Connacht’s Abraham Papali’i has been banned for five weeks for a dangerous tackle against Zebre that left a player needing medical attention, the PRO14 have confirmed.

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Papali’i (6’4, 115kg) was shown a red card during Connacht’s game with Zebre Rugby Club last weekend at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma by referee Dan Jones (WRU) under Law 9.13 – A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. “Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.”

Replacement Papali’i hit Zebre and Italian centre Tommaso Boni with a head to head contact in the 56 minute of the game. Boni was left prone on the ground following the impact and was treated on the pitch by medics.

A PRO14 statement reads: “The Player faced a Disciplinary panel consisting Charles Cuthbert (Chair), Nigel Williams and Declan Goodwin (all Wales). The Panel concluded that the incident warranted a red card and was deemed a mid-range offence, which carries a six-week suspension.”

“The Player’s co-operation throughout the process and remorse shown warranted a one-week reduction of the suspension, bringing his ban to five weeks. The Player will be free to play from midnight on Monday, December 28 2020.”

“The Player was reminded of his right to appeal.”

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This was the player’s first red card for Connacht, with Papali’i getting a red card on debut for Connacht in August. The former Bay of Plenty player was carded 25 minutes into an Irish interprovincial match with Munster and “was reminded to be mindful of high tackles going forward.”

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