Crusaders light on locks as Dalzell cops ban

The Crusaders are running out of locks.

Hamish Dalzell has copped a three match Super Rugby ban after pleading guilty to a dangerous tackle.

He will be out until May 20.

The incident occurred in the 67th minute of Crusaders upset loss to the Waratahs in Sydney last Saturday.

With captain and fellow lock Scott Barrett also serving a suspension and Mitchell Dunshea, Quinten Strange and Zach Gallagher out injured the Super Rugby Aotearoa champions have now taken another hit to their already depleted second row stocks.

A decision on whether Gallagher will be available for this weekend's match against the Western Force will be made over the next few days, and the Crusaders won't be calling in any replacements at this point.

Red and yellow cards are also beginning to mount against the Crusaders, with Dalzell's sending off against NSW followed by the sinbinning of flanker Pablo Matera for illegally sacking a maul.

Assistant coach Tamati Ellison said players helping the initial tackler need to be particularly careful.

"Often it's the second man in. So, if they get their feet wrong and the attackers falling, it's hard to pull out of that once you've accelerated in. So, really important they keep their eyes open and their hit height down."

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Michael Heron QC (Chair), Stefan Terblanche and John Langford assessed Dalzell's case.

In his finding, Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Michael Heron QC ruled the following:

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.13."

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level. Taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's clean judicial record, his acceptance of foul play and his expressed remorse, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

"The Player was informed of his ability to apply for the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention. Any player who has a citing or red card upheld by a disciplinary panel for foul play involving the Head Contact Process may apply to have the final week of their sanction substituted by undertaking a coaching intervention that specifically addresses the technical tackle/contact technique-error that caused or contributed to the foul play. This intervention will be overseen by the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Expert Review Panel - a panel of expert independent coaches - and is only be available to first time offenders."

"The player is therefore suspended for 3 weeks, up to and including 20 May 2022."