SYDNEY (Reuters) – All Blacks forward Scott Barrett has been suspended for three weeks for his dismissal in the 47-26 loss to Australia last weekend, SANZAAR said on Tuesday, easing fears that New Zealand might face a shortage of locks for the World Cup.
Barrett became only the fourth All Blacks player to be sent off in a test after being adjudged to have made contact with the head of Australia captain Michael Hooper during the Rugby Championship match in Perth.
The 25-year-old will miss the second Bledisloe Cup test against Australia at Eden Park next weekend but is clear to play from Sept. 1, six days before New Zealand take on Tonga in Hamilton in their final warm-up for the World Cup.
The SANZAAR judicial committee said the offence warranted a six-week ban but that had been cut in half.
“Taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s exemplary judicial record, his expressed remorse and the fact the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the committee reduced the suspension to three weeks,” the governing body said in a statement.
Barrett’s ban further depletes the stocks of second row forwards available to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after former world player of the year Brodie Retallick dislocated his shoulder in the draw against South Africa with two weeks ago.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Rory Carroll)