Slap on the wrist for Bastareaud
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: French and Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud has escaped with no more than a slap on the wrist for his vile outburst.
Bastareaud has been suspended for three weeks, following a disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday.
The hearing arose from his club's Champions Cup, Round Five match against Benetton at Stade Félix Mayol last week.
Bastareaud seemingly aimed a homophobic slur at Benetton's Sebastian Negri in a 36-0 victory for Toulon on Sunday.
The France centre claimed he was reacting to provocation and issued an apology, having appeared to call Negri "f***ing f****t" in the closing stages at Stade Mayol.
Bastareaud was cited by the citing commissioner Dennis Jones (Wales), for breach of Law 9.12.
Law 9.12: Verbal abuse of a player
Under World Rugby's Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 carries the following sanction entry points - Low End: 6 weeks; Mid-range: 12 weeks; Top end: 18 to 52 weeks.
The disciplinary committee - consisting of Rod McKenzie (Scotland), Chairman, Jennifer Donovan (Ireland) and Becky Essex (England) - heard evidence and submissions from Bastareaud, who pleaded guilty to the charge, from the player's legal representative, Philip Fitzgerald, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
Following an adjournment, the committee upheld the citing complaint as it determined that the nature of the verbal abuse warranted a red card.
It found that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby's sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
As there were no aggravating factors and taking into account the player's guilty plea, the committee then reduced the sanction by the maximum permitted of 50 percent, before imposing a suspension of three weeks.
Bastareaud is free to play on Sunday, February 4, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
It means he will miss Toulon's Round Six Champions Cup encounter with Scarlets on Saturday, as well as France's opening Six Nations game against Ireland on Saturday, February 3.