Bastareaud handed three-week suspension

Bastareaud handed three-week suspension

James Haskell and Mathieu Bastareaud will miss games in the 2018 Six Nations Championship after both players were handed bans following incidents from last weekend's European club action. Tournament organizers opened an investigation after the Toulon captain appeared to direct the slur at Italy forward Sebastian Negri on Sunday.

European Rugby officials are facing a backlash after Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud was handed just a three-week ban for verbally abusing an opponent, with the France global using homophobic language towards Benetton lock Sebastian Negri during last weekend's Champions Cup encounter.

He was replaced in an initial 32-man squad by Jonathan Danty, just two hours after being selected by coach Jacques Brunel for the tournament opener against Ireland on February 3.

The ban for Bastareaud, who apologised on social media for his remarks, followed an independent EPCR Disciplinary Hearing and means he will miss his country's opening Six Nations game against Ireland on February 3.

Fall last played for France five years ago in a Six Nations loss at England.

When asked about Bastareaud's conduct, France head coach Jacques Brunel said: "Of course, we condemn any form of homophobia; it doesn't matter if it happens on or off the pitch".

Brunel has recalled Clermont half-back Morgan Para for the first time in two years.

Bordeaux flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert received his first call-up while uncapped Danny Priso, Cedate Gomes Sa, Felix Lambey, Marco Tauleign and Geoffrey Palis were also chosen.

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