London Welsh wait for points deduction appeal verdict

London Welsh's appeal against a five-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player has been heard.

A Rugby Union Football Union statement read: "The panel will now consider their decision which will be communicated in due course."

The Premiership side were penalised after a Rugby Football Union Panel of Inquiry deemed Tyson Keats had played without the appropriate registration.

It is understood the appeal's outcome will be made public early next week.

New Zealander Keats, 31, has played 10 Premiership games for Welsh this term.

Bottom of Premiership

Position Team Played Won Pts

9

Worcester

17

5

32

10

London Irish

17

5

24

11

Sale

17

4

19

12

London Welsh

17

4

17

The table includes London Welsh's five-point deduction for fielding an ineligble player

The side, who are now bottom of the table and two points adrift of 11th-placed Sale, were also fined £15,000.

Welsh face an uphill battle to avoid relegation in their first season of Premiership rugby.

They have only five games left - away to Gloucester, Bath and London Irish, and at home against Northampton and Worcester - and are now favourites for the drop.

The scrum-half joined the club in 2012, having previously played for Italian side Aironi.

Explaining their original decision, the Panel of Inquiry said  Keats applied for an ancestry visa when he arrived in the UK in July 2012 as his maternal grandfather was born in England.

But his application was apparently rejected and the then team manager Mike Scott falsified a player registration form by stating Keats was English and had been born in a Christchurch in England, rather than the city in New Zealand.

The matter was referred to the RFU by London Welsh once they discovered the background to the issue.

A further five-point deduction is suspended until the end of next season and will only be activated if the club breach regulations again during that period.