DUNFERMLINE have been dealt a blow with the news that Martin Punter has been handed a 20-week ban by the SRU.
The Blues prop was sent off during last month’s 40-32 defeat at home to Fife rivals Glenrothes for aiming a headbutt at the visitors’ Hamish Burr after a melee involving both sets of players.
Punter was summoned to a hearing at Murrayfield with SRU representatives where he was hit with the lengthy suspension.
It comes after Blair Nicol was ruled out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a broken ankle in training, and head coach Caine McIntyre said: “It is a severe ban for Martin but he is still attending training and doing some youth coaching and having a positive impact at the club off the park. We don’t condone what he did but sometimes players can get frustrated.
“Blair’s injury happened a couple of weeks ago in training and there was some light contact, but his ankle went the other way and he had to have an operation. He’s probably out for the season and it’s a huge blow to lose someone who was previously player of the year.
“We’ve lost those two and Craig McKenzie works away a lot with the RAF, so in effect we’ve lost our whole front row from the beginning of the season. Luckily we’ve got a healthy squad but we’ve got a bit of work still to do.”