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Higginbotham handed two-match ban

Australia forward Scott Higginbotham has been banned for two matches after admitting two charges of striking New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.

Higginbotham has been ruled out of the Wallabies next two Tests against France on November 10 and England on November 17.

Higginbotham was charged by SANZAR with kneeing and head-butting McCaw during Saturday's Bledisloe Test match in Brisbane, which ended in an 18-18 draw.

He faced a SANZAR hearing on Sunday night after he was cited twice under Law 10.4(a) Punching or Striking. Both incidents occurred in the 26th minute of the game, with the 26-year-old pleading guilty to both counts.

Having reviewed the case, duty Judicial Officer Jannie Lubbe SC assessed the penalty for each charge to be two matches, but ruled Higginbotham could serve the suspensions concurrently, meaning the forward was only ruled out for half the games in the four-match tour of Europe.

In making the decision, Lubbe said he took into account the fact both incidents were categorised as low-level offences, with McCaw unhurt by either hit.

Lubbe also considered the fact it was Higginbotham's first appearance before the judiciary and that he and McCaw both shook hands after the match in an indication there was no ill-feeling between the players.

Higginbotham will be able to play again against Italy on November 24 and Wales on December 1.


From Belfast Telegraph