Highlanders midfielder Sio Tomkinson has had his red card against the Chiefs in the Super Rugby opener dismissed by a Sanzaar judicial panel.

Tomkinson was sent off after a collision with Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick, which was deemed to be a no-arms tackle by referee Glen Jackson.

"You've made no attempt to wrap him. You've used your shoulder and it's direct to the head so, for you, it's a red card," Jackson explained to Tomkinson.

But after looking at the available evidence including consultation with Tomkinson and the Highlanders coaching staff, the judicial committee ruled that the referee was "wrong in issuing the red card".


"The judicial committee found that the player made contact with his shoulder to the shoulder of the Chiefs player," committee chairman Michael Heron QC said in a statement.

"On careful review of the footage, and on receiving further evidence as above, the committee determined that the player did not make contact with the head of the Chiefs player and he did attempt to use his arm in the attempted tackle.

"Due to the rapid change in angle from the Chiefs player, and the tackle of the other Highlanders player involved, the incident appeared to be more significant that it was.

"Accordingly, there was not a breach of Law 9.13 or 9.16."

The judicial committee was made up of Heron, John Langford and De Wet Barry.

Tomkinson is free to play in the Highlanders' next game against the Reds in Dunedin, but the midfielder was left out of the squad named by coach Aaron Mauger.