Highlanders centre Sio Tomkinson will face no further action after his red card for a tackle on Chiefs captain Brodie Retallick was rescinded.
Tomkinson was given his marching orders by referee Glen Jackson just five minutes after coming on in the second half of the first game of the Super Rugby season in Hamilton last Friday.
The 22-year-old was adjudged to have been guilty of a dangerous hit on the New Zealand lock, who was unable to continue in a contest which ended with a 30-27 victory for the Highlanders.
However, it was ruled at a SANZAAR judicial committee hearing that Tomkinson should not have been dismissed.
Judicial committee chairman Michael Heron QC said: “The judicial committee conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and relevant match reports.
“The committee heard evidence from the player, a member of the Highlanders’ coaching staff, and received submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd. The committee adjourned the hearing to make further inquiries with the match referee and received additional information from him.
“With the benefit of this further information, the judicial committee was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the referee was wrong in issuing the red card. The committee determined to remove the red card from the player’s record.
“The judicial committee found that the player made contact with his shoulder to the shoulder of the Chiefs player. On careful review of the footage, and on receiving further evidence as above, the committee determined that the player did not make contact with the head of the Chiefs player and he did attempt to use his arm in the attempted tackle.
“Due to the rapid change in angle from the Chiefs player, and the tackle of the other Highlanders player involved, the incident appeared to be more significant that it was.
“The committee had the benefit of lengthy analysis and review of the footage and the other evidence which enabled it to determine that there was no contact to the head by the player and no foul play.”
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