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Connacht's Abraham Papali'i handed four-week ban over Benetton red card

The New Zealander was dismissed for a high tackle during last weekend’s loss in Treviso.

Abraham Papali’i on the training ground this week.
Abraham Papali’i on the training ground this week.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ABRAHAM PAPALI’I WILL serve a four-week ban as a result of his sending-off for Connacht in last weekend’s Rainbow Cup game against Benetton.

Papali’i was dismissed for a high tackle in the 73rd minute after coming off the bench during his side’s 20-12 defeat in Treviso.

With the judicial officer deeming it to be a mid-range incident, a suspension of six weeks had been expected for the New Zealander.

The red card was the third that Papali’i has been shown since he joined Connacht in July of last year, but the disciplinary panel determined that his latest offence “was reckless rather than intentional and noted that no injury was suffered by the opposing player”.

A Pro14 statement on the decision adds: “In order to determine the extent of foul play, Hawk-eye footage, referee reports, medical reports and player reports were considered, as well as [Papali'i's] response to the standing directions.

“In applying the off-field considerations of aggravation and mitigation, the player’s recent disciplinary record was seriously considered as an aggravating factor.

“However, in the player’s responses, not only did he display a frank and honest recognition of his offending but also a serious commitment and determination to addressing it in practical terms so that no additional suspension was imposed.

“In considering mitigation, the judicial officer found that, apart from a clean record, all mitigating features were present including the player’s early and full admission, spontaneous apology to his opponent and his engagement with the process.

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“As a consequence, the period of suspension was reduced by two weeks instead of three.”

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Paul Dollery

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