I'm quite gutted
Hurricanes openside flank Ardie Savea, who has been suspended for four weeks following a judicial hearing, has apologised for his 'clumsy" tackle.
Savea was cited under law 10.4 (j) for a lifting tackle on Chiefs scrumhalf Augustine Pulu in the 78th minute of the Hurricanes's pre-season encounter with the Chiefs last Saturday. The Chiefs won 25-21.
Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton said the tackle was "clumsy", with elements of recklessness.
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.
Hampton said Savea was a young player with a clean disciplinary record.
"The player has acknowledged the tackle was poorly executed and I have considered his early admission of fault as being in his favour," Hampton said.
"I deem the tackle to be in the mid-range of seriousness. 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," he said.
Savea admitted it had been a dangerous tackle, but one done without malice.
"It was a turnover and he got the ball. I just went in a ball-and-all tackle and obviously lifted him up, I didn't mean to, and lost control in the air and it ended bad," the young flank said in an interview on allblacks.com.
"It was a dangerous tackle. I'm putting it down to bad technique and four weeks is what they [the judiciary] said and I've just got to live with it."
Savea is suspended from all forms of the game up to and including Saturday, March 16.
He is unavailable for the Hurricanes' matches against the Blues in Wellington this Saturday, the Reds in Brisbane on March 1, the Crusaders in Wellington on March 8, and the Highlanders in Dunedin on March 15.
Savea will be eligible to play from Sunday March 17.
"Obviously I'm quite gutted, but I kind of knew it was coming. It was a bad tackle looking through the video," Savea told the NZRU's website.
"I would like to apologise to Augustine again. It is what it is and I've got to face the consequences."