Super Rugby judicial ruling
Ardie Savea suspended for four weeks
February 19, 2013
New Zealand's Ardie Savea dives under a tackle to score, HSBC Sevens World Series, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong, March 25, 2012
Ardie Savea has been a regular for New Zealand in the Sevens World Series. © Getty Images

Hurricanes openside flanker Ardie Savea has been suspended for four weeks after being cited for a dangerous tackle in last Saturday's Super Rugby warm-up match against the Chiefs. He will miss the Hurricanes' early season matches against the Blues, Queensland Reds, Crusaders and Highlanders.

The 19-year-old Savea faced a hearing with judicial officer Nigel Hampton via video-conference on Tuesday over a lifting tackle on Chiefs replacement halfback Augustine Pulu. Hampton said the tackle, in the 78th minute of the match won 25-21 by the Chiefs, was clumsy with elements of recklessness.

Hampton said Savea's poor technique contributed to the dangerous nature of the tackle as he lost control, posing potential risk of injury to Pulu's neck or head. He added that Savea was a young player with a clean disciplinary record, and had acknowledged the tackle was poorly executed.

"I deem the tackle to be in the mid-range of seriousness," Hampton said. "Taking into account all the mitigating factors, and this young man's impressive character and conduct through this process, I have decided a sanction of no less than four weeks is appropriate."

Savea accepted the tackle had been dangerous, but said it had been conducted without malice.

"It was a turnover and he got the ball, and I just went in a ball-and-all tackle and obviously lifted him up," Savea said.

"I didn't mean to, and lost control in the air and it ended bad. It was a dangerous tackle. I'm putting it down to bad technique, and four weeks is what [the judiciary] said and I've just got to live with it."

The ban is the first blip in Savea's burgeoning career.

Having shone in Gordon Tietjens' New Zealand Sevens sides, he was a standout for Wellington in the 2012 ITM Cup.

"Obviously I'm quite gutted but I kind of knew it was coming; it was a bad tackle looking through the video," Savea said. "I would like to apologise to Augustine again. It is what it is and I've got to face the consequences."

Savea will be eligible to play from March 17, although the Hurricanes have a bye on March 24. Their next game is against the Southern Kings in Wellington on March 30.

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