Quade Cooper will miss the Reds’ playoff match against the Sharks next weekend following a dangerous tackle he made on Waratahs back Berrick Barnes. He received a yellow card at the time, and has since been suspended for one week.
A lengthy SANZAR judicial hearing took place earlier today, ruling the Wallaby flyhalf out of next week’s clash against the Sharks, which will determine who progresses to the semi final stage.
Cooper pleaded not guilty to the charge of a dangerous tackle on Barnes, who is well known to have suffered from head issues in the past, to the point of retiring from the game temporarily.
“It was something I certainly didn’t want to hear (the suspension). I was looking forward to playing this weekend. I’m pretty disappointed but I have total faith in my teammates and our game plan and believe they’ll get the job done,” said Cooper.
SANZAR judicial officer Paul Tully said that Cooper had made principle contact with the chest of Barnes, but that he also made contact with the neck, which made it a dangerous tackle, in contravention of Law 10.4 (e).
“There is no doubt Quade makes a difference for us,” said Reds coach Ewen Mckenzie, who insisted that despite the loss of the influential Wallaby, the team will do okay without him.
“But Quade has played in three games and we’ve won 11 and we’re in the finals. We’ve had to do a lot of it without Quade, anyway, and we’re still there.”
The Reds will need to slot either Mike Harris or Ben Lucas into the number ten role, a position they have both occupied earlier in the season when Cooper was injured.
The Sharks aren’t without disappointment themselves, as fullback Pat Lambie will miss the game with an ankle injury, and Springbok center Francois Steyn is ineligible due to being a late in the season recruit, signed by the Sharks after the April 1 transfer deadline.
Do you think a one week suspension is fair, or was a yellow card sufficient?