Filo Paulo gets five-week suspension for punch
An ill-advised cheap shot on Crusaders lock Tom Donnelly during the North v South game will see Blues second rower Filo Paulo sit out the remainder of the Super Rugby season.
Paulo has been suspended for five weeks, up until the day of the Blues final regular season game against the Brumbies in Canberra. Paulo punched a defenceless Donnelly on the ground after a first half scuffle broke out following a lifting tackle by Brendon Leonard on South skipper Jason Rutledge.
The ensuing melee saw Leonard, North hooker Dane Cole and South centre Kendrick Lynn all cited.
All three were cleared after a judicial hearing on Wednesday although Leonard was cautioned over his tackling style.
NZRU judicial officer Roger Drummond found that Paulo's offending was the top end of the IRB's sanctions for foul play, meriting a penalty of eight weeks.
Paulo's relatively clean record, his early acknowledgement of the offence and the fact he had apologised to Donnelly after the game were all taken into account.
Despite all that, Drummond said a clear message had to be sent that the incident was unacceptable.
- © Fairfax NZ News