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Taione banned for six weeks
NZPA
April 8, 2008

Sharks player Epi Taione has been suspended for six weeks for a head butt on a Hurricanes player in a Super 14 rugby match on Saturday.

In another Sanzar judiciary decision announced today, Lions player Ross Geldenhuys was cleared of a charge of striking a Highlanders player with his knee on Friday.

Both players appeared before Sanzar judicial officer Nicholas Davidson QC in separate hearings in Christchurch yesterday.

Taione had been shown the red card by match referee Paul Marks for intentionally using his head to strike Hurricanes player Jeremy Thrush during a maul.

Taione, represented by counsel Richard McIlraith and Sharks coach Dick Muir, told the hearing he was clearing out Thrush who was impeding the rolling maul.

It was submitted his action was legitimate but too high in its execution.

Taione said he had no intention of striking Thrush on, and with, the head. As such, it was more properly categorised as a reckless act.

Davidson decided Taione's action was "grossly reckless" and suspended the player until May 19.

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