New Zealand Rugby Duty Judicial Officer (DJO) Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Counties Manukau captain Jimmy Tupou who was cited for contravening law 10.4(h) Dangerous Charging into a Ruck, in an ITM Cup match on the weekend.
The incident occurred in the 32nd minute of the match between North Harbour and Counties Manukau that was played in Albany on Saturday 12 September. North Harbour won the match 28-20.
Tupou acknowledged his actions were a breach of the law and accepted his wrongdoing, expressing regret for what had occurred.
Mr Hampton found this to be a Lower End offence with an indicative starting point of a two week suspension. However, after finding no aggravating factors needing to be taken into account and noting the player’s culpability, he applied a one week discount to the period of suspension.
Tupou has been suspended from all forms of rugby for one week up to, and including, Saturday 19 September 2015.
This means that he will miss Counties Manukau’s next ITM Cup match against Northland in Whangarei on Saturday (19 September).
This season, ITM Cup on-field disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to an appointed DJO to allow the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this early stage, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty indicated by the DJO. If the player does not accept the charge or the indication, then the matter is referred to a full hearing with another Judicial Officer.