Super Rugby Pacific: Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea cops one-match ban for throat-slitting gesture

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea will miss his team's Super Rugby Pacific fixture against the Blues on Saturday, after he was suspended for one week by a SANZAAR judiciary for his throat-slitting gesture against Melbourne Rebels.

The All Blacks star became involved in a scuffle with opposition players and was yellow-carded just before halftime at Melbourne, but then compounded his fate with an inappropriate action towards Rebels halfback Ryan Louwrens.

Although Savea was allowed back on the field after serving his 10-minute stand-down and he later apologised for his actions, but the incident was deemed worthy of a red card by the SANZAAR foul play review committee and referred to the judiciary for further consideration.

However, at the hearing, judicial committee chairman Nigel Hampton KC said Savea's throat-slitting gesture didn't reach the threshold of a red card, but he was close to it.

"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 judicial committee found the foul play did not breach the red card threshold," Hampton said in a statement.

"With respect to sanction, the judicial committee deemed the act of foul play merited a warning as it was close to, but did not breach the red card threshold."

Instead, the committee agreed Savea's actions only warranted a yellow card, and having already received an earlier one in game, a decision on further punishment needed to be made.

"Due to the nature of the player's persistent offending, with both the yellow card and the warning being issued for unsportsmanlike play, that an appropriate sanction for the player would be a suspension of one week," Hampton said.

"That was accepted by the player, and the player is therefore suspended for one week, up to and including Saturday 11 March 2023."

The Wellington-based franchise have also lost the services of prop Tevita Mafileo for three games, after he was red-carded for a dangerous cleanout of Rebels No.8 Richard Hardwick.

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