GEORGE TURNER will not only miss this Saturday’s European Champions Cup match away to Montpellier, but also both of Glasgow Warriors’ 1872 Cup clashes against inter-city rivals Edinburgh during the festive break, plus their Guinness Pro 14 encounter with Zebre on 6th January, after being handed a four week ban for contravening Law 10.4 (e), which concerns “playing an opponent without the ball”.
That means James Malcolm, who has played most of his rugby for Marr in the BT Premiership this season, is the only full-time hooker in the squad currently fit and available to play this weekend – although Fraser Brown (who has been out with concussion) and Pat MacArthur (who is struggling with a hamstring injury) are both in with a shout of making the Montpellier match if they can pass fitness tests tomorrow [Thursday].
Otherwise, Glasgow Hawks hooker Grant Stewart could be handed a baptism of fire as hooker cover to Malcolm at the Altrad Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It will be his first competitive appearance for the club, although he did feature off the bench in this year’s pre-season friendly against Northampton Saints.
Turner was yellow carded after colliding with French international Louis Picamoles in the 27th minute of last Friday night’s defeat at home to Montpellier, in an incident which was described as “dumb” by Warriors head coach Dave Rennie after the match.
The Warriors had been leading 12-points up at that point, but the game swung away from them once they were reduced to 14 men and they ended up losing 22-29 – a result which finally kyboshed any hopes the team had of progressing out of their pool this season.
Turner’s suspension was handed down by an independent disciplinary committee at a hearing in London this [Wednesday] afternoon.
The committee upheld the citing complaint and found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.
The committee decided to reduce the sanction by two weeks due to the player’s guilty plea and clear disciplinary record, and as there were no aggravating factors, it imposed a suspension of four weeks.
Turner is free to play on 8th January 2018, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, Warriors flanker Callum Gibbins is a doubt for Saturday’s fixture, having sustained an Achilles injury in the warm-up against Montpellier last week.
Italy wing Leonardo Sarto, who scored two tries in the defeat, injured a shoulder during the match, and will undergo a scan this week.