Clarke to fight ban at hearing after red card controversy

April 5, 2022

Caleb Clarke's judicial hearing for the red card shown to him after his ugly collision with Moana Pasifika's Tomasi Alosio will be held on Wednesday night.

Clarke and the Blues will make submissions in an attempt to avoid a suspension, but a ban is likely.

During the Blues' 46-16 win at Eden Park on Saturday, Clarke attempted to charge down a kick by opposite Alosio in the 52nd minute.

However the attempt resulted in an ugly collision with Clarke's right knee making contact with the left side of Alosio's head.

Clarke was eventually red carded by referee James Doleman for the incident while Alosio later said he had no memory of it.

It was one of four red cards handed out during the latest round of Super Rugby Pacific but unlike the others, Clarke and the Blues will fight against any sort of suspension.

After initial consideration, Sanzaar confirmed Tuesday Clarke would face their Judicial Committee on Wednesday where they will allege he contravened law 9.11 which states “players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous".

Stephen Hardy will chair the judicial committee, which also includes Chris Smith and David Croft.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said following the game he understood why the red card was given but argued it wasn't a reckless act.

Blues wing Caleb Clarke is shown a red card by referee James Doleman during his team's win over Moana Pasifika at Eden Park.

“You can understand why they called it a red card,” MacDonald said. “There was contact with the head and it’s about player safety and that’s important. I understand that. And you look at Caleb and he’s trying to charge the ball down and wasn’t too far from getting it.

"In my whole career I’ve watched players do that and we haven’t seen that sort of contact. It’s probably his fault for being so athletic and jumping so high.

“I feel sorry for Caleb because there’s no malice in it – he’s genuinely trying to charge the ball down and here he is on the sideline. It’s a tough call but I’m not disagreeing with it.

“I’m not sure what to say to Caleb – I don’t think it was reckless, I just think it was unfortunate.”

Other red cards of the round - all to do with dangerous contact to the head as well - resulted in three-week bans for the players involved, including Crusaders hooker Shilo Klein.

Fijian Drua No.8 Nemani Nagusa, who was sent off for a late and high tackle, is still awaiting his fate.


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