Little hit by long ban

Saracens back Nicky Little has been banned for 11 weeks by Rugby Football Union disciplinary chiefs. [more]

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Saracens back Nicky Little has been banned for 11 weeks by Rugby Football Union disciplinary chiefs.

The Fiji international appeared before a three-man RFU panel in London.

Little was cited by London Irish officials for striking Exiles fly-half Ross Laidlaw during a Guinness A League game last week.

The suspension, which underlines the RFU’s no-nonsense approach to indiscipline this season, will sideline Little until November 22.

Although he is currently on the first-team fringes at Saracens, his ability to cover more than one position and his prodigious goal-kicking makes him a valuable squad member.

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Saracens have 14 days to decide whether to appeal against Little’s ban.

Worcester forward Drew Hickey was cleared by the same RFU panel of a dangerous charge on Gloucester skipper Adam Balding.

Warriors number eight Hickey, a former Australian Under-21 international, was reported by the Guinness Premiership citing officer following the incident during a league game at Sixways nine days ago.

Balding subsequently underwent surgery after his cheekbone was fractured in three places. He will not play again until November.

Hickey, though, who was accompanied at the 90-minute hearing by Worcester rugby director John Brain was found not guilty and is free to continue playing.

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