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# push or punch?
Australia flanker Michael Hooper let off with 1-week ban, free to face All Blacks
The disciplinary panel found the flanker’s apparent punch to be open-handed and on the low end of the scale for the offence of striking.

Updated 14.00

WALLABY FLANKER MICHAEL Hooper has been handed a one-week ban for striking Argentina out-half Nicholas Sanchez.

After being cited, the Australian vice-captain ran the risk of missing the opening weekend of the World Cup had the offence been deemed at the top end of the scale.

On the contrary, the disciplinary committee headed by Nigel Hampton placed what initially looked like a punch on the low end of the scale, determining that the strike had come from an open hand after “deliberate, illegal and an act of considerable provocation” from the Puma playmaker. However, Sanchez’ actions were not considered as mitigating factors.

The ruling states: “It was found that Hooper, in circumstances of considerable frustration and in order to try and rid himself of his opponent, drew back his free right arm and, voluntarily using additional momentum over and above that given to him by the actions of his opponent, struck out at the opponent’s head and neck area with his open hand, making contact with the back of the opponent’s neck and head with considerable, and intentional, force.”

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Hooper’s clean disciplinary report helped reduce the two-week ban to one.

And despite there being no international fixtures this weekend, the ruling remarks that Hooper was scheduled to play for his club Many against Randwick in a knock-out Shute Shield match on Saturday, so his absence from that game is deemed sufficient punishment within the one-week ban.

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Hooper will now be available for selection in the Rugby Championship decider against New Zealand in Sydney on 8 August.

Originally published 10.50

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