Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Suspended Nadolo to miss three games for Crusaders

Nemani Nadolo leads Super Rugby in offloads and is among the best in terms of clean breaks and defenders beaten. Photo / Getty
Nemani Nadolo leads Super Rugby in offloads and is among the best in terms of clean breaks and defenders beaten. Photo / Getty

Nemani Nadolo, the Crusaders' giant wing, has been suspended for four weeks for his lifting tackle on Brumbies halfback Tomas Cubelli.

It could have been worse for the Fijian international and the Crusaders, but for the fact Todd Blackadder's team have a bye this weekend, and, as has become traditional for teams willing to make use of World Rugby's sentencing loophole, have claimed Nadolo would have played for his club Marist Albion.

That means Nadolo, who leads the competition in offloads and is one of the best in terms of clean breaks and defenders beaten, will miss the Crusaders' home game against the Reds, an away match against the Highlanders, and a home game against the Waratahs.

Unfortunately for the Blues, his comeback match will be against them at Eden Park on May 28.

Sanzaar duty judicial officer Chris Morris gave Nadolo, who pleaded guilty to the post-match citing, a two-week "discount" on the standard four-week suspension for what he described as a "low-end" offence because of his early plea, good disciplinary record, and the fact it as reckless rather than deliberate.

But Morris added: "I took into account World Rugby memorandums about lifting tackles and the need to deter this very action from the game. As such I found it necessary to add two additional weeks to the recommended sanction.

"The player is accordingly suspended from all rugby for four weeks until 21 May 2016 which effectively is a three-match Super Rugby suspension. We were provided with proof that he would have been selected to play in a club match on 30 April 2016, which the player will also miss as a result of the suspension."

Nadolo, who scored a try and laid one on for Israel Dagg in his team's 40-14 win over the Brumbies in Canberra on Sunday, is an important part of the Crusaders' attack, but Blackadder will take comfort in knowing his team no longer rely solely on the 28-year-old for his team's momentum.

The return of Dagg to fullback has added another threat, while Jone Macilai, a fellow try-scorer at GIO Stadium, impressed with his pace and awareness. Johnny McNicholl, another speedster, is also due to return from a toe injury.

- NZ Herald

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