Hooper boost for Brumbies
The ACT Brumbies received a major boost ahead of this weekend's Super Rugby showdown with the Queensland Reds on Tuesday when flanker Michael Hooper escaped a ban for a dangerous tackle.
Hooper has been in brilliant form this season as the Brumbies have set the pace in the Australian conference, further bolstering his country's stocks of first rate opensides.
The 21-year-old was cited for a tackle on Victor Vito after last weekend's victory over the Wellington Hurricanes, however, and was in danger of missing Saturday's match against the defending champions in Canberra.
Sanzar's judicial officer decided that although he was guilty of contributing to the "tipping" of Vito, Hooper had not been responsible for lifting the back row forward and issued him with an "off-field yellow card".
"The contribution to the tipping puts the player in breach but it was contributory only and otherwise arose from an orthodox tackle," read a Sanzar statement.
"He has an excellent disciplinary and off-field record. Rule 9.2 allows a yellow off-field card where the breach is low end and there are compelling mitigating features as here and there are no aggravating features."
Hooper's form has made a major contribution to the turnaround at the Brumbies this year under new coach Jake White, which has resulted in the twice champions taking an eight point lead over the Reds in the Australian conference.
Victory this weekend over the Reds, who have a dynamic young No 7 of their own in Liam Gill, would all but clinch the conference title and a place in the playoffs for the Brumbies.