The Western Force have suffered a huge blow with strike centre Tevita Kuridrani rubbed out of their historic Super Rugby AU preliminary final against the Brumbies on Saturday night.
Kuridrani has been suspended for three games for a dangerous tackle on Hunter Paisami in the Force’s finals-sealing 30-27 upset win over the Queensland Reds last Friday night in Perth.
The former Wallabies centre was among the Force’s best performers but received a yellow card for the second-minute offence.
The citing commissioner deeming the tackle had actually met the red-card threshold for foul play.
The SANZAAR foul play review committee of chairman Adam Casselden, Mike Mika and Stefan Terblanche subsequently found Kuridrani guilty via a video-conference hearing and banned the midfield powerhouse for three games.
In his finding, Casselden noted that Kuridrani, who pleaded guilty, acted recklessly rather than intentionally in placing Paisami in a vulnerable position.
With Paisami not injured, and taking into account Kuridrani’s relatively good judicial record over a long career, the veteran No.13 was only outed for three games instead of a potential six matches or more.
Former All Black Richard Kahui is likely to replace Kuridrani in the starting line-up as the Force look to continue their giant-killing run at GIO Stadium.
The Force have made the playoffs of a Super Rugby competition for the first time in their 16-year existence.
The winner of the Brumbies-Force match will face the Reds in the final on May 8 at Suncorp Stadium.
Melbourne forwards Isi Naisarani and Pone Fa’amausili were outed for three games for high tackles, both on NSW lock Max Douglas during the Rebels’ 36-25 win over the Waratahs last Saturday night.
The pair won’t be available again until the Rebels’ round-four trans-Tasman Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton on June 5.