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Brumbies without Len Ikitau for Super Rugby playoffs as Kiwi duo earn suspension

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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The Brumbies will be without Len Ikitau for the remainder of the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs after he was handed a suspension by SANZAAR on Wednesday.

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Ikitau has been banned for three matches by the SANZAAR judicial committee following his red card during last weekend’s quarter-final win over the Hurricanes in Canberra.

The 23-year-old Wallabies midfielder was sent off midway through the first half for connecting with the head of Hurricanes first-five Aidan Morgan during a tackle attempt.

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SANZAAR deemed Ikitau to have contravened Law 9.13, which stipulates that a player must not tackle an opponent early late or dangerously.

As such, the 13-test international has been hit with a three-match ban, which could have been a six-match ban, but was reduced due to Ikitau’s remorse, exemplary judicial record and conduct at the judicial hearing.

That means he will be unavailable to play for the Brumbies in their Super Rugby Pacific semi-final against the Blues in Auckland this weekend, and won’t be free for selection should his side advance to next week’s final.

The suspension means Ikitau┬ámay also be out of action for the first, and possibly second, matches of Australia’s three-test series against England next month.

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As has been the case throughout Super Rugby Pacific this season, though, Ikitau could have his suspension reduced by a match following his completion of World Rugby’s head contact process coaching intervention.

Ikitau isn’t the only player to have been suspended by SANZAAR, as Highlanders hooker Andrew Makalio and Hurricanes wing Salesi Rayasi have also received bans.

Makalio was sent off during his side’s quarter-final defeat to the Blues in Auckland last weekend after he connected with Tom Robinson’s head during a tackle attempt.

The 30-year-old has subsequently been banned from all forms of rugby for three weeks, while Rayasi has been hit with a one-week suspension after accumulating his fourth yellow card of the season against the Brumbies.

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Similarly to Ikitau, both Makalio and Rayasi had their suspension periods reduced due to various mitigating factors, including acceptance of offending, conduct at their respective hearings, show of remorse and good judicial records.

Due to the nature of his infringement, Makalio will also undergo World Rugby’s head contact process coaching intervention.

Unlike Ikitau, however, Makalio and Rayasi’s bans have been listed as week-by-week suspensions rather than match-by-match suspensions.

Therefore, given both the Highlanders and Hurricanes will take no further part in Super Rugby Pacific, their respective suspensions mean they will only be unavailable for grassroots matches over the course of the coming weeks.

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