Pocock handed three-week ban


David Pocock is to miss two Brumbies matches after being suspended over an illegal neck hold in a 48-23 Super Rugby defeat to the Chiefs on Saturday.

The Australia flanker was seen to grip Michael Leitch around the neck during a maul late in the fixture - an offence that was missed at the time.

However, Pocock was subsequently cited for the incident and has now been handed a three-week ban, ruling him out of clashes with the Waratahs and the Crusaders, with the Brumbies set for a bye week in round seven.

Pocock pleaded guilty to the offence, with SANZAR duty judicial officer Adam Cassleden concluding: "Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative I accepted the player's admission that he had committed an act of foul play contrary to law 10.4(e).

"In its Memorandum on 'Dangerous tackles [high tackles], dangerous grasping of neck and/or head area of player not in possession of the ball and dangerous grasping/holding of ball carrier above the line of the shoulder' dated 22 May 2015, World Rugby stated 'this type of dangerous play which is foul play must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the disciplinary process'.

"With respect to sanction I deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of two weeks. I then added one week for aggravation due to the need to deter this type of dangerous foul play. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's early plea, his good character, his genuine remorse and his excellent disciplinary record I reduced the suspension to a period of two weeks.

"The player accepted my indication of sanction of two weeks, and is therefore suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Sunday, 24 April 2016.  The player is free to resume playing on 25 April 2016."