Australia’s Darcy Swain will miss three Tests and the Australia A tour of Japan after being banned until November 6 by the SANZAAR judiciary panel.
Swain received what was called a six week suspension for his cleanout that left New Zealand’s Quinn Tupaea with a serious knee injury in last week’s Bledisloe Cup match in Melbourne.
Tupaea suffered a ruptured medial cruciate ligament (MCL) and a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his left knee after Swain entered a ruck and made contact with the All Black’s leg.
Swain received a yellow card from French referee Mathieu Raynal but was later cited. It was his second ban of the season after a red card in the opening Test against England in Perth.
The ban means he will miss Saturday’s match against the Kiwis and Tests against Scotland at Murrayfield on October 30 and France in Paris on November 6.
On Wednesday he was named on the Australia A team but will also miss that.
He can, however, play three matches on the Spring Tour, against Italy, Ireland and Wales.
Swain was found guilty of contravening Law 9.11 – ” Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others”
In its findings, the Judicial Committee chair, Andre Oosthuizen SC ruled:
“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, having heard from the player and from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Judicial Committee upheld the Citing and deemed the incident meet the red card threshold for Law 9.11.”
“With respect to sanction the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six (6) weeks. Through the actions by the player such as position, control, and player movements they found the incident was not intentional, however, it was highly reckless.”
The All Blacks were angry with the challenge and Ian Foster said they had a “big issue” with it.
“We’ve got a player who’s probably out for nine months and you’re not allowed to target legs on the side at cleanout past the ball,” said Foster. “The rules are pretty clear.”
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie tried to argue the Swain deserve his yellow card.
“It was certainly nothing intentional,” Rennie said. “Ironically, he got neck-rolled prior to him cleaning out, but that wasn’t picked up.”
Writing in The Roar, Will Genia said he felt it was clearly intentional and predicted a two-week suspension for Swain.
The Wallabies will name their team for the second on Thursday with Cadeyrn Neville taking a spot in the second row to replace Swain.
Several other changes are tipped with Rob Leota’s injury also forcing a rethink in the backrow.
The Wallabies have no issue with Raynal officiating their rematch with the All Blacks even as they still fume from late decisions in their opening Bledisloe Cup defeat.
Raynal has been appointed as an assistant for Saturday’s Rugby Championship decider at Auckland’s Eden Park, with Irishman Andrew Brace in the middle.
Wallabies pair Jake Gordon and Jed Holloway said the side was still smarting from the manner of the 39-37 defeat, which hinged on Reynal’s timewasting call with less than two minutes remaining.
Asked whether the best response was to move on from the episode or use the pain as preparation for the trip to New Zealand, Gordon was emphatic.
“We need to channel that frustration,” he said.
“It’s pretty clear that we’re all bitterly disappointed for how the result finished. We’ve got to channel it in the right way.
“We really need to control what we can there. It doesn’t really matter that (Raynal is) going to be a touchy. If we play well for the 80 minutes, I’m sure we’ll get a good result.”
Motivation is not in short supply for Dave Rennie’s side as they set out to end a 36-year Eden Park drought against the All Blacks.
Holloway will suit up for his first Test as a Wallaby at New Zealand’s House of Pain, grateful for a first hit-out against the Kiwis last week.
“I was full of nerves so it’s good to get that out of the way,” he said.
“I can’t wait to go over there and to be a part of it and hopefully have a huge impact on the game as well. Collectively as a team we can’t wait. We’re chewing at the bit to get over there.”
Rugby – The Roar