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Highlanders centre suspended for three weeks

NEWS: Highlanders centre Tanielu Tele’a has been suspended for three weeks after his red card during the defeat to the Chiefs on Saturday.


Tele’a has been suspended from all forms of the game up to and including 19 April 2024.

Referee Paul Williams initially sent 25-year-old Tele’a to the sin bin under review after the midfielder caught Chiefs No.12 Quinn Tupaea with a high shot just before half-time.

TMO Richard Kelly reviewed the decision, with referee Williams later telling Highlanders captain Billy Harmon that there was a “high degree of danger.”

The yellow card was upgraded to a red in the 44th minute with the Highlanders down 0-21 in Hamilton.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee (FPRC) has found Tanielu Tele’a of the Highlanders guilty of contravening Law 9.20(a) “A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul”, after Tele’a was given an upgraded Red Carded following a Super Rugby Pacific Match last weekend.

The FPRC comprising Stephen Hardy (Chairman), Ofisa Tonu’u and Stefan Terblanche assessed the incident.


“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the Player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card and found the Player to have contravened Law 9.20(a).”

“Applying the World Rugby Head Contact Process, the FPRC assessed the Player’s actions as including direct head contact with the shoulder, that was reckless, made at high speed, in dynamic play with the Player colliding with a high degree of force.

“There was no sudden or significant change in height or direction (or any other relevant mitigating factor set out within the Head Contact Process) to result in mitigation sufficient to downgrade the incident to a yellow card.”

“The entry point for the offence was 6 weeks (assessed as mid-range in line with World Rugby’s mandate). The Player was given a discount for entering an early guilty plea (and other relevant mitigating factors), reducing the suspension from 6 weeks to 3 weeks.


“The Player is therefore suspended up to and including 19 April 2024.”

The Player is eligible to apply for the World Rugby “Head Contact Process – Coaching Intervention” process.


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