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Hurricanes' hooker woes worsen with Tuputupu suspension

By Ned Lester
Raymond Tuputupu of the Hurricanes. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The Hurricanes will be without hooker Raymond Tuputupu for three weeks following a foul play review committee’s ruling on Wednesday.

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The suspension rules the 21-year-old out of both of the Hurricanes’ confirmed upcoming contests – round 15 against the Highlanders and the quarter-final against an opponent yet to be decided – as well as a potential semi-final fixture.

Should the Hurricanes make the final, the youngster will be available.

Having enjoyed a promotion to the starting unit since All Blacks Asafo Aumua’s injury, Tuputupu’s impending absence strikes another blow to the Hurricanes after the departure of club icon Dane Coles following last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Tuputupu was handed a red card for his tackle attempt on the Chiefs’ Tupou Vaa’i in the sixth minute. That decision was upheld by the foul play review committee.

“In the FPRC’s view, no sudden or significant change in height or direction, a late change in dynamics (or any other relevant mitigating factor set out within the head contact process) to result in mitigation sufficient to downgrade the incident to a yellow card.”

An early guilty plea, as well as Tuputupu’s prior record and expression of remorse, mitigated the ban down from the mid-range entry point of six weeks.

Despite the 20-minute red card, the Hurricanes stoically wrestled momentum in their favour for the first time in the contest while down a man, even claiming the first points of the game through a linebreak from Tuputupu’s explosive front-row partner Xavier Numia.

Even with another yellow car later in the game to winger Kini Naholo, the Hurricanes went on to win the derby and draw even with the Blues at the top of the Super Rugby Pacific table, with a chance to claim the top seed this weekend against the Highlanders.

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Comments

1 Comment
N
Nickers 21 days ago

This is so harsh. Tuputupu went into the tackle very low, if Vaa’i had been standing at full height it probably would have made contact around mid thigh.

There has to be some consideration of how low the ball carrier’s head it going into contact. In this case Vaa’i’s bent so far forward and down going into the tackle that his head can’t have been more than 70cm above the ground. Virtually impossible to make a legal tackle when the ball carrier is in the position.

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