STADE FRANCAIS scrum-half Julien Dupuy has appealed against his 24-week ban for eye-gouging.
Dupuy was cited for his attack on Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during Stade’s 23-13 Heineken Cup defeat at Ravenhill on 12 December.
The six-month ban would rule Dupuy out of France’s entire Six Nations campaign, which starts in February.
Furious Stade president Max Guazzini insisted the ban was “excessive” “very political” and “anti-French”.
“The ERC wanted to make an example of a symbolic player of Stade Francais and of the French team which has never had a disciplinary problem,” Guazzini said.
“It’s not normal that a private organisation in Ireland prevents a club employee from working, from playing. It is we who pay him.”
But on dishing out the punishment, officials described Dupuy’s attack as “at the top end in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type”.
Dupuy is currently France’s No1 choice scrum-half and national coach Marc Lievremont responded to the hearing last Friday by adding: “We expected the worst and the worst thing has happened to Julien because six months is huge.
“I hope there is an appeal and that the ban is replaced by something more reasonable.”