East Coast midfielder and captain Rua Tipoki has been suspended for two weeks following a judicial hearing to consider an incident in the Heartland Championship last Saturday.
Tipoki was red-carded by referee James Munro in the 23rd minute of East Coast's match against North Otago, after striking another player with his fist - resulting in an automatic judicial hearing for the breach of law 10.4 (a) for punching or striking.
After considering video footage and evidence from the player and referee, Judicial Officer Nick Davidson said that the punch was at the lower end of offending by a narrow margin.
He concluded that there was a degree of provocation, but Tipoki's response was excessive.
Tipoki has been suspended up to and including September 4, effectively ruling him out of two Heartland Championship matches - including Saturday's Week Four match against Buller in Westport, and the Week Five match against Wairarapa Bush in Ruatoria on September 3.
The East Coast captain and assistant coach can neither play for nor coach the East Coast team, but is able to coach the junior players in the area as Davidson said that suspending him from this activity would be harsh on the young players.
In considering sanctions, Davidson took into account Tipoki's work in the local community to mentor at risk youth and coach age grade teams.
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