WELLINGTON – Highlanders' wing Tevita Nabura received a six-week suspension on Friday for his mid-air karate kick to the face of Waratahs' Cam Clark.
The kick, which came in the 18th minute of last Saturday's game earned Nabura a red card, with his departure proving pivotal as the Waratahs went on to end Australian teams' 40-match losing streak against New Zealand opposition.
The South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby (SANZAAR) judiciary committee said Nabura pleaded guilty to physically abusing a player by kicking.
"The player's action was seen by the committee as a misguided effort by an inexperienced player to both try and regain balance whilst in the air and ward off the approaching opposing player," it said.
The committee said it initially considered a 12-week ban but halved it due to "the player's excellent record, his remorse, his inexperience and his guilty plea".
The ban means Nabura is out until Friday, July 6, although he will only miss four Super Rugby matches, against the Queensland Reds, Wellington Hurricanes, Waikato Chiefs and Canterbury Crusaders.
He will be eligible to play for the Highlanders in the finals if they make the top eight.