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He appeared before World Rugby’s judicial committee via Zoom after his shoulder made contact with Springboks centre Jesse Kriel in the 28th minute. Cane was originally sent off for a yellow card that was upgraded after it was deemed a red by the TMO match official Tom Foley.
Cane was handed a three game ban with World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in head contact set at six matches.
“Taking all considerations into account, including the player’s exemplary disciplinary record, his early acknowledgment of foul play and his clear remorse, the independent Committee determined mitigation of three matches was appropriate,” the independent Disciplinary Committee said.
Cane announced last week he is heading to the Tokyo Sungoliath for a short-term contract in Japan. He will miss games against Toshiba, Suntory and D-Rocks, however he intends to apply for a tackling school course which will reduce the ban to two games.
The Chiefs co-captain exercised an option in his contract with NZ Rugby allowing him to take time away from New Zealand and play in Japan.
He will join Kolbe playing at Tokyo Sungoliath and will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign under new coach Scott Robertson.
World Rugby announced Cane had been cited for “an offence contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous tackling) following review.”
The independent committee was chaired by Adam Casselden SC (Australia), joined by former international player Becky Essex (England) and former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland).
The Law states that: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.
After the World Cup final, Cane said he had “so many shitty emotions”.
Cane would rue the tackle with the Springboks going on to win the final 12-11, playing the majority with an extra man on the field. Speaking to Jeff Wilson on Sky Sports after the awards ceremony, Cane said the red card was deserved.
“We know that collisions need to be low. If anything I got caught a bit surprised that he stepped back in my direction. It’s no excuse. We’ve been here for two months and we’ve seen how things have been ruled. Hugely disappointed.
Asked about how he felt, the captain was blunt.
“Obviously so many shitty emotions, on a personal level and on behalf of the team. Mixed in there is a heck of a lot of pride with the way the boys fought out there tonight, gave ourselves an opportunity. They’re just a bunch of warriors.
“So gutted. So proud of how far we’ve come. It hurts so much to fall at the final hurdle and probably the style that we did.