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Exeter Chiefs pair to miss Premiership playoffs due to four-week suspensions

Exeter Chiefs pair to miss Premiership playoffs due to four-week suspensions
© Reuters
Sam Skinner and Dave Ewers contested the charges.

Exeter forwards Sam Skinner and Dave Ewers have both been suspended and will miss the Chiefs’ Gallagher Premiership play-off against Sale on Saturday.

Scotland lock Skinner was sent off for a dangerous tackle during last weekend’s 20-19 regular-season victory over Sale, while flanker Ewers was cited for a dangerous tackle in the same game.

The Rugby Football Union said both players appeared before an online independent disciplinary panel and they each received a four-week ban.

It means they will also miss the Premiership final at Twickenham on June 26 if Exeter beat Sale.

The RFU said that both players contested the charges, but they were upheld by the disciplinary panel.

In a statement, the panel said: “Both cases involved direct contact with an opponent’s head that carried a high degree of danger.

“None of the mitigating factors set out in the World Rugby Head Contact Process which would have justified the red card otherwise being reduced to a yellow card were present.

“Neither player accepted the charge and so full mitigation credit was not available to them.”

It is a major double setback for Exeter, who are bidding to reach a sixth successive Premiership final.

Victory over Sale at Sandy Park would book a Twickenham appointment with Bristol or Harlequins.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter
Rob Baxter is unhappy at the decisions (Simon Galloway/PA)

Asked for his reaction at his weekly media conference, Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter said: “I am very disappointed. If I am honest, I am struggling with the whole process and everything about it a little bit.

“There is a huge amount of inconsistency, a lack of empathy for the players involved in the incidents.

“I definitely think it is getting to the stage that it is something that the players who are currently playing the game need to have, or need to decide through the RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) on how they are going to do it, have a lot more input on how the whole process around making the laws, how they are refereed, cited etc.

“If you ask a lot of the players who are playing now, I don’t think they would agree with what is currently happening.”

Baxter continued: “Everyone has got a responsibility to tackle lower and safely – it is written in stone, we are all aware of it – but rugby is an incredibly dynamic game with a lot of moving parts.

“Sometimes it just feels like where is the empathy, or the understanding of, that mechanism of moving parts, understanding how players move around the field? What is the genuine expectation of what is happening in a game of rugby?”

Sale, meanwhile, will also be without key players for the game, with fly-half AJ MacGinty and flanker Cameron Neild both sidelined because of injuries.

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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