Monday 16 January 2017

Hooper cleared for All Blacks showdown

Published 31/07/2015 | 02:30

Australia captain Michael Hooper returns after a one-match ban
Australia captain Michael Hooper returns after a one-match ban

Australia captain Michael Hooper is available for the Rugby Championship decider against New Zealand after being given a one-match ban for punching.

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Hooper floored Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez in the second half of last Saturday's 34-9 victory in Mendoza, lashing out in response to Sanchez pulling his shirt.

A SANZAR disciplinary hearing decided the blow was struck with an "open hand" and issued a two-week suspension which was halved due to Hooper's previous good record.

That means he will be able to play against the All Blacks in Sydney tomorrow week as he has been selected on the bench for Manley's club match against Randwick this weekend.

Critics will argue that Australia have manipulated the disciplinary process as Hooper was highly unlikely to have played for Manley had he not been cited. Furthermore, the blow landed was substantial enough to flatten Sanchez.

Irish Independent

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