Wellington - Promising young Hurricanes flank Ardie Savea, who has drawn comparisons with All Blacks great Michael Jones, will miss the first four matches of the Super Rugby season after being banned for a dangerous tackle.
The dynamic teenager, brother of All Black wing Julian, joined the Hurricanes for this season after winning rave reviews for his performances in New Zealand's provincial championship.
The 19-year-old openside will now have to wait until March 17 to make his Super Rugby debut after being found guilty of a tip tackle on Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu in a pre-season match on Saturday.
"The tackle was clumsy with elements of recklessness," said a New Zealand Rugby Union media release detailing the ruling of Tuesday's judicial hearing.
"Savea's poor technique contributed to the dangerous nature of the tackle as he lost control, posing potential risk of injury to Pulu's neck or head."
Savea will miss the Hurricanes' season-opener against Auckland Blues next weekend as well as fixtures against Reds, Crusaders and Highlanders.