Baker speared for six weeks

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 07:05
Large kurt baker highlanders v re

Highlanders wing Kurt Baker has been handed the biggest ban of the Super Rugby season - a six-week suspension for a spear tackle.

Highlanders wing Kurt Baker has been handed the biggest ban of the Super Rugby season - a six-week suspension for a spear tackle.

Baker was slapped with the suspension for his tackle on Rebels scrumhalf Nick Stirzaker during the Highlanders' 33-30 win on Dunedin last Friday.

The 25-year-old Baker, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist with New Zealand's Sevens team, drove Stirzaker away from a ruck, before lifting him and dumping him into the ground.

"I considered that the potential for harm was significant as the tackled player was lifted high off the ground and tipped quickly so that his neck made contact with the ground," SANZAR's judicial officer Nicholas Davidson said.

"The tackler has the responsibility not to place the tackled player at such risk and in this case, the player was placed in a very vulnerable position and was fortunate to not be injured."

Governing body SANZAR has in recent years doled out heavy punishments to try to rid Super Rugby of lifting tackles, also known as tip or spear tackles, that often have players land forcefully on their heads.

The dangers of the tackle were starkly illustrated in Australian Rugby League two weeks ago when Newcastle Knights forward Alex Mackinnon was left with a broken neck after being lifted and dumped in a three-man tackle.

The SANZAR judicial officer, Davidson, accepted a guilty plea from Baker for contravening Law 10.4 (j): Lifting Tackle.

Baker has been suspended from all forms of the game for six weeks, up to and including May 16.

The incident occurred in the 12th minute of the match between the Highlanders and Rebels in Dunedin.

Davidson assessed the case and in his finding Davidson ruled the following: "After reviewing the video footage and hearing from the player and his representatives, including counsel Aaron Lloyd, and obtaining their views of the incident, I proceeded on the basis required of a judicial officer that breach was established.

"The footage showed the player driving the Rebels player away from the breakdown before lifting and tipping him rapidly to the ground. I considered that the potential for harm was significant as the tackled player was lifted high off the ground and tipped quickly so that despite the Rebels' player attempt to break his fall with his arm, his neck made contact with the ground.

"The tackler has the responsibility not to place the tackled player at such risk and in this case, the player was placed in a very vulnerable position and was fortunate to not be injured.

"The incident was found to have an entry point in the mid-range, which starts at eight weeks. I then added two weeks as a deterrent for this type of tackle as it has been widely acknowledged that this type of action can not be tolerated in the game due to the risk to players.

"This was acknowledged by the player and by Highlanders management.

"Based on acceptance of the indicated sanction, and the player's excellent disciplinary and playing record, a discount was given to bring the suspension to six weeks. The player is suspended up to and including Friday May 16."

Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (j) - Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

 

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10