Higginbotham out of Bulls clash
Scott Higginbotham (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Melbourne Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham has been suspended for one week and will therefore miss their final Super Rugby game of the season against the Bulls in Pretoria this coming Friday.
According to the SANZAR judicial rules, Higginbotham was required to face a hearing after receiving his third yellow card of the season during his side's loss to the Lions in Johannesburg last Friday.
According to the SANZAR rules, a player who has received three yellow cards in the same season shall be required to appear before the duty judicial officer.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer, Nicholas Davidson, heard the case and ruled the following:
"Scott Higginbotham received yellow cards in Round 9 (professional foul), in Round 14 (a late charge of the kicker) and in Round 18 (lifting tackle).
"The final incident was regarded as more serious and for that reason, and the fact that the player had been sitting on two yellow cards and knew a judicial process would follow, a one-week suspension was imposed.
"These incidents are an indication of persistent offending which after scrutiny warrant further sanction. The yellow card breaches did not result in any judicial scrutiny.
"Higginbotham was appointed captain of the Rebels and is the most experienced player in the team, held in very high regard by his coach and management. He has endeavoured to lead this team by example, but has played with a degree of intensity which has overreached in his accumulation of three yellow cards.
"The player has also previously received a three-week disciplinary sanction while playing at at international level in 2012."
The DJO concluded that Rule 6.1 is not prescriptive of further sanction, but for three acts of foul play including a professional foul, a sanction will usually follow unless review of each carding militates against suspension and/or the playing round is such as to warrant a caution only.
Higginbotham was therefore suspended up to and including Friday, July 11.