Cooper handed one-week suspension
July 16, 2012
The Reds' Quade Cooper tackles the Waratahs' Berrick Barnes during their clash in Brisbane © PA Photos
Reds fly-half Quade Cooper has been found guilty of a dangerous tackle on the Waratahs' Berrick Barnes and has been handed a one-week suspension that rules him out of his side's Super Rugby play-off clash with the Sharks next weekend.
Cooper was sin-binned in the second half of his side's 32-16 win for the challenge on his Wallabies team-mate and referee Steve Walsh also chose to refer the incident to the citing commissioner by issuing a white card.
Upon further review of the match footage, the citing commissioner deemed the incident had "met the red card threshold for foul play" and Cooper was called to the judiciary on Monday.
Judicial officer Paul Tully commented: "Whilst in the process of a tackle on Berrick Barnes, there was principle contact with the chest but also with the neck such as to make the tackle dangerous in contravention of Law 10.4 (e).
"Mr Cooper's record is unblemished save for a two-week suspension in 2010. He has played Super Rugby for the past six years as well as a significant number of Test Matches for Australia during this time.
"It is also a matter of significance that the SANZAR Rules allow consideration be given to the importance of games to be played during the Super Rugby Finals Series and as such, this has been taken into account as a mitigating circumstance. It follows that Quade Cooper is suspended from all forms of Rugby for one week up to and including the 21st of July 2012."
The Brumbies' shock defeat to the Blues on Saturday opened the door for the Reds to usurp them at the top of the conference table and their five-tries-to-two triumph catapulted them past their rivals. Their opponents in the first round of the play-off will be decided by the remaining games in the last round of the regular season.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is confident his resurgent side can cope with the loss of Cooper. ''There's no doubt that Quade makes a difference for us, [but] Quade's played in three games and two half-games and we've won 11 and we're in the finals, so we've had to do a lot of it without Quade anyway,'' he said.
''We had a great win against the Chiefs here [in round 12] and Quade wasn't playing - Benny Lucas was at 10. So we've had to manufacture and work out our plans B, C and D. We got to [plan] F at one point in the 10 position. It's something you deal with as coach and as a playing group.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Manu Tuilagi, Cockerill's psychological warfare and Saracens' brute strength - it is the Monday Maul