the issue, much of the backlash against Fagerson's initial four-match suspension was in relation to Ireland flanker Peter O'Mahony only getting a three-match ban after being sent-off for the same offence the previous week.

However, the ruling in this case stated "the player is suspended from 7th February 2021 to 14th March 2021, which represents three meaningful matches to the player". That appears to take into account Ireland's three matches against France (14th February), Italy (27th February) and Scotland (14th March), but not the two games he could potentially have played for Munster during the Six Nations fallow weeks (against Edinburgh on 20th February and Connacht on 5th March).

It is likely that Ireland and O'Mahony will now be feeling pretty hard done by.