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Sekope Kepu handed lengthy ban as Pablo Matera avoids suspension

Mon, 30/05/2022, 11:12 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Moana Pasifika hosted the Brumbies in the final round of Super Rugby Pacific.

Moana Pasifika captain Sekope Kepu has been handed a three-match ban after he was red-carded during their win over the Brumbies.

However, it's better fortunes for Crusaders enforcer Pablo Matera, who has avoided citing after his ugly cleanout on Jordan Petaia.

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Kepu, who was in his 150th Super Rugby game, was sent off in the first ten minutes for a nasty tackle on Andy Muirhead.

"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 Red Card under Law 9.13," Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Michael Heron QC ruled.

"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 and/or neck must start at a mid-range level. T

"Taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's extensive playing career, remorse, and his acceptance of foul play, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks.

"The player is therefore suspended for 3 weeks, up to and including 25 June 2022.”

The hosts managed to recover from the loss of their captain to stun the Brumbies 32-20, securing just the second win in franchise history.

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Meanwhile, Matera will be free to play in Friday's quarter-final against the Queensland Reds after his cleanout avoided any sanctioning.

The former Pumas captain was yellow carded as he picked Petaia up in a cleanout, releasing him over the horizontal as the Wallaby landed on his neck and back.

It drew similarities to Sam Gilbert's red card tackle on Michael Hooper, which saw the flyhalf banned for five weeks, with Scott Robertson defending his backrower after the game.

"He (Matera) tried to stop and you knew when he got to that point, he didn't go through with it which was probably a saviour for him,'' Robertson said.

"It is taken out of his hands, now, in a lot of ways. That moment. He is in such a rich vein of form, and he has been so good for us. Hopefully that's just it, it has just happened on the field.''

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