Brumbies wing Speight suspended for five weeks

Brumbies winger Henry Speight will miss the rest of the 2015 Super Rugby season
after being suspended for five weeks.

Speight will therefore not be able to play for the Brumbies in this weekend’s
Super Rugby Semi-final and the final should the Brumbies qualify.

A SANZAR Judicial Hearing found Speight guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j)
Lifting Tackle, after he received a red card during a Super Rugby match at the
weekend and suspended him up to and including Saturday 25 July 2015, which translates
into four matches.

The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match between the Stormers
and Brumbies at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on 20 June 2015.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was heard by Robert Stelzner SC via video conference
at 4:00pm AEST, 6:00pm NZST, 8:00am SAST on 23 June 2015. Mike Mika was the
former professional player who attended as a Judicial Technical Adviser. The
outcome was delayed as Stelzner requested information of the player’s forthcoming
playing schedule in order to determine the sanction.

In his finding, Stelzner ruled that, “As the Judicial Officer, I considered
all the evidence before me including the video footage of the incident, referee
and TMO reports for issuing the red card and the submissions made for the player
by his legal representative, Peter McGrath.

“After taking all relevant facts into consideration, I found that the referee’s
decision to issue a red card was correct. I found the incident to have a lower
end entry point for breaching of 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle which stipulates a
four-week suspension.

“It was submitted on Speight’s behalf that the tackle was part of a legitimate
attempt to clear Juan de Jongh from a ruck. The player tackled his opponent
before De Jongh had joined the ruck. In my assessment, Speight did so in response
to De Jongh impeding his access to the breakdown and joining the ruck which
had been formed.

“The dominant movement of his right arm, the positioning of his leg under De
Jongh and that of his left hand behind De Jongh’s neck together with Speight’s
driving movement on to De Jongh, caused the player to make contact with the
ground, head first, in a cartwheel movement. At the moment of impact with the
ground, De Jongh’s feet had been raised off the ground by Speight which constituted
dangerous play in contravention of Law 10.4(j).

“The tackle caused De Jongh’s feet to lift and his head to make contact with
the ground first. It was not a legitimate clean out at a ruck and the player
was fortunate not to have been injured. The offending was however not premeditated
and occurred in reaction to De Jongh having impeded Speight’s progress. The
momentum of the players may have contributed to the result.

“An aggravating factor is the ongoing need for a deterrent for dangerous
play such as this which carries with it the real risk of serious injury. As
a result, two weeks were added to the sanction.

“Mitigating factors included Speight’s unblemished disciplinary record
over a lengthy first class career for the Brumbies in Super Rugby and Waikato
in New Zealand’s provincial competition. Brumbies coach, Stephen Larkham, spoke
to the outstanding character of Speight and his position within the team as
a leader and his work in the community. This, amongst other factors, resulted
in a reduction in sanction of two weeks.

“The player’s schedule is such that the Brumbies play in the Super
Rugby Semi-Finals this weekend with the potential to play in the Final the following
week. Speight is likely to be included in the Wallabies’ squad for the
upcoming Rugby Championship with the first match to be played on 18 July 2015.

“If not required for the Final, Speight would play club rugby in Canberra
for the

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