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Super Rugby Pacific semi-final teams, Crusaders v Chiefs, Blues v Brumbies, Len Ikitau suspended


The Brumbies’ chances of beating the endemic Blues in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals suffered a setback with Test center Len Ikitau banned for his red card last week.

The club opted to fight the card before the SANZAAR Judicial Committee on Tuesday night, but the decision to uphold a ban was not communicated until after 4pm on Wednesday.

Ikitau was ejected for a hit on Hurricanes flyhalf Aidan Morgan in the Brumbies’ 35-25 win on Saturday.

Ikitau is banned for three weeks, but only two games because he chose to step in as a coach.

This means he will be available for the Wallabies’ opener against England on July 2. He is allowed to catch up on his banned rugby club match with Tuggeranong.

Len Ikitau of the Brumbies looks dejected as he walks off the pitch after being shown a red card during the Super Rugby Pacific Final match between the ACT Brumbies and the Hurricanes at GIO Stadium on June 04, 2022 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar said Ikitau was “broken”.

“That’s the way the game goes with high contact,” McKellar said. “We thought there were mitigating factors, the court panel didn’t, so unfortunately he misses the rest of our season.

“He is broken. very disappointed. He’s never had a yellow card in his career, so getting a red card and being left out of the two biggest games of the year is hard for him to accept.

“He now understands that his role is to help Ollie and the backs defensively as he always does.”

McKellar said Ikitau was “remarkable in offering his thoughts on the incident.

“We’re going to let him sleep on it, give him space and he knows he has to park this now and move on to what’s important next and that helps prepare us to win a semi-final and a grand final. In a few weeks, everything will be forgotten and it will be available for the Wallabies.

In more encouraging news for the Brumbies, Rob Valetini returns from injury at No.8 in what, other than Ikitau, is a full roster.

Paul Cully joins Brett McKay and Harry Jones in anticipating the semi-finals of the latest edition of The Roar Rugby podcast.

In his conclusion, Judiciary Committee Chairman Stephen Hardy ruled the following on the Ikitau map:

“After carrying out a detailed review of all available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Judiciary Committee upheld the red card in under law 9.13.

“With regard to the penalty, the Judiciary Committee found that the act of foul play merited an average entry point of 6 matches given the nature of the foul play involving contact with the head. Taking into account mitigating factors , including the Player’s remorse, his exemplary criminal record to date and his conduct at the hearing, the Legal Committee reduced the suspension to three matches.

“The player has requested permission to apply for the coaching intervention of the head contact process. Any player who has a citation or a red card confirmed by a disciplinary panel for foul play involving the contact process with the lead may request that the final game of his sanction be replaced with a training intervention that specifically addresses the technical tackle error/technical contact that caused or contributed to the foul play.

“The player has been cleared to request the intervention. This intervention will be overseen by the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Expert Review Panel – a panel of independent coaching experts – and is only available to first-time offenders.

“The player is therefore suspended for 3 weeks. The Judiciary Committee has requested further comments from the player regarding his potential playing schedule and reserves the right to adjust the date of the sanction upon receipt of information.

Semi-final teams

Friday 5:05 p.m. AEST – Crusaders vs. Chiefs

CROSSOVERS (1-15): George Bower, Codie Taylor, Oli Jager, Scott Barrett (c), Sam Whitelock, Pablo Matera, Tom Christie, Cullen Grace, Bryn Hall, Richie Mo’unga, Leicester Faninga’anuku, David Havili, Jack Goodhue, Sevu Reece, Will Jordan

RESERVATIONS: Brodie McAlister, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Zach Gallagher, Corey Kellow, Mitch Drummond, Braydon Ennor, George Bridge

COUNTERS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Angus Ta’avao, Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson, Pita Gus Sowakula, Brad Weber (c), Bryn Gatland, Etene Nani-Seturo, Quinn Tupaea, Alex Nankivell , Jonah Lowe, Josh Ioane

RESERVATIONS: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, George Dyer, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Sam Cane, Xavier Roe, Rameka Pohipi, Hunt Tiatia

Referee: Nic Berry.

Saturday 5:05 p.m. AEST – Blues v Brumbies

BLUES (1-15): To confirm

RESERVATIONS: To confirm

BRUMBIES (1-15): James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Caderyn Neville, Tom Hooper, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Andy Muirhead, Irae Simone, Ollie Sapsford, Tom Wright, Tom Banks.

RESERVATIONS: Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio, Sefo Kautai, Nick Frost, Luke Reimer, Jahrome Brown, Ryan Lonergan, Hudson Creighton




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