Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper remains on tenterhooks after having his SANZAR judicial hearing adjourned on Wednesday night.
Hooper was cited for allegedly punching Argentine five-eighth Nicolas Sanchez in an off-the-ball incident during Saturday’s (Sunday AEST) 34-9 win over the Pumas in Mendoza.
But after three hours challenging allegations of punching or striking an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee, Hooper had the case adjourned until Thursday night.
The Wallabies vice-captain is desperate to avoid a suspension and be available for Saturday week’s Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks in Sydney.
A cleanskin with an unblemished disciplinary record, Hooper entered the hearing confident of beating the charge – but was left hanging.
The hearing was heard by Nigel Hampton QC via video conference and will resume at 4pm AEST on Thursday.
SANZAR says no comment from any party will be made until the hearing is complete.
Any ban would rule Hooper out of the Rugby Championship decider, which doubles as the opening Bledisloe Cup clash with the top-ranked All Blacks.
Another draw at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium – like last year’s – would be good enough to secure a first southern hemisphere crown since 2011 as the Wallabies top the table on points differential over the world champion All Blacks.
The Wallabies must also win or draw to have any hope of winning back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 13 years.
The trans-Tasman return stoush will be played at Auckland’s Eden Park on August 15 and, as holders, New Zealand only need to draw the two-Test series to retain the coveted trophy.