Super Rugby Pacific: Brumbies full-back Tom Banks escapes suspension for a high tackle

Dylan Coetzee

Brumbies full-back Tom Banks has avoided being suspended for a high tackle on Western Force wing Toni Pulu that had him red carded and needing facial surgery.

The 27-year-old went into the covering tackle on Pulu far too upright, resulting in a clash of heads when the Brumbies claimed a narrow win in a thriller in Perth last weekend.

Red card rescinded

A SANZAAR foul play review deemed the incident to have enough mitigating factors to rescind the red card and only issue a warning. Banks, however, will remain sidelined for at least a month after surgery on his fractured cheekbone.

He can count himself lucky as head knocks have been a point of discussion recently, with similar incidents copping bans.

Despite that, SANZAAR ruled in favour of Banks and saw the incident as more of a yellow card rather than a red in a statement released on Tuesday.

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from submissions from the Player, the Foul Play Review Committee dismissed the Red Card and instead issued a Warning,” Michael Heron from SANZAAR said.

“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee found the act of foul play did not breach the Red Card threshold due to mitigating factors. The Foul Play Review Committee found that initial contact was shoulder to shoulder, there was an effort to wrap in the tackle and the tackled player contributed to the contact with a sudden and late change in direction.

“The Foul Play Review Committee did believe that the offence was close to the Red Card threshold and as a result issued a Warning (the equivalent of a yellow card).”

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was delighted with the decision and showed frustration around the frequency of red cards in the modern game.

“Tom Banks doesn’t have a dirty bone in his body. Deliberate foul play? Throw red cards at them all the time. But for accidents, for god’s sake, we’re going to have accidents every week,” McKellar said.

“Banksy is sitting in hospital now with a facial fracture. I don’t think he deliberately went in to do that. I think it’s ridiculous.

“He’s five metres away from his line potentially trying to stop the ball. There’s a head-on-head collision. Toni changed direction. It’s crazy.”

READ MORE: Rassie Erasmus backs rival coach and England for Rugby World Cup success