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Banned Zander Fagerson set to be available for Scotland's World Cup opener against Springboks

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Scotland prop Zander Fagerson could now feature in his country’s opening match of the Rugby World Cup next month despite being sent off in last weekend’s warm-up win over France.

Fagerson saw red after thundering into a ruck and catching the face of France’s Pierre Bourgarit in the 54th minute of Saturday’s match at Murrayfield, with the home side coming back to defeat the World Cup hosts 25-21 despite being a man down.

Had Fagerson been given a three-game ban with no qualifications, he would have been ruled out of Scotland’s opening World Cup Pool B match against champions South Africa in Marseille on September 10.

But the Glasgow front-rower was effectively handed a two-match suspension following an independent judicial committee hearing on Tuesday.

That rules the 27-year-old out of this Saturday’s return fixture against Les Bleus and the warm-up meeting with Georgia on August 26 but should now make him available for the clash with the Springboks.

Although officially banned for four weeks — a schedule that includes the South Africa game — Fagerson has been given the option to substitute the last match covered by the suspension by undertaking World Rugby’s coaching intervention programme to work on his tackle technique.

Fagerson’s initial citing for charging was amended to “dangerous play in a ruck or maul”, for which World Rugby’s minimum punishment is four weeks.

But this was reduced to three weeks after Fagerson admitted guilt “at the earliest opportunity” and showed “remorse”, according to a statement issued Tuesday on behalf of the committee.

Scotland are in a fearsomely tough group at the World Cup that also includes Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland, with only the top two teams from Pool B advancing to the quarter-finals.

AFP

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