All Black Barrett suspended three weeks

Rugby

All Blacks lock Scott Barrett will miss this week’s Bledisloe Cup decider but will be clear for the World Cup after copping a three-week ban from the SANZAAR judiciary.

Barrett pleaded guilty to a dangerous tackle on Wallabies captain Michael Hooper which earned him a red card just before halftime of Saturday’s Test in Perth, won 47-26 by the hosts.

The foul play review committee said “a player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without attempting to grasp the player” and suspended Barrett until September 1.

Chairman Adam Casselden said after reviewing all evidence of Barrett’s shoulder to the face of Hooper, a “mid-range” six week ban was appropriate.

That length was halved once Barrett’s exemplary record, his remorse and guilty plea were factored in.

Barrett, a near certainty for New Zealand’s squad to defend the World Cup in Japan, will miss a couple of potential provincial fixtures but will return in time for a pre-tournament Test against Tonga in Hamilton on September 7.

The absence of 25-year-old Barrett and the injured Brodie Retallick means New Zealand will field a fourth-choice lock in Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup Test.

Patrick Tuipolutu is favoured to be promoted to pack down alongside Sam Whitelock at Eden Park, where New Zealand need to win to retain the silverware.

The merits of Barrett’s sending off has been hotly debated, with England coach Eddie Jones vocal in his belief the player and New Zealand were hard done by.

Former Wallabies mentor Jones said he feared a referee brandishing an unwarranted red card could ruin a big game at the World Cup.

Veteran Brumbies forwards coach Laurie Fisher urged World Rugby to consider ways of preserving the contest when a player is sent off, proposing a law change whereby the offender can be replaced after 10 minutes.

“Just a thought. He gets sanctioned but the contest survives,” Fisher tweeted.

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