Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam will not be able to play in the first four rounds of the Heineken Cup after failing in his bid to get his 12 week suspension reduced by an RFU appeals panel.
The French international was banned for three months for kicking England captain Steve borthwick in the face during a Guinness Prmiership match against Saracens. That ban meant he missed last weekend's round 1 clash at Kingsholm against the Dragons.
Now his failure to get his supsension reduced means he won't be able to play again until 29 December, ruling him out of European action until round 5 of the Pool matches.
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.