Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 0°C
# Drama
There's been drama in relation to Michael Hooper's ban for striking
The Wallabies openside was set to miss only an Australian club game.

SANZAR have lodged an appeal over the one-week ban handed to Australia’s Michael Hooper by one of their own judicial officers.

Michael Hooper is tackled by Peter O'Mahony Colm O'Neill / INPHO Hooper on the charge against Ireland last November. Colm O'Neill / INPHO / INPHO

Hooper was yesterday suspended for a single game after being found guilty of striking Argentina out-half Nicolás Sánchez during the Wallabies’ meeting with the Pumas last weekend in Mendoza.

The one-week sentence dished out by SANZAR judicial officer Nigel Hampton meant Hooper would only have missed club side Manly’s Shute Shield match against Randwick tomorrow, the Wallabies having conveniently made him available for that fixture.

Hooper was therefore set to be free to play against New Zealand on 8 August in the Rugby Championship decider, but SANZAR have confirmed that they have lodged an appeal against Hooper’s suspension.

That comes after independent appeals review officer Graeme Mew, a Canadian, found grounds for the appeal.

new viral7 / YouTube

A SANZAR appeals committee will now hear the case in a video conference on Sunday, with Hooper now back in danger of missing the Bledisloe Cup encounter against the Kiwis in two weekends’ time, and potentially more games thereafter.

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In response, the Australian Rugby Union has released a statement expressing that it is “extremely disappointed” at SANZAR’s appeal and promised to “vigorously defend” Hooper.

Indeed, the ARU says it intends to cross-appeal the original finding by judicial officer Hampton that Hooper was guilty of committing foul play.

The openside flanker’s ban, which came under Law 10.4 (a)  for punching or striking, was only one week after Hampton found that Hooper’s hand had been open when he struck Sanchez and that a “deliberate, illegal and an act of considerable provocation” was involved.

Watch this space.

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