All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea was handed a one-week suspension at a SANZAAR hearing on Tuesday after he directed a throat-slitting gesture at an opponent following a yellow card during a Super Rugby Pacific match last week.
The Wellington Hurricanes captain was heading to the sin bin after being penalised for his part in a melee when he drew his thumb across his throat as he exchanged words with Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens.
Savea later apologised, saying the gesture was “out of character” for him.
The 29-year-old faced a foul play review committee as he had been booked and received a warning having contravened the law that states a player must not do anything that is “against the spirit of good sportsmanship”.
“After considering a number of factors… and due to the nature of the player’s persistent offending, with both the yellow card and the warning being issued for unsportsmanlike play, an appropriate sanction for the player would be a suspension of one week,” Judicial Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton said.
Savea will be suspended for Saturday’s home game against the Blues.