Darcy Swain, suspension, ban, Quinn Tupaea, Wallabies, Bledisloe Cup, New Zealand, latest, updates

Darcy Swain of the Wallabies Picture: Getty Images
Darcy Swain of the Wallabies Picture: Getty Images

Wallabies lock Darcy Swain faces a lengthy ban unless he can successfully overturn his citing for a “reckless and dangerous” effort at a breakdown late in the first half of Bledisloe I in Melbourne last week.

Swain, who was also red carded for a headbutt in the first Test of the season against England, faces a SANZAAR judicial hearing on Wednesday.

Given Swain has not accepted the early guilty plea, it is likely he will challenge the ruling.

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The 25-year-old was shown a yellow card for the incident, which left All Blacks replacement back Quinn Tupaea with a season-ending MCL injury.

After the Test, All Blacks coach Ian Foster said he had a “big issue” with Swain’s cleanout, with initial medical reports suspecting that Tupaea had suffered an ACL injury that would have kept him out for an estimated nine months.

“We’ve got a player who’s probably out for nine months and you’re not allowed to target legs on the side at clean-out past the ball,” Foster said in his post-match press conference last Thursday.

“The rules are pretty clear.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, on first viewing at least, disagreed the incident was a yellow card.

“I’m not convinced about Darcy Swain’s (yellow card),” Rennie said.

“It was certainly nothing intentional; ironically, he got neck-rolled prior to him cleaning out but that wasn’t picked up.”

The game’s most capped referee Nigel Owens believed the incident was worthy of a red card, but added it was important referees did not officiate on the outcome of incidents.

“Forgot the outcome of this, it is a careless clear-out and it could warrant a red card in itself and whether he deliberately targets that area, he does target that area which is something World Rugby have asked referees to clamp down on, and this could well warrant a red card,” Owens told The Australian.

“It is a tricky one, there will be a lot of arguments that a yellow card is sufficient.

“There’ll also be arguments that a red card would be justified as well, particularly on the outcome of it. But you’ve got to be very careful that you’re not always basing your decisions on an outcome.”

But given his prior history, as well as the season-ending injury to Tupaea, it is quite possible the entry level for the incident could be deemed mid-entry, thereby meaning he faces a long suspension and putting his participation on the Wallabies’ five-match spring tour at risk.

The Wallabies will likely argue the attempted clean-out was merely a rugby incident.

Footage from a clean-out in the 72nd minute showed New Zealand’s Fletcher Newell also coming in from the side and putting his weight on Scott Sio’s legs.

The Wallabies prop fell backwards but came away from the incident unscathed.

With Wallabies backrower Rob Leota suffering a ruptured achilles from the 39-37 loss, Australia will make at least two changes to its forward pack for the return Bledisloe match in Auckland on Saturday.

Rennie has several options to cover Leota’s injury.

He could shift Jed Holloway or call up Harry Wilson to blindside flanker and recall Cadeyrn Neville to the second-row.

Alternatively he could shift Pete Samu to blindside flanker and promote Fraser McReight to provide some extra breakdown presence, after the All Blacks dominated the area last week.

But the concern of starting McReight alongside Samu would be the All Blacks’ pack is only going to be more physical following the return of flanker Ardie Savea.

The Wallabies on Wednesday will announce a 35-man Australia A squad to play a Japan team in three matches. It is expected to include Suliasi Vunivalu, with the view to building the know-how of the former NRL winger ahead of the spring tour.

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