CHRISTCHURCH – All Blacks prop Joe Moody was Sunday banned for two weeks for a blow to the head of Waratahs midfielder Kurtley Beale, leaving him free to play in next month's Test series against France.
Moody's penalty was lightened because of his immediate guilty plea when he appeared before a foul play review committee.
The 31-Test Crusaders frontrower was cited for hitting Beale above the neck with his forearm just before scoring a critical try in Saturday's Super Rugby clash.
The incident, missed by match officials, led to Moody's try which sparked a scoring spree as the Crusaders fought back from 0-29 down to win 31-29.
The match citing commissioner, who reviewed video of the incident, believed Moody should have been red carded and the committee initially deemed the blow merited a mid-range punishment of a four-week ban.
"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's excellent judicial record, good character and guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, the foul play review committee reduced the suspension to two weeks," chairman Nigel Hampton said.
Moody will miss matches against the Auckland Blues and Wellington Hurricanes before being available to play the Waikato Chiefs on June 2, a week before the first Test against France.
Queensland Reds captain Scott Higginbotham received a three-week suspension for a similar incident earlier in the season in a match against the Melbourne Rebels.