Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete is available to play the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup opener after a World Rugby judiciary hearing decided not to uphold his red card from the third Test against France, finding there were mitigating circumstances in the incident.
The decision to send off Koroibete for a high tackle on France’s Anthony Jelonch in the fifth minute of Australia’s stirring 33-30 victory at Suncorp was widely criticised.
The decision, made by Ben O’Keeffe on advice from the TMO, was labelled an “absolute travesty” by All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens.
A World Rugby hearing, featuring former New Zealand internationals Mike Mika and Chris Smith, on Monday night cleared Koroibete in determining initial contact was made with Jelonch’s shoulder, based on multiple camera angles and submissions from Koroibete.“The player Marika Koroibete admitted to technically committing an act of foul play worthy of a red card,” World Rugby said in a statement.
“Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed that Marika Koroibete’s tackle on French loose-forward Anthony Jelonch initially made shoulder to shoulder contact at the fifth minute of the game.
“Subsequently, through the impact, any contact to the chest and neck was incidental by Koroibete. Therefore, World Rugby’s Head Contact Process was not met due to mitigating factors, and the act of the foul play was secondary.
“On that basis, the committee did not uphold the red card and the player is free to play again immediately.”