Qantas Wallabies forward, Scott Higginbotham, has this evening accepted a two week suspension on both counts after pleading guilty to two counts of striking All Blacks captain, Richie McCaw, with the knee and the head.
Higginbotham was cited twice under Law 10.4(a) Punching or Striking, with both incidents occurring in the 26th minute of Saturday night’s third and final Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane.
Duty Judicial Officer, Jannie Lubbe SC, assessed the case and having reviewed the incident, the reports by the referee and Citing Commissioner as well as a medical report from the All Blacks team doctor and submissions by the legal representatives of the Player, Mr Lubbe SC concluded:
1. Both incident are categorised as low entry level. The hitting with the knee was more of a bump than a hit. The head butt was reckless and not executed with much force. McCaw was not injured and play resumed.
2. The Player has an exemplary disciplinary record and at the age of 26 it was his first appearance before a Judiciary.
3. The Player pleaded guilty and placed on record that he and McCaw shook hands after the match and that there are no ill feelings.
As such Higginbotham has been suspended for two weeks on both counts from all forms of the game.
Mr Lubbe SC determined a sanction of two weeks on both counts to run concurrently, which was agreed upon by Higginbotham, to be appropriate.
To make the sanction effective Higginbotham will miss the next two Qantas Wallabies Test matches that will be played on 10 and 17 November.
Accordingly, Higginbotham is suspended from all forms of Rugby from 20 October up to and including 17 November.