Nonu banned to complete nightmare start
February 21, 2011
Ma'a Nonu is set for more time in the naughty corner after his shoulder charge on Jimmy Cowan © Getty Images
Hurricanes centre Ma'a Nonu will miss next week's Super Rugby derby against the Crusaders through suspension following his red card in round one.
All Blacks midfielder Nonu could hardly have imagined a worse start to the new season as he received two yellows cards in an upset 14-9 loss to the Highlanders, the second being for a shoulder charge on Jimmy Cowan.
A two-hour SANZAR judicial hearing found him guilty of a dangerous charge on the Highlanders scrum-half and Nonu said he would accept the one-week ban, admitting it could have been longer.
After considering video evidence and hearing submissions from Nonu and his representatives, SANZAR judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC upheld the citing on the basis that Nonu did not use his arms in the tackle and the first impact was with his shoulder into Cowan's neck.
Hampton said he believed the tackle was at the lower end of the scale of seriousness, but mitigating factors included Nonu's acceptance of guilt, and a written submission from Cowan in support of Nonu.
"I thought I had a fair trial today," Nonu said. "I got one week, obviously that's a pretty fair outcome. It could have been worse."
He will miss the Hurricanes' match against Crusaders at Wellington on Saturday, which was to be his 100th Super rugby match for the franchise. Nonu is one of the players expected to come under pressure from emerging All Black and Crusaders centre Sonny Bill Williams for his place in the New Zealand team, so he will be desperate to get his campaign on track as soon as possible.
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