Tue 23 Mar 2021 | 11:08

Blues hooker cops ban as ref gets it wrong

Blues hooker cops ban as ref gets it wrong
Tue 23 Mar 2021 | 11:08
Blues hooker cops ban as ref gets it wrong
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DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: Blues replacement hooker Kurt Eklund has been handed a ban after his reckless illegal tackle during the defeat to Crusaders.

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Eklund received a three-week suspension for is dangerous tackle on Crusaders wing Sevu Reece on Sunday.

While there’ll be some vindication that Blues replacement hooker Eklund has been handed a ban for an illegal tackle, the post-match punishment is just another example of referees not making the best decisions during matches.

Fresh from a Blues’ try, scored by Eklund, Reece leapt into the air from the Crusaders’ kick-off and clattered into Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Eklund took offence to the dangerous play – which was penalised by referee Paul Williams, and grabbed Reece by the torso and flipped him over his shoulder. Reece emerged relatively unscathed from the tackle – although spent a prolonged period on the ground afterwards – and Williams reversed the penalty.

*Article continues below…

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That was the end of the matter, however, with Eklund just given a warning for the dangerous indiscretion.

But following the match SANZAAR has cited the Blues star and he has now been handed a three-match ban.

This means Eklund will the games against Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders.

The hooker isn’t the only Blues player in hot water, however, with prop Ofa Tuungafasi also set to face the judiciary this week. Tuungafasi, who was brought off the bench in the loss to the Crusaders, made a dangerous clearout late in the match and was given a yellow card for the offence.

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The SANZAAR Judicial Committee believes that there were grounds for a red card, however, and Tuungafasi could be facing a similar stint on the sidelines as his teammate.

Notably, however, Eklund’s ban was reduced from six weeks to three due to his lack of prior convictions and early guilty plea. Tuungafasi, on the other hand, was sent off during a Bledisloe Cup match last year – which could harm his case.

While the Blues are well covered at prop, Eklund’s absence could force coach Leon MacDonald to call up an extra player to the squad, with Luteru Tolai now the only hooker available for selection.

*READ the full SANZAAR statement: 

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee has accepted a guilty plea from Kurt Eklund of the Blues for contravening Law 9.18, after he was Cited during a Super Rugby Aotearoa Match at the Weekend.

Eklund has been suspended from all forms of the game for 3 weeks, up to and including 16 April 2021.

The incident occurred in the 67th minute of the match between the Blues and Crusaders at Eden Park in Auckland on March 21,  2021.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Adam Casselden SC (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and Mike Mika assessed the case.

In his finding, Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Adam Casselden SC ruled the following:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Citing under Law 9.18.

With respect to sanction, the Foul Play Review 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, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks. The Player was entitled to a full 50% reduction due to no prior offences on his record.

This means a sanction of 3 weeks. This includes the following fixtures:

  • Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 5 Chiefs v Blues 27 March 2021
  • Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 6 Blues v Hurricanes 3 April 2021
  • Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 7 – Bye –
  • Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 8 Highlanders v Blues 16 April 2021

The Blues have a scheduled bye in Round 7 which does not count as a week for sanctioning purposes. The player would therefore be suspended from all forms of the game up to and including April 16, 2021.”

All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to the Foul Play Review Committee to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.

For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the Foul Play Review Committee.

Source: Rugbypass

 

 

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