Tupou escapes suspension for Stormers tackle

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Taniela Tupou has escaped with a warning over a late tackle in last weekend's loss to the Stormers.

Tupou faced a SANZAAR judiciary hearing on Tuesday night over the tackle on Stormers winger Craig Barry in the ninth minute of their Sunday morning (AEDT) clash. 

He had been charged with contravening law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously', but was ultimately found guilty of breaking Law 9.11 - Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others, and the panel deemed his tackle fell short of the red card threshold required for a suspension.

Only one angle of the hit was shown on the broadcast, but judicial committee chairman Robert Stelzner SC said a review of all angles and consideration of a statement from Barry and the Stormers doctor helped the decision.

Taniela Tupou will face a SANZAAR hearing. Photo: Getty Images"Having conducted a detailed review of the citing commissioner’s report and all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, consisting of a written statement from the Player’s opponent, Craig Barry, and from the Stormers’ physician, oral evidence from the Player himself and the submissions from his legal representative, Mark Martin QC, the Judicial Committee concluded that the level of offending did not breach the Red Card threshold yet warranted a warning under the above rule," he said in a statement.

Stelzner said Tupou had failed to use his arms in the tackle, despite trying, that led to reckless contact.

"The Judicial Committee concluded that the Player, whilst attempting to use his arms, failed to properly grasp his opponent in the tackle, which resulted in the point of contact being between the Player’s right shoulder and his opponent’s upper chest area, causing the opponent to bounce off the Player.

"An inadequate attempt to grasp his opponent immediately before the point of impact resulted in the action being reckless as to the consequences thereof.

"This was in contravention of Law 9.11, and close to, but not crossing, the Red Card threshold.  As a result the Judicial Committee issued the Player with a warning." 

"The player is therefore free to play."

The Reds are on a bye this week, before a trip to Canberra to face the Brumbies on April 7.