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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 03:52 GMT
Leslie ban reduced
Martin Leslie

Scotland flanker Martin Leslie has had his 12-week suspension reduced to eight weeks on appeal.

It means the veteran player will still miss the rest of the World Cup, signalling the end of his international career.

He was handed the suspension after being found guilty of attempting to intentionally strike USA centre Jason Keyter on the head.

Canadian Graeme Mew chaired a three-man appeal committee on Wednesday, alongside Australian John Freedman and Guillermo Tragant of Argentina.

And after four hours of deliberations they decided the ban should be reduced by four weeks.

Scotland coach Ian McGeechan told a news conference he had hoped Leslie would be cleared.

"We are disappointed," McGeechan said.

"We feel it is out of proportion in comparison with other incidents that have gone on in the tournament.

"Martin Leslie can feel hard done by."

There are strong feelings that the sentence handed down was unduly harsh
Scotland media officer
Graham Law

The Scotland camp appealed because they were stunned by the severity of the original ban.

Leslie was brought to book by Australian World Cup citing officer Terry Willis and given the three-month ban by former Irish international referee John West, who was acting judiciary commissioner.

The Scotland flanker's ban is one of the longest in World Cup history.

The record is held by Springbok centre Pieter Hendricks, who was suspended for 90 days after three players were red-carded during a brawl against Canada back in 1995.

Leslie's suspension effectively ends his 37-cap international career, having already decided to retire from Test rugby after the tournament.

He is the second player to be banned at this tournament.

Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca received a two-game ban for punching French flanker Olivier Magne, while England's Lawrence Dallaglio escaped being punished after being caught on camera aiming a punch at an opponent.





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