Swinson cleared for Six Nations after avoiding ban


Scotland flanker Tim Swinson is free to play in the Six Nations after receiving just a one-week ban for punching Northampton Saints hooker Mike Haywood.

The Glasgow Warriors forward was cited for the incident that took place in the 74th minute of the Saints' 19-15 victory in the European Champions Cup on Sunday.

A yellow card was shown by referee Romain Poite at the time, but an independent judicial officer ruled that the offence was worthy of a sending off.

However, the misdemeanour was judged to be at the low end of World Rugby's sanctions and a two-week ban was administered, reduced by a week due to his guilty plea, a clean disciplinary record and good conduct at his hearing.

It means that Swinson is free for Scotland's Six Nations Opener against England on February 6 at Murrayfield.

Both Swinson and the European Professional Club Rugby have the right to appeal the decision.

Swinson's club-mate Richie Vernon was not in Vern Cotter's Scotland squad, and the Warriors confirmed on Wednesday that the centre has undergone surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Warriors did not put a timescale on Vernon's return but hope to have him back before the end of the season.

"We're disappointed to lose Richie for the next few months," said Gregor Townsend. "He failed to progress as expected, so in the end an operation was required, which will keep him out for most of the season."