Higginbotham handed suspension

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Scott Higginbotham will be sidelined until at least round six, suspended for three weeks after being shown a red card for a high shoulder charge in the Reds' loss to the Rebels.

Higginbotham was shown a red card for his tackle on Matt Philip in the 10th minute of Queensland's clash with Melbourne, derailing his team's Super Rugby opener in the process.

While debate has raged as to whether Higginbotham deserved to see red, the decision was seemingly a straightforward one for the SANZAAR panel after Higginbotham pleaded guilty.

The Reds skipper has been suspended from all forms of rugby up until and including Saturday March 17.Higginbotham has been suspended for three weeks. Photo: Getty ImagesThat puts him out of the equation until round six, when the Reds take on the Stormers in Cape Town on the second week of their Argentina-South Africa tour.

The suspension could have been far worse, with the panel deeming it worthy of six weeks prior to taking Higginbotham's good record through his career into consideration, along with the lack of injury caused to Philip.

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the Players direct contact by the Player's shoulder to his opponents head," a SANZAAR spokesman said in a statement.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's good record over a long career, the lack of injury to the victim and his guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

Meanwhile, Lukhan Tui will learn his fate at a hearing on Tuesday night after he was cited for a tip tackle on Rebels halfback Will Genia.