Hurricanes' flanker Ardie Savea has been banned for four weeks for a dangerous tackle in a Super Rugby preseason match.
It's a huge blow to the Hurricanes who have huge expectations for the former All Blacks Sevens player.
Savea was cited for a lifting tackle on Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu in the 78th minute of the Hurricanes v Chiefs preseason match at Mangatainoka last Saturday which the Chiefs won 25-21.
Judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC said the tackle was "clumsy with elements of recklessness".
Savea's poor technique had contributed to the dangerous nature of the tackle as he lost control, posing potential risk of injury to Pulu's neck or head.
Hampton said Savea was a young player with a clean disciplinary record.
"The player has acknowledged the tackle was poorly executed and I have considered his early admission of fault as being in his favour," Hampton said.
"I deem the tackle to be in the mid-range of seriousness. Taking into account all the mitigating factors, and this young man's impressive character and conduct through this process, I have decided a sanction of no less than four weeks is appropriate," he said.
Savea is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Saturday March 16.
He is unavailable for the Hurricanes' matches against the Blues in Wellington this Saturday, the Reds in Brisbane on March 1, the Crusaders in Wellington on March 8, and the Highlanders in Dunedin on March 15.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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