All Blacks lock Scott Barrett has been banned for three weeks after a long judicial process following his red card in the first Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Perth.
Barrett pleaded guilty when he appeared before a judicial committee on Sunday but the tribunal, chaired by Australian lawyer Adam Casseldon, adjourned to seek further information before releasing its verdict yesterday.
Casseldon said the committee was presented with extensive evidence of Barrett’s intended playing schedule before imposing a sanction that rules him out of all rugby up to and including 1 September. That means Barrett should be available for the World Cup, which starts on 20 September in Japan.
Barrett became only the fourth All Black to be sent off in a Test in 114 years when he was dismissed by French referee Jerome Garces for a no-arms tackle on Wallabies captain Michael Hooper just before half-time in Saturday’s game, which the Wallabies won 47-26.
There was a mixed reaction to Garces’ decision, including from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who described the red card as “disappointing” despite admitting the referee was following World Rugby protocols regarding contact with the head of an opposing player.
“I love to play the game tough,” Cheika said. “It’s disappointing, for me, that a player gets sent off like that, but referees have been given guidelines.”
Garces, he said, “went through the guidelines exactly how he needed to and he made the decision that he was required to make.
“So I’m sort of torn, both sides. They went through the regulations and got what should have happened, but I feel for the opposition player as well.”
England coach Eddie Jones, an Australian, described the ruling as “ridiculous.”
Barrett will miss Saturday’s second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland but will be available for New Zealand’s last World Cup warm-up match, against Tonga on 7 September.