Australian Michael Hooper’s one-week suspension for a striking offence was confirmed Sunday, allowing the Wallabies to select the flanker for a crucial showdown against New Zealand.

The 23-year-old was found last week to have struck Argentinian player Nicolas Sanchez in the 59th minute of a match on July 25 in Mendoza in theRugby Championship and was suspended until August 1.

Super Rugby organisers SANZAR appealed the decision, saying it was too lenient, while the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) appealed on the basis that the ban was made in error.

But a SANZAR Appeals Committee maintained the week-long suspension as it dismissed both appeals.

The ban ruled Hooper out of a domestic game with Manly on Saturday but not the Wallabies’ RugbyChampionship match against the All Blacks on August 8 in Sydney.

“Glad it’s wrapped up and I can really look forward to this week and moving forward into the first Bledisloe,” Hooper said in comments published by the ARU on its website.

“It’s been a little bit tough but I have been preparing as if I’ve been right to play and I’ll be trying to get into the team for this week.” – Agence France-Presse

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