Reds' flyhalf Cooper gets three-game ban for high tackle

Australia's Quade Cooper in action. Argentina v Australia - Rugby Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London, England - 8/10/16. Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic

(Reuters) - Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has been banned for three Super Rugby games following his sending off for a dangerous tackle against South Africa's Lions at the weekend.

Cooper, who was fortunate to avoid being sanctioned for a no-arms tackle earlier in the game, was red-carded early in the second half for a high tackle on Janse van Rensburg as the Reds crashed to a humiliating 44-14 loss at Ellis Park.

The competition's governing body, SANZAAR, said in a statement that Cooper's tackle merited a six-week ban but that its judicial committee reduced the sentence after taking the player's disciplinary record into account.

"With respect to sanction the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks," SANZAAR said.

"However, taking into account ... the player's admission of guilt, his remorse and the fact that the player had a good disciplinary record, having not come under notice since 2012, the Judicial Committee reduced the suspension to three weeks.

"The player is therefore suspended for three weeks, up to and including Saturday 8 April 2017."

Cooper will miss the Reds' games against the Jaguares, Hurricanes and ACT Brumbies, but will be available to face the Southern Kings at the Suncorp Stadium on April 15.

The Reds lost prop James Slipper to a ruptured Achilles tendon against the Lions, and Cooper had flown back to Brisbane from Johannesburg with the skipper in anticipation of his ban.

Jake McIntyre is likely to replace Cooper against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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