Highlanders' Gilbert cops five-week ban for Hooper tackle

Highlanders fly-half Sam Gilbert has been suspended for five weeks for a lifting tackle on Wallabies captain Michael Hooper during the Waratahs' 32-20 upset win in Dunedin.

Gilbert was red-carded by referee Nic Berry following the incident in the 28th minute in which he lifted Hooper, who was trying to counter-ruck, through the horizontal and then dropped him back to the ground, the Waratahs flanker landing on his neck.

Interviewed by Sky Sport after the match, Hooper said Gilbert should probably "miss some weeks" and the Wallabies skipper has been proved correct with a SANZAAR judiciary panel handing down a five-week ban.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.18," SANZAAR judiciary chairman Michael Heron said.

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 10 weeks due to a combination of features including the degree of recklessness exhibited and the danger posed to the tackled player. Taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's clean judicial record, his acceptance of foul play, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 5 weeks.

"The player is therefore suspended for 5 weeks, up to and including 25 June 2022."

The suspension means Gilbert's Super Rugby Pacific season is over, with just this weekend's final round and three weeks in the playoffs to come. The Highlanders will qualify for the finals if they beat the Rebels in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.

Hooper, meanwhile, was thankfully uninjured in the incident and will be fit to face the competition-leading Blues at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney on Saturday night.