Australia winger Reece Hodge has been banned for three weeks after his dangerous tackle on Peceli Yato in the World Cup Pool D victory over Fiji.
An independent disciplinary committee in Tokyo adjudged Hodge’s no-arms challenge on the Fijian flanker to warrant a red card.
The ban comes a day after World Rugby publicly criticised the standard of officiating in the tournament so far.
He will miss the remaining pool matches against Wales, Uruguay and Georgia.
Hodge has 48 hours to appeal against the ban, which had been reduced from six weeks because of “Hodge’s exemplary disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing”.
Yato had scored the game’s opening try in Sapporo but after the tackle in the 25th minute he failed a Head Injury Assessment and had to be replaced.
The Australian escaped without an on-field punishment before going on to score his side’s second try in their comeback win, and Fiji head coach John McKee said losing the impressive Yato so early in a game he was having “such an impact, was a big loss for us”.
South African sports scientist Ross Tucker, who helped draw up World Rugby’s framework to help referees decide how to sanction high tackles, said it should have been an automatic red card.
And former top international referee Jonathan Kaplan said he had “absolutely no idea” how Hodge avoided being sent off.
“Going into this tournament, World Rugby have been very clear about contact with the head and what constitutes a red card under their new High Tackle Sanction framework,” the South African wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.
“I have absolutely no idea why Hodge was not sent off for his tackle on Yato.
“To me it was completely clear and an almost textbook example of the type of challenge they are trying to outlaw.”