Darcy Swain suspension for 'hideous' act leaves rugby world raging

Darcy Swain, pictured here in action for Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup.
Darcy Swain has been suspended for six weeks over the ugly incident in the Bledisloe Cup. Image: Getty

Rugby fans and commentators have savaged the decision to hand Darcy Swain a six-week suspension for an incident that left All Blacks player Quinn Tupaea with a badly injured knee, with many of the belief that the Wallabies forward got off lightly.

Tupaea suffered a ruptured medial cruciate ligament (MCL) and a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his left knee after Swain entered a ruck and made firm contact with the All Black's outstretched leg last Thursday night in the Bledisloe Cup.

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Swain, who only received a yellow card at the time, was cited after the match at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium and fronted a SANZAAR Judicial Committee hearing on Wednesday night.

Swain was found guilty of contravening Law 9.11 - "Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others" and handed a six-week suspension.

The ban will extend to the 6th of November, ruling Swain out of Saturday's return Bledisloe Cup clash as well as tour matches against Scotland at Murrayfield on October 30 and France in Paris on 6 November.

In its findings, the Judicial Committee chair Andre Oosthuizen SC ruled the following:

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, having heard from the player and from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Judicial Committee upheld the Citing and deemed the incident meet the red card threshold for Law 9.11."

Darcy Swain, pictured here being given a yellow card for the incident in the Bledisloe Cup.
Darcy Swain was given a yellow card for the incident in the Bledisloe Cup. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"With respect to sanction the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six (6) weeks.

"Through the actions by the player such as position, control, and player movements they found the incident was not intentional, however, it was highly reckless."

Swain will also miss next month's Australia A tour of Japan, the squad for which he was controversially named in this week in what some felt was a ploy to 'use up' his suspension.

By handing down a ban of six weeks rather than six matches, that issue has been negated.

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Speaking after the game, All Blacks coach Ian Foster said: "We've got a player who's probably out for nine months and you're not allowed to target legs on the side at cleanout past the ball. The rules are pretty clear."

All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett said on Monday: “I feel for Quinn. He basically didn’t see it coming, he was a sitting duck. It was a bit of a free shot. We don’t like to see these sorts of injuries.”

All Blacks scrumhalf Aaron Smith added: “Injuries happen in rugby but some can be controlled."

However Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was of a different opinion.

"I'm not convinced about Darcy'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."

Fans and pundits took to social media on Thursday to condemn the 'light' punishment for Swain considering Tupaea will likely miss between nine and 12 months of rugby.

with AAP

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