Lions Flanker Michael Rhodes has been banned for 6 weeks by a SANZAR judiciary for a dangerous tackle on Highlanders winger Siale Piutau.
The incident occurred in the 59th minute of the game played this past weekend which the Lions won 26 – 22 courtesy of a last gasp Wikus van Heerden try
Pitau, who was also cited and found guilty of foul play for punching, escaped any punishment as the judicial officer Nick Davidson ruled he responded to “exceptional circumstances”, and that to sanction him “would not reflect the effect on Piutau of the incident and a reaction that was the product of shock rather than retaliatory intent”.
Davidson found that Rhodes had flipped Piutau over during the incident ”placing his head and neck at serious risk of injury”.
Davidson banned Rhodes from all Rugby until July 31st, meaning that the up and coming Lions tearaway flanker will miss the rest of the Lions Super Rugby campaign as well as the Golden Lions first 3 fixtures of the 2011 Currie Cup campaign.
The Lions have not indicated whether they will appeal the sentence or not.
Earlier this month Hurricanes halfback Tyson Keats was suspended for four weeks for a similar tackle on Blues player Alby Mathewson.