Wallabies back-rower Rob Valetini will be free for the Brumbies’ first Super Rugby Pacific match next year, after being hit with a two-match ban for his high hit in the Wallabies’ loss to Wales.
Valetini, who was red-carded after a high shot on Welsh lock Adam Beard in the first half of Australia’s heartbreaking loss, was originally handed a six-match suspension, but four of those weeks will be knocked off due to his good prior record and accepting the guilty verdict, and provided he complete the newly introduced ‘head contact process coaching intervention’ course.
It was implemented by World Rugby in July of this year in an attempt to train players red-carded for high contact on correct tackling technique.
While Valetini will still miss two games, they will be trial matches against the Waratahs and a Brumbies development side in pre-season, freeing him up for Round 1 against new Super Rugby team Moana Pasifika.
The Wallaby’s escape comes despite one member of the committee arguing for the high hit on Beard to be deemed high range and reckless, which would have resulted in a ban of 10 or more weeks.
“The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card,” they said in a statement.
“The committee deemed that the offending was reckless, and that he ran at speed in an upright position in an attempt to tackle Adam Beard, exhibiting poor tackle technique resulting in his head striking the right hand side of Adam Beard’s head (in breach of World Rugby’s Head Contract Process and Law 9.13) who was removed from the field of play.
“He failed his HIA & received 20 stitches in the area of his eyebrow.
“The Committee determined by a majority that after an assessment of the seriousness of the offending the actions merited a minimum mid-range entry point of 6 weeks.
“The Committee determined that all mitigating factors were present and the Player was entitled to a 50% reduction from the entry point, and accepting that there were no aggravating factors the committee reduced the six-week entry point by three weeks, resulting in a sanction of three weeks.
“The Player may apply to take part in the Coaching Intervention Programme to substitute the final match of his sanction for a coaching intervention aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play.”
Valetini is not expected to appeal the suspension.