Damian McKenzie has been handed a three-week suspension for a dangerous tackle, ending his Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season but keeping him in contention for the upcoming All Blacks Tests.
The Chiefs fullback was sent off during the 40-34 loss to the Reds last week for a high shoulder charge on halfback Tate McDermott.
The Sanzaar judiciary panel upheld the red card and suspended McKenzie until 19 June, ruling him out of the Chiefs’ remaining Super Rugby matches against the Rebels and Waratahs.
The punishment would have been six weeks but McKenzie’s early guilty plea and good disciplinary record earned him a discount.
Otherwise, McKenzie would have been out until 10 July, missing New Zealand’s one-off Test against Tonga and the first match of a two-Test series against Fiji.
The backline star has been in superb form in Super Rugby and is likely to add to his 27 Test caps when the All Blacks face the Pacific Islanders.