Lachlan Swinton has been handed a four-week suspension for his high tackle on Sam Whitelock during Australia’s 24-22 defeat of the All Blacks last weekend. The flanker was red-carded by referee Nic Berry 34 minutes into his Test debut during the fourth and final Bledisloe Test in Brisbane.

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By that stage New Zealand had also been reduced to 14 men, with prop Ofa Tuungafasi dismissed on 22 minutes after a dangerous collision with Tom Wright.

The nature of the two red cards split opinion, with All Blacks greats Sir John Kirwan and Christian Cullen both calling for rugby to ditch the red card system.

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Tu’ungafasi will learn his fate when he appears before a SANZAAR Judicial Committee Hearing on Tuesday.

However SANZAAR have today confirmed that Swinton has received a four week suspension after pleading guilty to contravening Law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.

Swinton had his suspension reduced from six weeks to four, and the suspension will run until February 6, 2021.

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“The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee has accepted a guilty plea from Lachlan Swinton of Australia for contravening Law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously, when he made high contact with New Zealand #5 Sam Whitelock during the match between Australia and New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday 7 November 2020,” a SANZAAR statement read.

“Swinton has been suspended from all forms of the game for 4 weeks, up to and including Saturday 6 February 2021.

“The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Adam Casselden SC (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and Mike Mika assessed the case.

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“In his finding, Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Adam Casselden SC ruled the following:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Maryjane Crabtree, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.13.

“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level.

“However, taking into account mitigating factors including the fact the Player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 4 weeks. The Player was not entitled to a full 50% reduction due to the presence of two prior offences on his record.

The player is therefore suspended for 4 weeks, up to and including Saturday 6 February 2021.”

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