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Wales captain Warburton banned for 3 weeks

Updated: October 16, 2011, 07:40

AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) Wales captain Sam Warburton was banned for three weeks on Sunday, a day after being red carded for making a dangerous tip tackle during his team's 9-8 loss to France in the Rugby World Cup semifinals.

Warburton admitted to the offense in a judicial hearing in Auckland after being sent off in the 18th minute of Saturday's match by Irish referee Alain Rolland.

Independent judicial officer Christopher Quinland of England took evidence from Warburton and Wales coach Warren Gatland and considered video evidence before deciding on the penalty.

The suspension began immediately and runs until Nov. 6, ruling Warburton out of the World Cup third-place playoff between Wales and Australia.

Meanwhile, IRB referees manager Paddy O'Brien defended Rolland after criticism from the Wales camp that the tackle wasn't worthy of a red card and the referee acted too hastily.

"Alain Rolland's decision to issue a red card was absolutely correct in law and in keeping with the clear instructions that match officials have received in recent years regarding dangerous tackling,'' O'Brien said in a statement.

Rolland, he added, "had a clear view of the incident, which enabled him to make an accurate and instant decision.''

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