Rugby: Pumas lock Lavanini to miss France, Italy tests due to ban

Jaguares' lock Tomas Lavanini (right) vies for the ball with Sharks' number 8 Daniel du Preez during their Super Rugby match.
Jaguares' lock Tomas Lavanini (right) vies for the ball with Sharks' number 8 Daniel du Preez during their Super Rugby match.PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (REUTERS) - Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini will miss test matches against Italy and France next month after he was sent off in the Jaguares' 29-22 Super Rugby loss to the Kings on Friday.

Lavanini was given a two-week suspension by southern hemisphere rugby's governing body (Sanzaar) after he was sent off by referee Nick Briant for a dangerous charge in the first half of the match in Port Elizabeth.

The 23-year-old could have missed the Pumas' entire June schedule after Sanzaar judicial officer Michael Heron indicated Lavanini's poor disciplinary record warranted an additional week suspension.

Heron said Lavanini had already been cited three times and received a yellow card for "similar dangerous play".

"Because of his previous conduct and repeated offending, I indicated I would add a week to the suspension (to three weeks)," Heron said in a statement.

"Given his remorse, cooperation and early plea, I was prepared to reduce that by one week to a resulting suspension of two weeks (covering two matches) and I gave that indication."

Lavanini, who was suspended for one week earlier this season for dangerous play, will miss the Pumas' tests against Italy on June 11 and France on June 18. He is free to play the second test against France on June 25.

Fellow Argentina international Ramiro Herrera, who was sent off for a similar offence shortly after Lavanini on Friday, was suspended for one week and will miss the Italy match.

Japan lock Hitoshi Ono will miss his country's clash with Canada in Vancouver on June 11 after he was cited following the Sunwolves loss to the ACT Brumbies on Saturday. Ono, who has played 96 tests, was cited for striking an opponent with his head in the 66-5 loss in Canberra.

Heron said the entry point for suspension was four weeks, but given the nature of the contact he had reduced that to two. Ono's previously perfect disciplinary record had warranted a further cut to one week, he added.

Super Rugby will resume on July 1.