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Guilty: Swinton's World Cup dream suffers blow after copping SEVEN week ban for horror hit

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18th April, 2023
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Lachlan Swinton’s hopes of appearing at a maiden World Cup campaign have suffered a massive blow, with the Waratahs back-rower suspended for seven weeks on Tuesday evening.

As Swinton celebrated his return to the Wallabies squad, he will have to hope his three-day cameo with Eddie Jones on the Gold Coast is enough to show him that he’s worth persisting with after his lengthy ban.

In keeping with Swinton’s career, where he was shown a red card on debut against the All Blacks in 2020, the 26-year-old’s week has been dramatic.

Lachlan Swinton has been suspended for seven weeks. Photo Matt King/Getty Images

Called up to Jones’ maiden Wallabies training squad at noon on Sunday after a series of injuries over the weekend, Swinton was cited a mere 48 minutes later for his late and high hit on Force playmaker Jake Strachan in the opening seconds of the Waratahs’ victory on Saturday night. He won’t play another game in the regular season.

The incident was extraordinarily missed by all the matchday officials despite the playmaker being forced off for a Head Injury Assessment.

While Strachan, 26, curiously passed the HIA, he later came from the field after experiencing concussion symptoms. It’s expected he will be ruled out of Saturday’s crucial match against the Highlanders, with the utility back having a history of head knocks.

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The Force, including coach Simon Cron, were livid that Swinton’s shot wasn’t picked up by the matchday officials.

Not only did it risk Strachan’s long-term health, a card so early in the game likely would have changed the course of the game.

Swinton, however, was found guilty of contravening Law 9.13 by a SANZAAR Judicial Hearing and his shot was deemed to have met the “top-end entry point of 10 weeks”. Swinton’s guilt saw his suspension reduced by three weeks.

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from the Player and his legal representative, Mr Aaron Lloyd, the Judicial Committee upheld the Citing under Law 9.13,” Judicial Committee Chair Helen Morgan said.

“With respect to sanction, the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play was reckless, with the contact point directly made with the head, high force and no mitigating factors present. The Committee found the incident was highly dangerous and, after considering all relevant factors of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process and sanctioning table, decided the foul play merited a top-end entry point of 10 weeks. Taking into account mitigating factors, including the Player’s acceptance of guilt that the incident was foul play, conduct at the hearing and remorse, the Judicial Committee reduced the suspension by three weeks.”

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“The player is therefore suspended for 7 weeks, up to and including 3 June 2023.”

Lachlan Swinton of the Wallabies is sent off

Lachlan Swinton’s rocky career has continued. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Swinton’s absence will be felt by the Waratahs, who are playing catch up after a slow start to the season.

Adding to the frustration, the hard-hitting back-rower was only just starting to return to form after struggling during the opening month of action following his year-long injury absence. While Jones has given second chances in the past, he will be wary of doing so for Swinton in a World Cup year after his slow start.

Already without star prop Angus Bell, Swinton’s suspension will further test the Waratahs depth.

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