New Zealand prop Angus Ta’avao will miss the third and deciding Test against Ireland after receiving a three-week suspension for a head- clash incident that resulted in his sending-off in the second Test.
Ta’avao was shown a red card after a sickening collision with ball-carrying outside centre Garry Ringrose in the first half of Saturday’s series-levelling 23-12 loss to the tourists in Dunedin.
Ringrose has been ruled out of Saturday’s Test in Wellington because of an injury suffered in the incident.
Referee Jaco Peyper initially deemed the collision accidental, before reviewing a replay and determining tighthead Ta’avao could have done more to lower his body position.
An independent disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night upheld the red- card decision and said the foul play merited a six-week ban, at the mid-range of World Rugby’s disciplinary scale for a late or dangerous tackle.
That suspension was halved on account of Ta’avao’s clean disciplinary record and “other mitigating factors”.
It can be reduced from three to two weeks if the player goes through World Rugby’s coaching intervention programme, which teaches safe on-field practices.
Ta’avao had been on the field for little more than five minutes, having entered the Test as a replacement for Ofa Tuungafasi, who had been shown a yellow card.
He is likely to be replaced in the match-day squad for Saturday’s third Test in Wellington by Nepo Laulala, a 40-cap veteran who has been recovering from a neck injury.
© Agence France-Presse
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