Hefty ban for Thomas
PA Sport
April 22, 2008

Sale Sharks fly-half Lee Thomas has been banned for 14 weeks by the Rugby Football Union after being found guilty of striking an opponent.

The suspension was imposed after an RFU Disciplinary Panel meeting in Leeds yesterday, and followed an incident during the clash with Bath at Edgeley Park on March 28 when Thomas, 23, was alleged to have punched Shaun Berne.

The Australian lost three teeth as a result of the clash and required emergency dental treatment.

Welshman Thomas has the right to appeal the ruling, which will see him banned until June 3, and then again when the season resumes from August 22 to October 17.

The Sharks could appeal centre Lee Thomas' 14-week ban after he was found guilty of striking Berne in their Premiership clash against Bath.

The teams meet again on Saturday in a European Challenge Cup semi-final encounter at the Recreation Ground.

He was found guilty of a breach of regulation 5.12 - ''any conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the game.''

But Sale chief executive James Jennings said: ''Sale Sharks are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the disciplinary hearing on Lee Thomas that took place last night.

''The written decision of the RFU disciplinary panel will be issued in the next few days.

''Once we are in receipt of the paperwork, the club, on behalf of Lee Thomas, will review our position.''

If Sale opt to appeal, an RFU panel would have the power to retain his period of suspension at its current length, reduce it or even extend it.

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