February 26, 2018 / 1:43 AM / a month ago

Discipline an issue for Reds as Higginbotham banned

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Queensland Reds would be working hard on their discipline ahead of their Super Rugby clash with the ACT Brumbies in Brisbane on Friday, according to centre Samu Kerevi.

The Reds suffered a 45-19 loss to the Melbourne Rebels last Friday after they had captain Scott Higginbotham sent off for a shoulder charge after just nine minutes.

Lock Lukhan Tui was also given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Rebels scrumhalf Will Genia, but faces further scrutiny after governing body SANZAAR reviewed the incident and said it had met the red card threshold.

“It’s something (they) didn’t intentionally do but it hurt the team,” Wallabies centre Kerevi told reporters in Brisbane on Monday. “From now on, we’re trying to really address that ... to not be in that situation again.”

Kerevi, who took over the on-field captaincy from Higginbotham, said there was not a plan to be overly aggressive on the field, but they had to be physical to ensure they competed after a run of poor seasons.

“We just want to be aggressive as a team, we want to be physical,” said Kerevi. “Across the board in Super Rugby, every team’s physical.

“I guess there is a line you don’t want to cross... but it is rugby at the end of the day. It’s a physical sport.”

Higginbotham was earlier banned by SANZAAR for three weeks for the incident after it was reviewed by SANZAAR’s foul play committee.

“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 the opposing players was uninjured 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 Genia.

Tui was given a yellow card for the incident, which temporarily reduced the Reds to 13 men.

The Brisbane-based side host the 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 Amlan Chakraborty

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