Saints lock Ribbans to miss Bath match - but not the start of new season
David Ribbans has been handed a three-week ban after being sent off against Exeter Chiefs last Sunday.
But the good news for Saints is that the influential lock will not miss any meaningful matches.
Ribbans starts his ban this week, meaning that he can't play in the Gallagher Premiership final-day fixture at Bath on Saturday.
But Saints will finish fifth in the table no matter what happens at The Recreation Ground.
Ribbans will then miss two pre-season games, against Bedford Blues and Ospreys, in September.
He will be available for the beginning of the new Premiership season.
Ribbans was dismissed for shoulder contact to the head of Exeter hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie in the 14th minute of the match last weekend.
Saints produced a huge first-half performance, flying into an 18-0 lead despite being a man down, but they were eventually beaten 29-26 at Franklin's Gardens.
Ribbans' case was heard on papers on Monday by Ian Unsworth QC sitting as Sole Judicial Officer.
He accepted the charge of dangerous tackling contrary to World Rugby Law 9.13 and was given a three-week suspension by Unsworth.
In a statement, Ribbans said: “My intention throughout was to execute a fair and safe tackle of Exeter No2.
"Looking at the video clip of the incident after the event, I can accept that I was too upright in the tackle and unfortunately made contact above the line of the shoulder.
“Due to a delay in the ball getting to the player I misjudged my height and accidentally made contact with the Exeter No2 above the line of the shoulder, as stated.
"I had no intention whatsoever to make contact with Exeter 2’s head.”
Ribbans is free to play again September 14.
David Ribbans will miss the following matches...
June 12, 2021: Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Bath v Saints
Sept 3, 2021: Pre-season match, Saints v Bedford Blues
Sept 10, 2021: Pre-season match, Saints v Ospreys