Ofa Tu'ungafasi handed three-week ban

New Zealand continue to lead Rugby Championship table
New Zealand continue to lead Rugby Championship table

New Zealand prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi has been handed a three-week ban following his red-card incident in the second game of the Rugby Championship at Suncorp Stadium last weekend.

Tu'ungafasi was sent-off in the 23rd minute for a dangerous tackle on Australia's winger Tom Wright and faced a SANZAAR judicial committee in a video conference on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old was proved guilty of breaching Law 9.13 that deals with “A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously". He was initially handed a six-week ban that was reduced by half taking into account his conduct during hearing and other mitigating factors.

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from the Player and from his legal representative, Stephen Cottrell, by majority decision the Judicial Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.13.

“With respect to sanction the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level.

However, taking into account mitigating factors including the fact the Player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity and has a clean judicial record, the Player was entitled to a full 50% reduction.

“The player is therefore suspended for 3 weeks, up to and including Saturday 20 February 2021. This sanction includes the Player’s next three scheduled matches as presented.”

Despite the 24-22 defeat to Australia in the second round, New Zealand are at the top of the Rugby Championship table with six points and will line-up against Argentina next in Parramatta on Saturday.