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Sunwolves star Semisi Masirewa handed Super Rugby ban

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Semisi Masirewa. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images for Sunwolves)

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Sunwolves wing Semisi Masirewa has pleaded guilty at a SANZAAR judicial hearing following his sending off during his side’s 32-26 loss to the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last weekend.


Masirewa received two yellow cards in which he is alleged to have contravened Law 9.7(a) Intentionally Offending, and Law 9.13 Dangerous Tackling.

The first yellow card came 36th minute, after he was penalised for cynical play at the breakdown, while the second came just four minutes after his return to the field as a result of a high tackle on Jock Campbell.

His second yellow yielded a red card from referee Angus Gardner, as per competition rules.

Consequently, Masirewa has been suspended from all forms of the game for 1 week, up to and including May 12.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Terry Willis (Chairman), Eroni Clarke and Stefan Terblanche assessed the case.

In his finding, Willis 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, Maryjane Crabtree, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the red card, finding both incidents met the yellow card threshold.”

“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed that a one-week sanction was appropriate due to the fact the player had a previous period of suspension for dangerous tackling in the prior year.

“As a result of the player’s persistent offending, it was held that a one-week sanction was in line with the guidance of World Rugby Regulation 17, Appendix 4.

“The player is therefore suspended for one week, up to and including 12 May 2019.”


Masirewa’s yellow and red cards were two of six cards that were brandished by Gardner in an ugly encounter in the Queensland capital, with teammates Masataka Mikami, Rahboni Warren Vosayaco and Yu Tamura  also spending time in the sin bin, while Reds prop Harry Hockings was sent off for striking a player in the head with his boot.

That prompted Sunwolves head coach Tony Brown to take aim at Gardner’s officiating, suggesting the pressure of performing well in a World Cup year got to the 2018 World Rugby Referee of the Year.

“There’s World Cup spots coming up; they’re all wanting to do well,” Brown said of the pressure on officials.

“It was one of the first times I’ve seen Angus Gardner under pressure in a game of rugby and he didn’t handle it well.

“I think he’ll look back at that game and hopefully learn from it and be better, no different from any rugby player.”

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