Northampton Saints will play their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse without influential scrum half Mark Robinson.
Robinson has been handed a 14-week suspension by a three-man RFU disciplinary panel at Bristol's Filton Holiday Inn.
The ban means that Robinson - represented at the hearing by EFA senior partner and Saints director Murray Holmes - will not be available to play for the club until Wednesday 4th May 2005. This means that he will miss the remainder of the regular season, but will be eligible to play in the Wildcard and European Cup finals, should Saints reach them.
Northampton Saints Operations Director John Steele said: "The club is extremely disappointed that it is losing a key player at a crucial time of the season.
"But it accepts the findings of the panel."
The New Zealander was found guilty of intentionally stamping on Mark Regan during last Saturday's Powergen Cup tie, and making contact with the Leeds player's head. The offence, which resulted in
Robinson's red card carried a potential penalty of a 12-month ban, and the final 14-week sentence took into consideration various points of mitigation presented at the hearing.
The club have until 5pm on Wednesday 26th January 2005 to appeal.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.