Moody banned for 2 games after Super Rugby comeback

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) All Blacks prop Joe Moody has been banned for two matches for striking Wallabies center Kurtley Beale during Saturday’s Super Rugby match between the Christchurch-based Crusaders and New South Wales Waratahs.

Moody was playing his first match since September when he suffered a shoulder injury and the penalty, handed down by a judicial panel on Monday, stalls his comeback ahead of a June test series against France. He will miss matches against the Auckland-based Blues and Wellington-based Hurricanes before returning on June 2 against the Hamilton-based Chiefs.

Moody was shown on replays to strike Beale with his elbow shortly before scoring a try which helped launch the Crusaders’ rally from a 29-0 deficit to a 31-29 win. The offense was not seen by the referee or his assistants and was determined by the citing commissioner to have merited a red card.

The panel took into account his guilty plea and previous clean record before reducing a four-match penalty to two games