Brumbies to appeal length of Speight’s ban

The Brumbies will appeal winger Henry Speight’s five-week ban, which their chief executive has labelled a “cruel and unusual punishment”.

The Fijian flyer was suspended after being found guilty of a dangerous lifting tackle on Stormers centre Juan de Jongh in last weekend’s Super Rugby qualifying win in Cape Town.

The sanction means he will miss Saturday’s semi-final against the Hurricanes in Wellington and the final if they win.

He’ll also miss the first two Tests of the Rugby Championship against South Africa and Argentina.

While the Brumbies are resigned to not having Speight for the remainder of the their finals campaign, they want to help get him back a Wallabies jumper as soon as possible.

Following a meeting with lawyer Peter McGrath, CEO Michael Jones told Fairfax Media on Thursday he decided to challenge the severity of the penalty and some of SANZAR’s findings.

“Even though there’s a statement that we’re trying to discourage this, why is he the guy who seems to have been singled out for what’s a particularly cruel and unusual punishment?” Jones told the Canberra Times.

“We’re going to appeal two things – the application of what is viewed as a lifting tackle and whether that’s the right rule, and also in relation to the harshness of the suspension.

“That was our defence right from the start (that it wasn’t a lifting tackle) and whilst we presented a lot of evidence to that case, it was still deemed that, yes, it’s a lifting tackle.”

Injured lock Sam Carter said the suspension was pretty tough on “one of the nicest bloke you’ll ever meet”.

“SANZAR have tried to clamp down on the tip tackle and putting players into dangerous positions, so I guess they really had no choice,” Carter told AAP.

“(But) there was definitely no intention there by Henry to put him in a compromising position – it was just an unfortunate thing that happened.

“It’s a hard position to be in because, even though you’re fully fit and ready to go, you’re not allowed to play in two of the biggest games of the year because of suspension.”

Lausii Taliauli has been named as Speight’s replacement on the wing in the only change to the side that beat the Stormers last week.

Taliauli has scored one try since making his Super Rugby debut earlier this year.

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