Tele'a suspended for four weeks

Tanielu Tele'a will miss the next four matches for the Blues. Photo: Getty Images
Tanielu Tele'a will miss the next four matches for the Blues. Photo: Getty Images
The Blues will be without winger Tanielu Tele'a for four weeks, after he was handed a suspension at the Sanzaar judiciary tonight.

Tele'a was sent off during the Blues' 24-9 win over the Stormers at Eden Park on Saturday night, for a tip tackle on Stormers winger Dillyn Leyds with 10 minutes remaining.

Tele'a, his eyes on the ball launched high into the night sky, only saw the leaping Leyds at the last second but was adjudged to have caused the Stormers wing to land dangerously on his upper back.

Having earlier scored a scorching try from 50m out, Tele'a was too deep in chasing a high kick and arrived just as Leyds was at the height of his leap.

The fact Tele'a had his hands up and Leyds landed dangerously were other factors in referee Nick Briant's decision to show a red card.

They were also the reasons why the committee of Adam Casselden, Eroni Clarke and Stefan Terblanche decided to hand Tele'a a four-week ban.

Tele'a was viewed to have violated Law 9.17, which states "A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground."

The Committee deemed the foul play to be worth a mid-range entry point of an eight-week ban, but Casselden said that Tele'a's good judicial record and early guilty plea resulted in a lighter penalty.

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of eight weeks due to the reckless actions of the player placing his vulnerable opponent in an extremely dangerous position with the potential to cause significant injury.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's good Judicial record and the fact the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to four weeks."

As a result, Tele'a will miss the Blues' games against the Waratahs, Chiefs, Highlanders and Brumbies, before being able to return on May 10 against the Hurricanes.

The Blues should have some solid replacement options though, with Caleb Clarke and Matt Duffie both successfully returning from injuries for the Blues' second team last weekend.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said he hoped the incident wouldn't hurt Tele'a's confidence.

"He was too deep and obviously he was trying to make up too much ground. It's pretty hard to stop dead, obviously.

"It's a tricky one for Tanielu, who has been playing some outstanding rugby. Hopefully it doesn't dent his confidence – it wasn't [out of] malice or intentional, it was just one of those unfortunate things."

"I saw the high box kick," Tele'a said. "I was a bit deep and had to really sprint to get there. I had my eyes on the ball the whole time. It was an unintentional collision. I apologised straight away. I guess that's just rugby, sometimes things just happen by accident. I hope he's all good."

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