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England lock banned for kicking Fijian

Press Association logoPress Association 21/11/2016

England lock Joe Launchbury has been ruled out of the remaining two rugby Tests of the autumn series after being found guilty of kicking Fiji's Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Launchbury will miss the clashes with Argentina and Australia after his boot connected with the head of the Fijian outside centre in the 42nd minute of a record 58-15 victory at Twickenham on Saturday.

The act was deemed reckless rather than deliberate and the low end sanction for the offence of a four-week ban was reduced to two weeks due to Launchbury's admission of guilt, his previous clean disciplinary record and good conduct at the hearing.

The injury-enforced absence of Maro Itoje and George Kruis offered Launchbury the chance to revise coach Eddie Jones' second-row pecking order, and he revived his lock partnership with Courtney Lawes that performed well in wins over South Africa and Fiji.

Kruis has made a quick recovery from ankle surgery and is available to start against the Pumas on Saturday.

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