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Richard Kahui free to play against Chiefs in Hamilton after red card dismissed

By Tom Vinicombe
Richard Kahui. (Photo by Derek Morrison/Photosport(

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Former All Blacks and Chiefs midfielder Richard Kahui could be set to line up against his former side at Waikato Stadium on Saturday.

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Kahui was sent off in the late stages of the Western Force’s defeat at the hands of the Highlanders over the weekend after making an alleged dangerous tackle on Mitch Hunt.

Following a chip kick from the Force, Kahui collided with Hunt in a front-on tackle which saw the heads of the two players collide. Hunt left the field for an HIA while referee X showed Kahui a red card and the former All Blacks spent the last five minutes of the match sidelined as the Force succumbed to a 61-10 loss.

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Having fronted the Sanzaar judicial committee via video conference on Tuesday evening, Kahui has faced no further sanction for the tackle. In a statement, the committee revealed that a yellow card was justified for the collision but that the red card threshold had not been reached.

The full statement reads:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the Player, a medical report on the opposition player involved, and having considered the submissions from his legal representative, Michael Tudori. The Judicial Committee found that the Player had not committed an act of foul play worthy of the red card threshold.”

“The Judicial Committee reviewed the case in accordance with Reg 17.16.1 of World Rugby’s regulations and the World Rugby Head Contact Process.”

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“The evidence and submissions on behalf of the Player, together with surrounding circumstances, satisfied the Committee that there was mitigation to lower the incident from Red Card to a Yellow Card. Whilst the incident is dangerous, the contact with the head was not intentional or highly reckless. Kahui was shown to be lowering himself for the tackle on the right-hand side of the opposing Player when a significant movement from the ball carrier meant that the late change in direction contributed to head contact.”

“For those reasons, the Committee was satisfied that there was reasonable mitigation and at least warranted a yellow card in the circumstances.”

With the judicial process out of the way, Kahui could now suit up against the team he made 60 appearances for from 2007 to 2013.

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Kahui, who starred for the All Blacks during the 2011 World Cup, played against the Chiefs in Perth last year during Super Rugby Trans-Tasman but hasn’t taken the field at Waikato Stadium – the hallowed site where the Chiefs won back to back titles in 2012 and 2013 – since April of 2013.

That could all change this weekend, however, if Kahui is named in the match-day 23 for a game the Force must win if they are to have any hope of playing in the quarter-finals in three weeks’ time.

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