Tomas Francis will miss Wales' final Six Nations match against Italy and most of the Aviva Premiership run-in after being hit with an eight-week suspension for his actions during the final stages of an eventful 25-21 defeat to England last weekend.
The replacement tight-head prop appeared to direct his fingers towards the eye area of Dan Cole during the collapse of a maul at Twickenham, although he avoided being sent to the sin bin after a lack of alternative angles available to Ben Skeen meant that the Television Match Official (TMO) could not establish whether the action had been committed intentionally. However, Francis was retrospectively cited to appear before an independent disciplinary committee on 15 March.
It was found that the York-born forward had indeed recklessly made contact with the eye or eye area of an opponent, an offence that merited a red card. The entry point for such a misdemeanour is usually 12 weeks, although the panel – chaired by Ireland's Pat Barriscale – eventually scaled the ban down to eight after considering mitigating factors.
Francis was initially named on the bench for the visit of Italy to Cardiff, but will now be replaced in Warren Gatland's squad by Ospreys front-row Aaron Jarvis. A scheduled return date of 9 May means that he will be sidelined for Exeter's remaining seven Premiership fixtures, although he would be available for the play-offs in the likely event they progress that far.
Rob Baxter's second-place side also face domestic rivals Wasps in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup next month. Francis will miss that match and the last four, although he would be able to play in the final, which takes place five days after his suspension ends.
The 23-year-old was not the only player to receive attention from the citing commissioner following a feisty encounter that left England, who have already won the tournament following Scotland's victory over France, needing just one more win in Paris to claim their first grand slam for 13 years. James Haskell was given a formal warning for a dangerous neck roll tackle, while Joe Marler was eventually cited for striking opposite number Rob Evans with his forearm.
Marler could also face punishment for appearing to call Samson Lee, who has traveller heritage, a "gypsy boy" during a first-half scuffle. The Harlequins prop apologised for the incident at half-time and was reminded of his responsibilities as an England player by head coach Eddie Jones.