Lachie Swinton's World Cup hopes, and Waratahs' Super Rugby chances, have been hit after the backrower copped a seven-week ban.
It is the longest ban imposed on an Australian since Brumbies wing Chance Peni was hit with one of the same length five years ago.
Waratahs will need to make the finals for Swinton to play Super Rugby again this season, but the NSW team's chances of doing so will now be much harder.
The enforcer was suspended for a late, high tackle on Jake Strachan 21 seconds into Saturday's victory over Western Force. Strachan, who had just kicked downfield, was ruled out of the second half with concussion.
Waratahs are currently ninth, but on equal points with Fijian club Drua in the eighth-and-last finals qualifying spot.
The ban is also a blow to the 26-year-old's World Cup aspirations. The flanker, who last played for the Wallabies in 2021, was called into the international squad at the weekend but will struggle to keep his place if not playing.
Swinton's tackle was not punished at the time but he was later cited and a SANZAAR Judicial Committee hearing imposed the ban after meeting on Tuesday.
"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from the Player and his legal representative, Mr Aaron Lloyd, the Judicial Committee upheld the Citing under Law 9.13," committee chair Helen Morgan ruled.
"With respect to sanction, the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play was reckless, with the contact point directly made with the head, high force and no mitigating factors present.
"The Committee found the incident was highly dangerous and, after considering all relevant factors of World Rugby's Head Contact Process and sanctioning table, decided the foul play merited a top-end entry point of 10 weeks.
"Taking into account mitigating factors, including the Player's acceptance of guilt that the incident was foul play, conduct at the hearing and remorse, the Judicial Committee reduced the suspension by three weeks.
"The player is therefore suspended for 7 weeks, up to and including 3 June 2023."