Sinckler out of Six Nations opener after ban for swearing at referee

Sinckler appeared before a citing panel led by former England prop Duncan Bell and found guilty of “failing to accept the authority of the match official” after swearing at Karl Dickson, his former Harlequins team-mate, during Bristol’s win over Exeter this weekend. 

A panel statement said that while Sinckler accepted he had “are you f***ing serious” when disappointed with a referee’s decision, but did not accept that it warranted a red card. The panel disagreed, deciding it was “aggressive” and “directed at the referee”. 

“The Player was candid in is evidence as to why he had done so and regretted his actions,” said the panel. 

With the Heineken Champions Cup, which was due to fill the next two weekends, suspended indefinitely, and the Premiership declining the opportunity to bring forward fixtures to fill those slots, the next top-level rugby in England is due to be Bristol’s meeting with Bath on January 29. 

Sinckler received an entry level ban and is available to play again on February 9.

Will Stuart, the Bath prop, is likely to start at tighthead in Sinckler’s absence. 

In better news for Eddie Jones, Mako Vunipola could return from an achilles injury in time for the tournament opener.

“There is no set dates,” said Vunipola. “I was hoping to hopefully be running within the next week or two. I would like to be ready for the Six Nations, hopefully be available for that. But with the Achilles it is just day by day really. Sometimes I feel good, the other days I will be a little more achy and I have to pull back on what I can do.”

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