Cape Town - The Reds have been dealt a blow with the news that wing Filipo Daugunu will miss the first four matches of Super Rugby 2020 after being suspended for a tip tackle in a pre-season match against the Rebels.
Daugunu, who scored five tries in that match, will miss the team’s opening round and crucial trip to South Africa and Argentina, before becoming available for their Round 5 clash against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.
It could have been worse for the Reds though, with Daugunu receiving a 50 percent reduction in the penalty due to his early guilty plea and remorse.
Daugunu appeared via video link before judicial officer Adam Casselden in Sydney on Wednesday.
He was judged to have committed a mid-range breach, an offence which carries a 10-week suspension. But he received the full reduction available under World Rugby regulations, giving some relief to the Reds.
Daugunu signed a four-year contract extension with the Reds late last year, with a top-up component from Rugby Australia after he met residency conditions that would allow him to qualify for the Wallabies.
The decision looked to be vindicated given his form early in the Gladstone match but his suspension will open the door for former Wallaby and Brumbies recruit Henry Speight and 2019 revelation Jock Campbell to nail down the starting spots for the Reds.
While his finishing ability is unquestioned, Daugunu’s defensive decisions and tackling style is likely to come under scrutiny if he is to return and lock down a permanent wing spot.
Daugunu was represented during Wednesday’s hearing by Mark Martin and Reds General Manager Professional Rugby, Sam Cordingley.