UPDATE: Tomkinson suspended for Banks shoulder charge

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Highlanders winger Sio Tomkinson has been suspended for a high tackle on Brumbies fullback Tom Banks in Saturday's Canberra clash.

Tomkinson collected Banks high in the 44th minute of the match, appearing to make contact with his head.

The TMO reviewed the incident and referee Nic Berry deemed the contact to be "shoulder to shoulder", handing Tomkinson just a yellow card for the incident.

It was a moment that had punters scratching their heads after a 2019 season, and Rugby World Cup, in which any clear contact to the head was given a red card.

The SANZAAR judiciary on Sunday morning classified it as such, citing Tomkinson after "further review of the match footage...due to the player's shoulder making direct contact with thehead of his opponent".

Foul Play Review committee chairman Adam Casselden said in his ruling that the incident was considered a mid-range offence, with an entry level six-week suspension.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the citing under Law 9.13," it read.

"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 World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's clean judicial record and the fact the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was reticent to get into any "whinging" about referees post-match but said based on recent decisions, the tackle was a red in his mind.

"I thought it was a red card but I don't want to sit here and whinge about referees or anything like that," he said.

"if you're asking me as a rugby fan I thought from what we've seen previously I thought it was in that red card threshold but I'm not going to sit here and whinge about the opposition, I've heard enough of that."

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger was more circumspect about the call.

"It's a tough one, isn't it?," he said.

"If you referee it to the letter, it's contact with the head. I don't think there's any malice there, there was nowhere for him to go so it's one of those ones that happened in a split second so I don't think there was any chance of him pulling out."

The Brumbies head to New Zealand on Thursday week to face the Chiefs after suffering their first loss of 2020 last weekend.