Mathieu Bastareaud banned for five weeks after striking opponent with elbow

Mathieu Bastareaud has received 47 France caps. Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

France international Mathieu Bastareaud has been banned for five weeks after striking an opponent while he lay on the ground.

The Toulon captain was sent off in the 70th minute of his side's 28-27 Top 14 win over Castres on Sept. 9 and will now be unavailable until the French side visit Edinburgh for a Champions Cup group game on Oct. 20.

The incident occurred at a breakdown; with Castres lock Christophe Samson on the turf protecting the ball following a turnover. Leading with his elbow, Bastareaud dropped to the ground and struck Samson on his head. The centre was shown a straight red card after the referee consulted the TMO.

Following the dismissal, there were reports that Bastareaud would be banned for several months, rather than weeks. There was therefore surprise when the player received the five-week ban following a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday evening.

Bastareaud, 30, will also be available for his country's Autumn Internationals against South Africa, Argentina and Fiji.