Blues prop Alex Hodgman will play no further part in Super Rugby Aotearoa this season after copping a three-week ban for the red card he received during his side’s loss to the Highlanders on Friday.
Hodgman was sent from the field by referee Brendon Pickerill in the 72nd minute of the match for a shoulder charge to the head of Highlanders flanker James Lentjes.
The 27-year-old’s dismissal added insult to injury as the Blues fell to a 35-29 defeat at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The Auckland franchise will be without Hodgman for the remainder of the competition after the SANZAAR foul play review committee accepted the four-test All Black’s guilty plea of contravening Law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
The committee deemed the offence to be worthy of a six-week suspension, but mitigating factors, such as Hodgman’s good judicial record and his early guilty plea, means his sideline spell has been cut in half to just three weeks.
As a result, Hodgman will be unavailable to play at any level of the game up to and including May 8, the date of which the Super Rugby Aotearoa final is scheduled for.
The committee added that if the Blues don’t reach the competition’s final, they reserve the right to extend Hodgman’s ban to the franchise’s next scheduled match, which is their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman opener against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on May 15.
The Blues’ loss to the Highlanders, their third in four matches, saw the side drop to third place on the Super Rugby Aotearoa standings with two matches left to play in the regular season.
A place in the Super Rugby Aotearoa final is still within touching distance, although the Blues will likely need a victory against the league-leading Crusaders in Christchurch this weekend.
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