Queensland Reds' Scott Higginbotham offloads during A Super Rugby game. Photo: EPA/DAN PELED

SYDNEY - Queensland Reds skipper Scott Higginbotham will miss three weeks of Super Rugby following his red card early in his team's opening match against the Melbourne Rebels, SANZAAR said on Monday.

Higginbotham was sent off in the 10th minute for using his shoulder in a forceful high tackle, reducing the Reds to playing with 14 men for the rest of Friday's game and going down 45-19 in Melbourne.

Higginbotham pleaded guilty to the dangerous tackle charge and will be out of action up to and including March 17, SANZAAR's judiciary committee said.

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks due to the player's direct contact by his shoulder to his opponent's head," panel chairman Nigel Hampton said.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's good record over a long career, the lack of injury to the victim and his guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to three weeks."

The Reds may also lose lock Lukhan Tui to suspension after he was cited to appear at a SANZAAR judicial committee hearing for a lifting tackle in the same match.

Tui received a yellow card by the referee for his lifting tackle which speared Rebels scrum-half Will Genia head-first into the ground in the first half of the game.

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