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Savea learns his fate after throat-slitting gesture

DISCIPLINARY NEWS: All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea has copped a one-week ban for his controversial gesture during the Super Rugby Pacific match between Hurricanes and Melbourne Rebels.


The Hurricanes captain throat-slitting gesture during a verbal exchange with Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens after being shown a yellow card in the round two match which the New Zealand side won 39-33.

He subsequently apologised for his action, however, the incident was captured on match footage and subsequently reviewed by the Citing Commissioner, who deemed the incident had met the Red Card threshold for foul play.

Savea faced an independent disciplinary hearing on Tuesday and was handed a one-week suspension.

The ban will see him miss this Saturday’s Super Rugby Pacific match against the Blues.

*Read the full SANZAAR statement below: 

Savea received a yellow card, for an offence against Law 9.27, in the 40th minute of the match between the Rebels and Hurricanes at AAMI Park, Melbourne on March 3, 2023.

Following the match, Savea was cited for a separate incident, occurring immediately after the first offence, again under Law 9.27: A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.


The SANZAAR Judicial Committee of Nigel Hampton KC (Chair), Mike Mika and David Croft assessed the citing case.

In his finding, Judicial Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton KC ruled the following:

“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 Judicial Committee found the foul play did not breach the Red Card threshold.

With respect to sanction the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a warning as it was close to, but did not breach the Red Card threshold.


Savea was issued with a Warning from the Judicial Committee with regard to this incident.  As a result of this, that meant that he received a yellow Card and a warning from the same match.

SANZAAR Disciplinary Rule 6.1 states:
“6.1: If a Player has received two Warnings or a combination of a Warning and a yellow card during a Match, he shall be treated for disciplinary purposes as if he had been sent off.

Therefore, Ardie Savea was required to reappear before the SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee as a result of his persistent offending.

In order to expedite and preserve the proper judicial process and with the agreement of all parties, the same Committee members reconvened to sit as a Foul Play Review Committee and review the breach of SANZAAR Disciplinary Rule 6.1.

In his finding, Nigel Hampton KC ruled the following: The Foul Play Review Committee conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, and oral submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd.

With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee ruled, after considering a number of factors, including the guidance of World Rugby Regulation 17 Appendix 4, and due to the nature of the Player’s persistent offending, with both the Yellow Card and the Warning being issued for unsportsmanlike play, that an appropriate sanction for the Player would be a suspension of one week.”

That was accepted by the player, and the player is therefore suspended for one week, up to and including Saturday, March  11, 2023.

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