Blues loose forward Steven Luatua has been suspended for three weeks for his tip tackle on Brodie Retallick his team's 34-41 loss to the Chiefs on Saturday.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Mike Heron has accepted a guilty plea from Luatua for contravening Law 10.4 (j) “Lifting a Player from the ground and either dropping or driving that Player's head and/or upper body into the ground”
Luatua was cited after he tackled Chiefs player Brodie Retallick so that the player's upper body came into contact with the ground while his legs were still in the air in the 33rd minute of the match between the Blues and Chiefs at North Harbour Stadium on 2nd June.
In his finding, Mike Heron ruled the following,"After review of all of the relevant material and following the Duty JO process through a telephone call with the player and his counsel, Aaron Lloyd, an indication of penalty of three weeks' suspension was given.
"After taking time to consider the indication, the player accepted the suspension. Accordingly, Steven Luatua is suspended from all forms of the game for the three weeks to and including Saturday 23 June 2012.
"The tackle was found to have been mid range and therefore has an entry point of six weeks. With no aggravating factors, this was reduced by three weeks due to the early guilty plea, no relevant previous issues on the player's record and the remorse shown by the player for committing the offence. "
Due to Super Rugby taking a break between now and the 29th of June Luatua won't miss any Super Rugby matches and was not named in either of the squads for the North vs South match next week.
The Blues have a bye in the week after the June Internationals break so their next match is on the 7th of July against the Western Force in Auckland so Luatua is free to play the Force in that match.