Bristol Rugby shocked by Jason Hobson's 12-week ban
BRISTOL are waiting to receive the RFU's full written judgement on the 12-week ban handed out to prop Jason Hobson for biting an opponent before deciding whether to launch an appeal.
Chief executive Steve Gorvett, choosing his words carefully, said the Championship club were "surprised and disappointed" at the verdict which was handed out by a disciplinary committee meeting in Bristol.
Hobson was cited after a complaint from Plymouth Albion that he had bitten the arm of centre Bevon Armitage.
The player pleaded not guilty, but the citing was upheld and a low entry-point suspension imposed by a panel which comprised Richard Charles (chairman), Dan White and Mike Curling.
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Hobson, 29, will be free to play again on February 27, ruling him out nine fixtures, including five Championship matches, as Bristol bid to further close the gap on fourth-placed Leeds and earn a place in the end of season play-offs.
Gorvett said: "So far, we have only had a brief verbal finalisation – we need to see the full statements.
"Jason totally denies the charge, so we will be looking at what further action we can take.
"But we cannot do that until early next week when we receive the full statements.
"You cannot see anything (on the video footage) and Jason categorically denies the charge. It's balance of probability evidence and that surprises us."
Bristol and Plymouth were also charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the game following a mass brawl.
Both clubs pleaded guilty and received a deduction of five league points, suspended 12 months from December 4.
Gorvett added: "We pleaded guilty to the charge, but were surprised and disappointed with the severity of the punishment."
Jack Andrew, of Plymouth, also pleaded guilty to a charge or punching or striking in the same game and was handed a three-week suspension.
Bristol are next in action on Saturday, away to Bridgend as the British & Irish Cup resumes.