Sam Skinner out of Scotland’s summer schedule after four-match ban

26-year-old second-row will not be replaced in national training squad says interim head coach Mike Blair

Sam Skinner was handed a four match ban after being sent off playing club rugby for Exeter Chiefs on Sunday. Image: © Craig Watson -
Sam Skinner was handed a four match ban after being sent off playing club rugby for Exeter Chiefs on Sunday. Image: © Craig Watson -

SAM SKINNER will miss Scotland’s summer schedule after being handed a four week ban following his sending off for a dangerous tackle on South African scrum-half Faf de Klerk whilst playing for Exeter Chiefs against Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership on Sunday.

The 26-year-old will also miss this weekend’s Premiership play-off semi-final clash which happens to also be against Sharks, and if they win then he will have to sit-out the final the following weekend.

The suspension is for meaningful matches (as opposed to calendar weeks) which is why Scotland’s games against Georgia on 10th July and Georgia on 17th July gave also been taken into account.

To view the incident, click HERE.

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The developmental nature of Scotland’s summer schedule means that Skinner’s loss will not be a critical blow to the team.

However, the 26-year-old second-row will be frustrated to miss out an opportunity to re-establish himself in the side after falling down the pecking order since rupturing his hamstring ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

“We’re disappointed that Sam will miss out on the matches this summer as we know he was looking forward to it and has been playing well at Exeter,” said Scotland’s interim head coach Mike Blair.

“Although Sam will not be directly replaced, his absence will give someone else the opportunity to step up within the squad and prove themselves.”

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Skinner’s Exeter team-mate Dave Ewers has also been banned for four-weeks after being cited post match for a dangerous tackle.

“Both cases involved direct contact with an opponent’s head that carried a high degree of danger,” said a statement issued by an RFU independent disciplinary panel, which heard the case via video conference call today [Tuesday].

“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.”

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter expressed his frustration at the process.

“I am very disappointed,” he said. “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.

“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?”

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About David Barnes 3816 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Good opportunity for the likes of Craig and Henderson to show their worth. Harsh on Skinner but if you don’t show contrition for your foul play then you won’t get a proverbial bone from the table from the blazers

  2. Skinner is really capable player with a good reputation for having the right mentality and attitude in the squad. Real shame he doesn’t get a chance to keep developing as an international and to influence the youngsters in the squad. Good chance for Alex Craig to step up.

    Would have been entertaining to see Gatland troll Ireland and call Skinner up had any other Second Rows been injured early in the tour. Could have been justified; he does play 6…

    Irish rugby Twitter would have melted (Neil Francis) ?

  3. Enough locks on the Summer Tour party to cover for Skinner but Back row looks a little light. I definitely agree with Tom Gordon deserving a shot.

    Crosbie and Darge cover 7 mostly
    Ritchie and Bayliss cover 6 mostly and
    Bradbury at 8.
    Wonder which combo Mike Blair will go with.

    Wonder how Mitch Eadie is doing at Bristol. Need another 8!

  4. Agreed. Tom Gordon must go. Terrific player. Never mind about the mullet. Sick to death of “captains challenge”. Complete crock and provides 2 hour games. Feel for Skinner & Ewers.Nice summer off.

  5. Sound like a broken record but you guys won’t mind

    Tom Gordon? Please ?

    Or will Nick De Luca or one of the local primary kids get a shout??

    Feel for skinner though.


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