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SANZAAR statement: Savea banned following throat-slitting gesture

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images)

All Blacks back-rower Ardie Savea has copped a ban following his throat-slitting gesture towards a Rebels player during last weekend’s Super Rugby win by the Hurricanes in Melbourne. The Hurricanes skipper was yellow-carded for his involvement in a first-half scuffle and he apologised for his subsequent gesture both on live TV and in person post-game with the Rebels player he had targetted.

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However, despite that post-game acknowledgment, Savea was still cited for the incident and has now paid a disciplinary price, his one-game ban seeing him miss this coming weekend’s home match for the Hurricanes versus the Blues.

A statement read: “A SANZAAR judicial committee hearing has found Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes in breach of SANZAAR disciplinary rule 6.1. Savea received a yellow card, for an offence against law 9.27 in the 40th minute of the match between the Rebels and Hurricanes at AAMI Park on March 3.

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“Following the match, Savea was cited for a separate incident occurring immediately after the first offence – again under law 9.27: A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.

“The SANZAAR judicial committee of Nigel Hampton KC (chair), Mike Mika and David Croft assessed the citing case and in his finding, judicial committee chairman Hampton ruled the following: Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the judicial committee found the foul play did not breach the red card threshold.

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“With respect to sanction the judicial committee deemed the act of foul play merited a warning as it was close to but did not breach the red card threshold. Savea was issued with a warning from the judicial committee with regard to this incident. As a result of this, that meant that he received a yellow card and a warning from the same match.

“SANZAAR disciplinary rule 6.1 states: If a player has received two warnings or a combination of a warning and a yellow card during a match, he shall be treated for disciplinary purposes as if he had been sent off. Therefore, Ardie Savea was required to reappear before the SANZAAR foul play review committee as a result of his persistent offending.

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“In order to expedite and preserve the proper judicial process and with the agreement of all parties, the same committee members reconvened to sit as a foul play review committee and review the breach of SANZAAR disciplinary rule 6.1.

“In his finding, Hampton ruled: The foul play review committee conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence and oral submissions from Savea’s legal representative.

“With respect to sanction the foul play review committee ruled after considering a number of factors, including the guidance of World Rugby regulation 17 appendix 4, and due to the nature of the player’s persistent offending with both the yellow card and the warning being issued for unsportsmanlike play, that an appropriate sanction for the player would be a suspension of one week. That was accepted by the player he is therefore suspended up to and including Saturday, March 11.”

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