Sam Gilbert will not be playing Super Rugby Pacific again this year after he was banned for five matches for an illegal cleanout on Waratahs back-row Michael Hooper.
Gilbert received a red card during his team’s 32-20 loss to the Sydneysiders in Dunedin on Sunday after dangerously tipping the Australia skipper on his head.
Hooper urged lengthy ban
Hooper, who was in his first game back after a concussion, said he expected Gilbert, who played at fly-half in that match, to receive a lengthy suspension after the incident.
“I don’t wish that on anyone,” Hooper said after the game.
“These things happen in this game but I was disappointed that it happened to me. He [Gilbert] should miss some weeks I think.”
SANZAAR has agreed with Hooper’s view and suspended Gilbert for five matches after deeming the incident as a ‘mid-range’ offence.
“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 Foul Play Review Committee upheld the red card under Law 9.18,” said Foul Play Review Committee chairman Michael Heron in his ruling.
“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 10 weeks due to a combination of features including the degree of recklessness exhibited and the danger posed to the tackled player.
“Taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s clean judicial record, his acceptance of foul play, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to five weeks.
“The player is therefore suspended for five weeks, up to and including 25 June 2022.”
Gilbert usually plays on the wing but has impressed since switching to fly-half and shone in the Highlanders’ 61-10 victory over the Western Force in Round 13.