Gloucester Rugby's Koree Britton hit with four-week ban for A League red card against Leicester
KOREE Britton has been handed a four-week ban for his red card for fighting ex-Gloucester star Ryan Lamb in A League action at Leicester on Monday night.
Hooker Britton’s ban rules him out of the next month of Gloucester action, heaping further front-row shortage woe on Kingsholm boss Nigel Davies.
Former Cherry and Whites fly-half Lamb has been hit with a one-week suspension for his part in an ugly brawl at Welford Road in Leicester’s 38-16 A League victory over Gloucester United.
Lamb pleaded guilty to the charge, while Britton actually contested it.
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The RFU disciplinary panel handed Lamb's offence a low-end sancation, with a two-week ban cut to one for his previous good record.
Britton's offence was deemed to warrant mid-range censure, and his five-week punishment was reduced by a week for his prior clean behaviour.
The Gloucester front-rower will miss four matches, and be available again for the November 2 home Premiership clash against Wasps.
Britton’s ban leaves Gloucester’s front-row resources denuded in the extreme – especially if the knee injury Dan Murphy suffered at Newcastle on Sunday proves serious.
If Murphy is ruled out of action against Exeter on Sunday, Gloucester will have only one recognised loosehead prop available in their entire squad.
Yann Thomas could wind up as Gloucester’s premier and sole available loosehead.
Nick Wood still has six weeks of his eight-week ban to run, while academy youngster James Gibbons is still sidelined with knee trouble.
Hooker Britton deputised at loosehead in Monday’s A League Leicester clash, and even scrummaged solidly enough given his inexperience in the number one shirt.
But now he cannot continue that needs-must positional shift.
Gloucester cannot go into Sunday’s Premiership clash against Exeter at Kingsholm (2pm) with any less than two recognised looseheads.
So rugby director Davies could be pressed into the loan or injury dispensation transfer market if there is bad news on former London Irish prop Murphy.
Rupert Harden and Shaun Knight will handle the tighthead situation, with Tom Heard in all likelihood to be recalled from Cinderford.
Tiverton-born 20-year-old Heard could be pressed into service at loosehead, though he has never featured there in his loan stints at Cinderford.
But that would mean the academy front-rower potentially making his senior Gloucester debut out of position.
It is generally considered more straightforward to switch from tighthead to loosehead though, so Heard making the move is a realistic option for boss Davies.