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Caleb Clarke handed ban following aerial challenge against Moana Pasifika

By Sam Smith
Credit: Derek Morrison /

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Blues left wing Caleb Clarke has been suspended for his role in the aerial challenge on Moana Pasifika’s Tomasi Alosio at Eden Park last weekend.


The 23-year-old was shown a red card when his attempted charge down went wrong and he ended up colliding with Alosio’s head.

The judiciary committee ruled that Clarke’s aerial challenge was dangerous play under law 9.11 and determined a suspension of three weeks, which will see the Blues star miss crucial games against the Chiefs, Crusaders and Fijian Drua.

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Clarke’s good judicial record and remorse saw a reduction in the suspension from a potential six weeks to three.

Judicial Committee Chair Stephen Hardy ruled that the accident constituted ‘foul play’, which required a mid-range entry for the suspension:

“With respect to sanction, the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks due to the World Rugby directive that mandates that any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range entry level,” the statement read.

“Taking into account mitigating factors, including the Player’s good judicial record, the manner he held himself through the proceedings, expressed remorse with multiple attempts to check on the injured player, and his young age; the Judicial Committee reduced the suspension by three weeks.”


NZ Herald’s rugby writer Liam Napier reacted to the suspension with surprise, saying the ‘game has lost the plot’ after failing to use common sense at the hearing.

By all accounts there was no malice or intent on Clarke’s behalf, with the jump becoming an accidental challenge once the charge down was missed. By ruling the act as ‘foul play’, SANZAAR have set a new precedent.



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