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Luatua hit with four-game Super rugby ban

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/03/2017 Angelo Risso

Steven Luatua. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Steven Luatua. Auckland Blues loose forward Steven Luatua became the first Kiwi to fall victim to World Rugby's new high-tackle laws, receiving a four-match ban following his red card against the Chiefs on Friday.

With his Super Rugby side trailing in the dying seconds of the first half, Luatua smashed Tim Nanai-Williams with a late swinging arm across the neck near his 22-yard line.

Earning a red card for his efforts, Luatua was forced to watch on as the 14-man Blues withered early in the second half and ultimately fell 41-26.

Luatua faced the SANZAAR judiciary on Sunday night and the governing body took a dim view to the challenge.

Despite pleading guilty and showing remorse, Luatua was hit with a four-match ban, keeping him out until the Blues' clash with the Highlanders on April 8.

He'll miss home matches against the Highlanders, Bulls and Western Force, as well as a trip to Christchurch to face the Crusaders.

"With respect to sanction, the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks," committee chairman Nigel Hampton QC said.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's early admission of guilt and his remorse for his action, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension by two weeks."

Blues boss Tana Umaga said after the game that Luatua's red card sent a clear message to other players - keep your tackles under control.

He said his players would have to be better disciplined or face ruining their side's chances of victory.

Luatua himself apologised to Nanai-Williams on Twitter after the game.

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