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Meakes guilty but isn't punished

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Bill Meakes found guilty but gets get-out-of-jail-free card from SANZAAR

A SANZAAR judicial committee hearing has found Rebels’ Bill Meakes guilty of contravening Law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

However, the judicial committee also found that the red card threshold had not been met for the offence and subsequently issued a warning to the midfielder that frees him to resume playing immediately.

Meakes contravened Law 9.13 in the second half of the match between the Rebels and Sunwolves at AAMI Park on April 6.

After conducting the judicial hearing via video conference, committee chairman Michael Heron, assisted by De Wet Barry and Chris Smith, concluded:  “Having conducted a detailed review of the available evidence, in particular additional footage showing a close up of the incident, and hearing from the player and considering submissions from his legal representative, Tim North, the judicial committee upheld the citing of an act of foul play under Law 9.13.

“However, the judicial committee found that the act of foul play did not meet the red card threshold. On review of footage not available to the citing commissioner, it was clear the initial point of contact was below the shoulder line with use of the arms in an attempted wrap.

“The player’s shoulder rose up post the initial contact and may have contacted the neck of the tackled player although footage was inconclusive. There was no evidence of contact with the head of the tackled player.

“The citing was warranted on the evidence available to the citing commissioner but with the further evidence (including additional footage, player evidence and medical evidence) contact above the shoulder line was not able to be clearly demonstrated.

“The action of the player in tackling a vulnerable opponent at the shoulder line and rising up was dangerous and as a result a warning would be issued to the player (under Rule 8.5). The player is free to resume playing immediately.”

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Bill Meakes found guilty but gets get-out-of-jail-free card from SANZAAR