Clermont Auvergne prop Etienne Falgoux has been suspended for seven weeks for a gouging incident in the French side’s 38-19 Champions Cup win over Ulster.

Falgoux was cited after the game by citing commissioner Jeff Mark at the Stade Marcel-Michelin for making contact with the eye and/or eye area of Ulster’s Luke Marshall.

In upholding the citing complaint, the Independent Disciplinary Committee found that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby's sanctions and selected 12 weeks as the appropriate entry point.

Taking into account Falgoux's clean disciplinary record, his expression of remorse – even though he pleaded not guilty to the offence - and his youth and inexperience, the committee decided to reduce the sanction by five weeks before imposing a seven-week suspension.

As the suspension covers a total of seven matches in the TOP 14 and the Champions Cup, Falgoux will be free to play on Monday, 20 February 2017. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

The Independent Disciplinary Committee was made up of Jeremy Summers (England), Jean-Philippe Lachaume (France) and John Carroll (Ireland).

They heard evidence and submissions from Falgoux, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, from the Clermont Auvergne legal representative, Charles Fribourg, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

Falgoux will miss the final two ECC pool games against Ian Madigan’s Bordeaux-Belges and Exeter Chiefs.

However, the French giants remain in charge of Pool 5 and Ulster, in third place level on points with second placed Bordeaux-Belges, face an uphill challenge to qualify for the knock-out stages.