All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett will be free to play Argentina this weekend having escaped further punishment from his red card on Sunday.
SANZAAR announced its decision on Wednesday after a hearing on Tuesday night.
Barrett faced a four-week ban when he faced a SANZAAR judicial hearing after being sent off by referee Damon Murphy for kicking Australia’s Marieke Koroibete in the face in Perth on Sunday.
Barrett was found not guilty of contravening law 9.11: Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.
However, in his finding, the Judicial Committee Chair Robert Stelzner SC ruled:
“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player, a medical report on the opposition player involved, and from two expert witnesses, and having considered the submissions from his legal representative, Stephen Cottrell, the Judicial Committee found that the Player had not transgressed Rule 9.11 and had therefore not committed an act of foul play.
“He legitimately went up in the air to collect a high ball, when in trying to regain his balance on the downward trajectory, his boot inadvertently made contact with his opponent’s head. The accidental nature of the incident lead the Judicial Committee to find that there was no intentional nor reckless act of dangerous play, with the result that the red card is expunged from the player’s record.”
“The player is therefore free to play in the upcoming matches.”
The incident also brought into debate the 20 minute red card rule which allowed the All Blacks to replace Barrett after that time had elapsed. Despite his absence the Kiwis ran away with the win for a series clean sweep.
“I think it’s good that we’ve got a 20 minute red card at the moment because it’s certainly not malicious,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said.
“But based on law, when you when you field a ball and you kick your foot out and kick someone in the head, there’s got to be repercussions for that.
“I think that decision is probably accurate and the fact it’s only 20 minutes is a good thing.”