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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019

Michael Hooper gets off lightly for Mike Brown charge because of 'good behaviour'

Michael Cheika could now be without three key players for the Pool A showdown against Wales.

The incident occurred during Saturday's 33-10 win over England.
The incident occurred during Saturday's 33-10 win over England.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

AUSTRALIA FLANKER MICHAEL Hooper will miss Saturday’s World Cup game against Wales after pleading guilty to a foul play charge – but will be available for the Wallabies’ quarter-final.

Vice-captain Hooper was cited under Law 10.4(h) for charging in to Mike Brown as he stood part of a ruck near the end of the first-half of the Wallabies’ win over England at Twickenham.

Referee Romaine Poite awarded a penalty at the time but Hooper was not yellow carded for the incident.

However, independent commissioner Steve Hinds summoned the 23-year-old for a disciplinary hearing this morning and although the offence usually carries a recommended punishment of two weeks, Hooper escaped with a one week suspension.

In a statement, World Rugby explained the reasons for Hooper’s reduced punishment.

“Hooper was suspended by independent judicial officer Alan Hudson (Canada) in accordance with the Rugby World Cup 2015 disciplinary process,” it read.

“With respect to the sanction, the judicial officer determined that the offence was low-end, which has an entry point of two weeks.

“However, taking into account mitigating factors including his early admission, good conduct during the hearing and good character and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors, the player was suspended for a period of one week.

Michael Cheika could now be without three players for Saturday’s showdown at Twickenham.

Fullback Israel Folau is a major doubt as he recovers from an ankle injury while winger Rob Horne is definitely out with a shoulder complaint.

“He came off the field in the game with a bit of a sore ankle and didn’t train yesterday. We’re going to wait and see how he pulls up today,” attacking coach Stephen Larkham said.

“Not even sure if he’s going to train today.”

Victory would secure top-spot in Pool A for Australia and set-up a quarter-final clash with either Scotland or Japan.

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Ryan Bailey

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