Slipper, Mitchell receive three week suspension
May 5, 2014
Slipper pleaded guilty to the charges of a dangerous tackle © Getty Images
Wallabies prop James Slipper has been suspended from Queensland's next two matches as the failing Reds search for a solution to their Super Rugby woes. Slipper was on Monday suspended for three weeks for his dangerous lifting tackle on Blues back-rower Peter Saili in their 44-14 loss in Auckland on Friday night.
Queensland, desperately looking to end their dire four-match losing streak, must now face the Crusaders and Melbourne Rebels without the in-form forward. With the Reds' next bye scheduled for round 15, 49-Test front-rower Slipper can make his return against the Highlanders on May 30 for one last shot at keeping his Wallabies No.1 jersey for next month's three-match series against France.
Slipper was lucky to receive just a yellow-card for the first-half incident at Eden Park, but he pleaded guilty after being cited post-match. SANZAR judicial officer Adam Casselden reduced a potential six-week sentence due to the 24-year-old's good record.
Ben Daley is now set to return to the starting pack in Sunday's home match against the red-hot Crusaders while the versatile Albert Anae is likely to move onto the bench. Slipper is one of five Reds aiming to keep their Wallabies starting positions despite their 3-7 start to the year.
Queensland skipper James Horwill admitted Australia's best Super franchises would dominate Test selections so the Reds quintet - including Will Genia, Quade Cooper and Rob Simmons - are under pressure. But Horwill, a Test captaincy contender with Genia and Cooper, is only focussed on fixing his state's problems.
"That [Wallabies] is secondary. I'm worried about trying to get the Reds winning," he said. "That's my sole focus. "I have the responsibility to try and help turn the team around. I spend days and nights sitting there thinking about things we can do differently. The stupidest and littlest things you might think could make a difference, like can we change the time of the weights session."
Highlanders hooker Brayden Mitchell was also awarded a three week suspension for a lifting tackle during the Highlanders loss to the Stormers. Mitchell was awarded a yellow card during the game but was later cited for the incident and due to to his good record received a reduced suspension.
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