SPORTS | Super Rugby

Suspension Looms As Red Cards Flow

Red cards were dished in each of the first four round seven Super Rugby Pacific matches, and suspensions are set to follow.
05 Apr 2022 17:30
Suspension Looms As Red Cards Flow
Swire Shipping Fijian Drua No.8 Nemani Nagusa (back to the camera) gets the red card from referee Reuben Keane on April 1, 2022. Photo: Stuff

The SANZAAR foul play re­view committee has never been so busy.

Red cards were dished in each of the first four round seven Super Rugby Pacific matches, and sus­pensions are set to follow.

Add Blues prop Nepo Laulala’s red card, and subsequent three-week suspension, from last Tues­day night’s game against Moana Pasifika, and red cards were flashed in five straight matches.

All were dished after direct con­tact was made to the head and neck area of an opposition player, some­thing World Rugby has made no se­cret of cracking down on.

That made television match of­ficial Shane McDermott’s initial decision to clear Crusaders re­placement hooker Shilo Klein of foul play against the Highlanders in Christchurch on Friday night perplexing.

Thankfully, common sense pre­vailed and Klein was sent packing in the 77th minute after his right-shoulder drilled prop Ethan de Groot, who required a head injury assessment.

It leaves the Crusaders in a spot of bother at hooker, given Brodie McAlister (calf) is injured, leaving Codie Taylor as the lone contract­ed rake available to play the Hur­ricanes next weekend.

Former Highlanders hooker Ricky Jackson has been train­ing with the team and is one of a couple of options coach Scott Rob­ertson is considering while they await Klein’s fate.

Speaking of awaiting fate, Blues wing Caleb Clarke is a chance to get off lighter than the other of­fenders.

He was sent off for an aerial chal­lenge on Moana Pasifika opposite Tomasi Alosio, after he launched himself in a bid to charge down a chip kick.

The contact to Alosio’s head was nasty, but Clarke cut a confused figure as he trudged off Eden Park, knowing he couldn’t change direc­tion midair.


Blues coach Leon MacDonald wouldn’t be drawn on whether he expected a suspension, but be­lieved it wasn’t a reckless act, rath­er unfortunate.

Reds loose forward Tuaina Taii Tualima and Fijian Drua No 8 Nemani Nagusa are also at the mercy of the foul play committee following red cards.

Tualima might argue James Slip­per was low when he cleaned him out, but the reality is he had a full head of steam up, and all the time in the world to adjust, before he made contact with the Brumbies prop’s noggin.

As for Nagusa, his late and high shot on Waratah Tane Edmed was ugly. In other words, good luck de­fending it.

Helped by being able to replace sent off players after 20 minutes, all sides but the Drua to receive red cards won their matches.


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