Friday 19 January 2018

Michael Hooper gets one week ban for Mike Brown challenge

Australia's Michael Hooper and England's Mike Brown clash
Australia's Michael Hooper and England's Mike Brown clash

Australia flanker Michael Hooper will miss the Wallabies' World Cup Pool A decider against Wales on Saturday due to suspension.

Hooper was cited for an act of foul play - charging into a ruck or maul without the use of arms or grasping the player (England full-back Mike Brown) - during last weekend's game at Twickenham.

World Rugby said in a statement that Hooper admitted the offence. He has been banned for one week.

The incident happened just before half-time but Hooper avoided any punishment apart from conceding a penalty.

Australia went on to win the game 33-13, a result that knocked England out of the tournament.

Hooper must now sit out the Wales encounter but he will be available for next week's quarter-final, when Australia are set to face Scotland or Japan if they win the group.

In a statement, World Rugby said: "The hearing (on Tuesday) related to a consideration of sanction only, given the admission of the act of foul play by the player.

"Hooper was suspended by independent judicial officer Alan Hudson (Canada) in accordance with the Rugby World Cup 2015 disciplinary process.

"With respect to the sanction, the judicial officer determined that the offence was low-end, which has an entry point of two weeks.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including his early admission, good conduct during the hearing and good character and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors, the player was suspended for a period of one week.

"In the context of the Rugby World Cup tournament, a week equates to one match. The suspension takes effect immediately, therefore Hooper is suspended for Australia's final Pool A match against Wales on October 10. He is free to resume playing for Australia's quarter-final."

Apart from Hooper, Australia could also be without full-back Israel Folau for the Wales Test.

Folau suffered an ankle injury during the England game. The 26-year-old did not train on Monday and Australia's coaching staff are monitoring him closely.

"He came off the field in the game with a bit of a sore ankle and didn't train yesterday. We're going to wait and see how he pulls up today," Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham told reporters.

"We are not even sure if he's going to train today."

Wing Rob Horne, meanwhile, is set to miss the Wales match due to a shoulder injury that forced him off early against England, with Drew Mitchell or Joe Tomane his likely deputy.

If Folau misses out, then Kurtley Beale would appear set to face Wales in the number 15 shirt.

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