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Wallabies forward Salakaia-Loto banned after pleading guilty to red card shocker

By Ian Cameron
Wallabies flanker Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Photo by Dan Mullan / Getty Images)

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Hulking Wallabies forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has pleaded guilty to a dangerous tackle for his clobbering hit on Argentina’s Santiago Grondona on the weekend.

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The hit was maybe the most obvious red-card hit in recent weeks and the big lock was given his marching orders. Referee Angus Gardner had already doled out two first-half yellow cards for high shot entries into the ruck and didn’t hesitate to give Salakaia-Loto a red.

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A SANZAAR statement reads: “The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee has accepted a guilty plea from Lukhan Salakaia-Loto of Australia for contravening Law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously, when he made high contact with Argentina’s #6 Santiago Grondona during the match between Australia and Argentina at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 5 December 2020.”

Salakaia-Loto has been suspended from all forms of the game for 4 weeks, up to and including Friday 26 February 2021.

In his official 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.

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“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 a prior offence on his record.

“The player is therefore suspended for 4 weeks, up to and including Friday 26 February 2021.”

Salakaia-Loto received little sympathy from fans for the hit.

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Wallabies forward Salakaia-Loto banned after pleading guilty to red card shocker

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