Sekope Kepu will miss three weeks as the result of his red card for a shoulder charge against the Scots’ Hamish Watson during the first half at Murrayfield last weekend.
That is not the way to end the season on a high note, unless spending your vacation in the headmaster’s office is anyone’s idea of a vacation.
He was missing in action for the second half of the Wallabies’ 53 – 24 defeat, handing the bagpipers their biggest win over Australia in close to a century.
This red card was not even controversial. Even Wallabies’ Coach Michael Cheika commented that “The referee really didn’t have much alternative.”
Kepu was called in front of an independently appointed World Ruby disciplinary board yesterday. He had to try and defend himself from the charge of breaking law 10.4(h). Any law with that large a number and a letter well into the alphabet must be serious and it states, ‘a player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player’.
Kepu admitted that the tackle on Watson was, according to the board, “A dangerous shoulder charge into a ruck in which contact was made with an opponent’s head,” and was deserving of a red card.
He could have been given six weeks, but he was given half off due to the fact that he expressed regret and the fact that he has never presented an unruly nature in his past play.
Kepu’s three-week suspension will start when the new season commences and he will be eligible to return on March 3 of 2018, so assuming he is selected he will not miss the important Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina in 2018.
He should also be available by the time the Irish come around in June of 2018, so, all-in-all, he got away with it, although he probably does not feel as though he got away with anything, especially with the turmoil he generated for his side by compelling them to play short for an entire half.