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Controversial Marika Koroibete red card not upheld

BY Grant Constable  ·  Monday Jul 19, 2021

Australian winger Marika Koroibete has been cleared of committing a red card following an appearance before an online independent judicial committee. The controversial incident took place during the series decider against France on Saturday.

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie felt the French skipper over-reacted, which wasn’t “in the spirit of the game”.

“It was terribly milked,” Rennie said.

“He feels he got some head contact and he has grabbed his face which is nowhere near the point of impact.

“What we’ll try and defend is the first point of contact – Jelonch’s head comes forward a little bit.

“When you’ve been hit in the head, your head automatically goes backwards. Clearly, the first point of contact is not the head, it’s the body.”

The independent Disciplinary Committee chaired by Helen Morgan (New Zealand), joined by former players Mike Mika (New Zealand) and Chris Smith (New Zealand), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative.

Wallabies will contest controversial red card after French player ‘milked it’

Koroibete admitted to technically committing an act of foul play worthy of a red card.

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.

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Despite playing 75 minutes with 14 men the Wallabies were able to claw their way to a memorable 33-30 victory to win the three-game series.

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