New Zealand's Malakai Fekitoa suspended for high tackle in Ireland match

Malakai Fekitoa tackles Simon Zebo during the second half at the Aviva Stadium
Malakai Fekitoa was sin-binned for his second-half tackle on Simon Zebo

New Zealand centre Malakai Fekitoa should have been sent off for his high tackle on Ireland's Simon Zebo last Saturday, World Rugby said.

Fekitoa was sin-binned by referee Jaco Peyper for the offence during the All-Blacks' 21-9 victory in Dublin.

The centre has been suspended for one week and misses his country's final autumn Test against France on Saturday.

Flanker Sam Cane, who will miss the match in Paris with an injury, was cited but not suspended.

Cane was reported for the high tackle which ended Robbie Henshaw's game. However, the disciplinary committee ruled Cane's actions had been accidental and he had not therefore committed an act of foul play.

Flanker Cane's shoulder appeared to connect with Henshaw's neck region, and led to the Ireland centre being taken off after only 10 minutes.

Peyper opted to award only a penalty, while Cane had to leave the field shortly afterwards with an ankle injury which will rule him out of the Stade de France contest.

Fekitoa was sin-binned for his high challenge on Zebo early in the second half, but returned to score New Zealand's third try - his second of the match.

In a statement, World Rugby said a three-man independent disciplinary hearing had found Fekitoa's tackle had been reckless rather than intentional, but would have merited a red card.

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