Wallaby Michael Hooper will play in the Rugby Championship decider against New Zealand next week, despite being found guilty of striking Puma playmaker Nicholas Sanchez.
Hooper would normally have been suspended for two matches for his offence but because he was provoked the penalty was downgraded to a single match. He will be able to serve that suspension in this weekend’s club game for Manly against Randwick in the Shute Shield, freeing him to take his place in the test team.
Hooper was found guilty of striking Sanchez, who held him back during play in last weekend’s international match in Mendoza. “The actions of Sanchez while deliberate, illegal and an act of considerable provocation, do not allow for retaliation in an illegal way including striking the opponent,” SANZAR judicial commissioner Nigel Hampton said. Hooper was deemed to have retaliated with “considerable and intentional force“. – Joseph Walz
Screenshot from Rugby Australia’s video feed.