SYDNEY, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Queensland Reds’ terrible start to the season got worse on Monday with captain Scott Higginbotham suspended for three weeks after he was sent off against the Melbourne Rebels, with lock Lukhan Tui also set to face the judiciary.
Higginbotham was sent off for a dangerous shoulder charge on Matt Phillip after just nine minutes of the game, which the Rebels won 45-19 in Melbourne last Friday.
The red card was reviewed by SANZAAR’s foul play committee, who reviewed all of the television footage and took additional statements from Higginbotham and his legal representative.
“This was an objectively dangerous tackle,” Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton said in a statement on Monday.
“The player is therefore suspended for three weeks, up to and including the Saturday 17 March 2018.”
The committee said they had considered an entry point of six weeks, but took into account Higginbotham’s previous record, the fact that Phillip was uninjured from the incident and the Reds’ captain’s early guilty plea.
The Reds could face further issues with Tui facing the disciplinary panel on Tuesday after a review of his yellow card for a dangerous lifting tackle on Rebels’ scrumhalf Will Genia.
Tui was only given a yellow card for the incident, which temporarily reduced the Reds to 13 men, but SANZAAR said after review it had met the standards for a red card offence.
The Brisbane-based side host the ACT Brumbies on Friday and South Africa’s Bulls on March 10 before travelling to Argentina to face the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on March 17. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by xxxxxxx)