Wasps's Nathan Hughes sees three-week ban overturned
ESPN Staff
April 10, 2015
Nathan Hughes in action
Nathan Hughes in action© Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Nathan Hughes has won his appeal against the three-week ban for kneeing George North in the head during Wasps' 52-30 Aviva Premiership defeat to Northampton.

No.8 Hughes was controversially sent off and slapped with a ban after failing in a last-ditch attempt to stop North scoring a try in Northampton's victory on March 27.

Wales wing North was concussed in the incident and subsequently stood down for a month by neurologists, while Wasps launched an immediate appeal against Hughes' ban.

Hughes' initial ban meant he was forced to miss Wasps' Champions Cup quarter-final clash at Toulon on Sunday, that Dai Young's side lost 32-18.

Rugby director Young kept his counsel but will no doubt have been frustrated to lose one of his key ball-carriers for the biggest match of Wasps' season.

The 23-year-old loose-forward's red card and three-week ban were both judged to have been predicated more on the resulting injury to Northampton wing North than the intent or otherwise of the challenge.

An independent RFU panel held Hughes' appeal on Friday night, upholding that claim and dismissing his red card.

"The appeal panel considered it appropriate to hear the matter afresh," said chairman Jeremy Summers. "Having done so and having had the advantage of evidence not before the original panel, it concluded that no act of foul play took place in that the incident occurred accidentally."

Hughes is now free to play immediately, though may sit out Wasps' Premiership clash with already-relegated London Welsh on Saturday.

Wasps named their team at midday on Friday in adhering to league regulations, at which point Hughes was still banned.

Young may opt to stick to his originally-selected line-up to face Welsh at Oxford's Kassam Stadium.

Hughes' overturned ban will be a huge boost to Wasps' bid to cement a top-six finish, however, with clashes against Exeter, Leicester and London Irish still to come.

© ESPN Staff

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