Ulster have been dealt a huge blow as Ireland full back Will Addison has been banned for four weeks after an incident in last Friday night’s win over Clermont in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Addison has already had an injury-plagued season only making four appearances in eight of Ulster’s fixtures and will now miss tomorrow’s Pro14 clash with the Scarlets, the big double European header with Harlequins and the crucial interprovincial clash with Conference A leaders Leinster at the RDS on December 20.
Addison was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, John Byett (England), for tackling the Clermont second row, Paul Jedrasiak, in a dangerous manner in the 31st minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.13.
An independent Disciplinary Committee heard submissions and evidence from Addison, who did not accept the citing complaint, from the Ulster Rugby Chief Executive, Jonny Petrie, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the citing complaint finding that Addison had made reckless contact with Jedrasiak’s head in attempting the tackle, and as dangerous tackles of this nature carry a mandatory mid-range sanction according to World Rugby’s regulations, six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
Due to the player’s clear disciplinary record, the Committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.
Addison is free to play again on Monday, December 23.
Ulster have not yet make a decision on whether to appeal the ban, the club is waiting on a formal letter to arrive at which time they will consider their options.
Meanwhile on the pitch Luke Marshall is enjoying his start to the season.
The centre has been plagued by injury throughout his career but has played in all but 17 minutes of Ulster’s eight games so far this season, scoring two tries.
He said: “Obviously being fit after last year being out for a while, [it is] just nice to play a bit of regular rugby again and obviously the team is going well so far, [it is] nice to be able to contribute to that.
“As a player, 100 percent, I think the ACL injury is not something you hope you get, but there are positives you can still take out of it being out of rugby for a year.
“A year to get your body right, a year to work on skills with Dan Sopher coming in as our skills coach... it was good for me, he has done a lot of work with me when I was injured, ball skills and passing and stuff, I felt a lot sharper when I got back.
“I probably feel as sharp as I have in my career, I feel I am still improving and still got room to improve.”