Reds captain Scott Higginbotham has been banned for three weeks following his dangerous tackle on the Rebels’ Matt Philip, while team-mate Lukhan Tui faces a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
Higginbotham was dismissed for a shoulder charge after only seven minutes at AAMI Park on Saturday and watched his side slump to a 45-19 defeat thereafter.
The Reds must now make do without their skipper in matches against the Brumbies and Bulls, although Higginbotham – who submitted a guilty plea after being charged with making a dangerous tackle – will be eligible to return for the round-four clash with the Jaguares on March 18.
Nigel Hampton QC, chairman of SANZAAR’s foul play review committee, said: “Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including a statement from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Mark Martin QC, the foul play review committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.13. This was an objectively dangerous tackle.
“With respect to sanction, the foul play review committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks due to the direct contact by the player’s shoulder to his opponent’s head.
“However, taking into account mitigating factors, including the player’s good record over a long career, the lack of injury to the victim and his guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, the foul play review committee reduced the suspension to three weeks.
“The player is therefore suspended for three weeks, up to and including Saturday 17 March 2018.”
Tui is alleged to have contravened Law 9.18, which states that a player “must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and / or upper body make contact with the ground”.
The lock, who was cited for a tackle on Will Genia, will discover his fate in a hearing on Tuesday.
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