Banned Fekitoa out of France clash
DISCIPLINARY HEARING: Malakai Fekitoa is set to miss New Zealand's match against France in Paris on Saturday after being given a one-week ban on Tuesday for a dangerous tackle.
Fekitoa was cited after being sin-binned for a high tackle on Simon Zebo during the world champions' 21-9 win over Ireland in Dublin last Saturday.
Although shown a yellow card by South African referee Jaco Peyper, the centre was still able to score two of New Zealand's three tries as they gained revenge for a 29-40 defeat by Ireland - the Irish's first win over the All Blacks - in Chicago a fortnight earlier.
There were those who thought Fekitoa should have been sent off but at a disciplinary hearing before a three-man panel in London chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Derek Bevan (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), Fekitoa accepted he had committed an act of foul play, but argued that it would not have warranted a red card.
But the three-man committee, after viewing video evidence and listening to representations, issued a statement saying: "Fekitoa's actions would have warranted a red card, albeit that he had acted recklessly rather than intentionally."
Having concluded the offence fell within the low-end entry point of World Rugby's scale of sanctions, which normally carries a two-week ban, the committee decided to impose a one-week ban on account of Fekitoa's "immediate acknowledgement of wrongdoing, his previous clean disciplinary record and his good conduct at the hearing".
Fekitoa, who is free to resume playing on Monday, November 28, two days after the France match, does have the right of appeal.
Flank Sam Cane, was also cited for a head-high tackle on Robbie Henshaw that saw the centre carried off the field on a stretcher in the 11th minute and led to him being ruled out of Ireland's match at home to Australia this Saturday with concussion.
Unlike Fekitoa, Cane received no card at all from Peyper.
At the hearing, Cane did not accept that he had committed an act of foul play.
After viewing video footage of the incident, listening to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, the committee concluded that Cane’s actions had been accidental and that he had not committed any foul play.
However, Cane is unlikely to face France because of an ankle injury.