Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Tuqiri suspended for five matches for 'spear tackle'

AP , AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Australia winger Lote Tuqiri was found guilty yesterday of a dangerous tackle on All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and was suspended until Nov. 2.

Tuqiri was cited by match commissioner Willem Venter for a spear tackle on McCaw in Australia's 34-27 Tri-Nations rugby loss to New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

He faced a SANZAR judicial hearing on Sunday in Auckland.

"After careful consideration of all the evidence, including clear video evidence of the incident, and submissions made on behalf of the player, the committee found the tackle was dangerous and placed the tackled player in a vulnerable position," the judicial committee said in its official report.

The suspension covers five matches, but only one Test match -- a Sept. 9 Tri-Nations showdown against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Tuqiri, a dual rugby union and rugby league international, will not be available for New South Wales in Australia's new provincial rugby championship and will miss a midweek match on Australia's European tour at the end of the year.

South African Peter Ingwersen chaired the committee which comprised Chris Morris and Ash Edwards. Tuqiri was represented by Australian team manager Phil Thomson and legal representative Tony Dempsey.

Tuqiri was not penalized or cautioned during the match, but video evidence showed him lifting McCaw and driving him head-first into the ground.

Tuqiri said he wrote to McCaw to apologize for the tackle, but was disappointed with the ban.

"There was no malice in it," he said. "I was trying to drive him towards the other line. His upper body lost control of where he was."

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