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.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.