Australia women's rugby captain banned for biting

SYDNEY — The captain of Australia's women's rugby team has been banned for six weeks after admitting biting an opponent on the arm during a domestic match.

New Zealand-born Liz Patu faced a 12-week suspension for biting Rebecca Clough during a Super W match between Queensland and Rugby WA on Saturday. Clough alerted the referee to the incident in the 70th minute, pointing to a bite mark on her arm. Patu and Clough are teammates and leaders for Australia's Wallaroos but were on opposing teams in the Super W game.

The judicial panel allowed Patu the full 50 percent dispensation allowed under World Rugby rules, citing mitigating factors including her previous good character and clean disciplinary record.

Patu is the first player to be suspended in the Super W competition, which was founded last year.

The 29-year-old front-row forward later apologized for her action.

"I'd like to express my remorse for my actions in Saturday's match," she said. "I apologize to Rebecca Clough, the Rugby WA Women's team, my own teammates and the wider rugby public."

Patu has 48 hours to appeal her suspension but said she would accept the sanction, which rules her out of the remainder of the Super W season.

"My actions the other night were unacceptable and will not be repeated," she said. "I've played club, state and international rugby and previously haven't committed an act such as this and I accept my punishment.

"I want to reassure the rugby public, administration and my fellow players, that when I return to play I will ensure that the game is played in the right spirit and do what I can to promote the women's game in a positive manner."

Patu's ban should be completed before Australia plays two matches against Japan in July.

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