Rugby: Eklund's eventful afternoon ends with a three-week ban

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(Reuters) - Auckland Blues hooker Kurt Eklund has been banned for three matches after being cited for a dangerous tackle in last weekend's Super Rugby Aotearoa loss to the Canterbury Crusaders.

Eklund came on as a 46th minute replacement for Luteru Tolai in the Blues front row and played a full part in the top-of-the-table clash at Eden Park.

The 29-year-old scored two tries, was sidestepped by Richie Mo'unga as the flyhalf crossed for a score and was penalised, but not yellow carded, for the tackle on Sevu Reece that resulted in the All Blacks winger landing on his head.

The SANZAAR foul play review committee deemed the challenge dangerous and worthy of a six-week ban, cutting it in half because of mitigating factors including an early guilty plea from Eklund.

The hooker will not be available to play until the penultimate round of the competition, when the Blues play their return match against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Blues are also likely to be without Ofa Tuungafasi for a lengthy period after the prop was shown a yellow card for a dangerous clear-out on Crusaders skipper Scott Barrett late in the game.

The citing commissioner thought the shoulder charge, which caught Barrett on the face, worthy of a red card and Tuungafasi will face a judicial hearing on Wednesday.

Tuungafasi's yellow card effectively ended the home side's hopes of a late comeback and the Blues slumped to a 43-27 defeat to fall nine points behind the Crusaders in the standings.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by)