Wallabies hooker Latu banned for six weeks

Wallabies hooker Latu banned for six weeks

Australia and New South Wales Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu has been suspended for six Super Rugby matches after being found guilty of dangerous play against Japan's Sunwolves last weekend, SANZAAR said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: 2018 Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship - Australia v New Zealand
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - 2018 Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship - Australia v New Zealand - ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia - August 18, 2018 Australia's Reece Hodge and Tolu Latu in action REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY: Australia and New South Wales Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu has been suspended for six Super Rugby matches after being found guilty of dangerous play against Japan's Sunwolves last weekend, SANZAAR said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred when Latu charged into a ruck at the end of the match in Tokyo on Saturday and resulted in Ed Quirk sustaining a knee ligament injury that will sideline the Sunwolves forward for eight to 10 weeks.

It was missed by the referee but was picked up by the Citing Commissioner, who adjudged it met the threshold for a red card offence.

"The act of foul play merited a top-end entry point of 10 weeks due to the vulnerability of the victim, the gravity of the offence and the extent of the injury caused to the victim," read Tuesday's SANZAAR judgement.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including (the) player's expressed remorse, the fact his most recent judicial offence was three years ago and the player's guilty plea at the first available opportunity, the foul play review committee reduced the suspension to six weeks."

Although Latu's last offence in Super Rugby was three years ago, the 12-cap hooker was shown a yellow card for shoving his New Zealand opposite number Codie Taylor in the face during the Bledisloe Cup test in Yokohama last October.

Latu's disciplinary lapses, combined with a frequent inability to find his jumpers at the lineout, are unlikely to help his cause when Wallabies coach Michael Cheika chooses his squad for this year's World Cup in Japan.

The 26-year-old, whose strengths lie in his ball carrying and aggressive tight play, will next be available when the Waratahs host South Africa's Sharks in Sydney on April 27.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: Reuters

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