The Queensland Reds will fight Taniela Tupou’s retrospective charge of foul play after SANZAAR found the pivotal prop had met the red card threshold during a clean-out against the Brumbies.
A bullocking Tupou shunted Jahrome Brown from the ruck in the first half of the Reds’ tight loss in Canberra, referee Damon Murphy and the television match official (TMO) reviewing and clearing him of any discretion at the time.
Brown wasn’t injured in the collision, with replays suggesting Tupou had collected the hunched flanker’s shoulder in what was described in commentary as a textbook cleanout.
The incident still found its way to Monday night’s SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee meeting though, after further inspection of the footage had deemed it a red card offence for high contact.
That opinion was upheld, the Reds set to fight the charge on Wednesday night after knocking back what is understood to be a two-week suspension with an early guilty plea.
If unsuccessful, the Wallabies enforcer will, at minimum, miss Saturday’s Suncorp Stadium home game against the NSW Waratahs and the spicy return of the Brumbies to Brisbane a week later.
The decision compounded frustrations at Ballymore given Fraser McReight’s failed chase of a ball for the match-winning try was not reviewed, despite clear evidence he had been obstructed.
“We’re going to be fighting that,” Reds co-captain Liam Wright said.
“We’re under the impression that it was a bit hard done by; we felt that it was shoulder on shoulder, which I’m pretty sure was cleared with the TMO on the night and played on.
“With the scrutiny we’ve got on the games at the moment and refs checking a lot of stuff, once it gets cleared on field we expect it to stay that way.”
The 16-12 loss dropped the Reds to 4-1 this season with the Waratahs (3-2) able to jump ahead of them into second on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder with a win on Saturday.
Waratahs flanker Michael Hooper is back training with the side and fully fit but not due to return until next week’s clash with the Fijian Drua.
Hampered by injuries across the first five rounds, the Reds will likely welcome the return of fellow co-captain and line-breaking scrumhalf Tate McDermott.
The No.9 injured his ankle in the Reds’ round-two defeat of the Waratahs and will be keen to re-establish himself ahead of next year’s World Cup with NSW adversary Jake Gordon currently sidelined.