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Rugby-Exeter's Skinner, Ewers to miss Premiership semi-final due to four-week bans

Six Nations Championship - France v Scotland

(Reuters) - Exeter were handed a huge blow ahead of Saturday's Premiership semi-final against Sale Sharks after forwards Sam Skinner and Dave Ewers were given four-week bans by an independent disciplinary panel on Tuesday night.

Skinner was sent off in the 53rd minute of last weekend's 20-19 win over Sale for a dangerous tackle, while Ewers was sin-binned for a high hit on Simon Hammersley in the 33rd minute of the same match.

Both players contested the charges against them but they were upheld by the independent panel, the RFU said on Wednesday.

"Both cases involved direct contact with an opponent's head that carried a high degree of danger," the independent panel said in a statement.

"None of the mitigating factors set out in the World Rugby Head Contact Process which would have justified the red card otherwise being reduced to a yellow card were present.

"Neither player accepted the charge and so full mitigation credit was not available to them."

The pair will also miss the Premiership final, scheduled for June 26 at Twickenham, if Exeter reach the summit clash.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Jon Boyle)