Vagana cleared of dangerous tackle

Kiwi five-eighth, Nigel Vagana, is free to play in Friday's return Tri-Nations match in Auckland after being cleared of a dangerous throw charge on Saturday night.

Vagana was charged for his involvement in a tackle with teammate Frank Pritchard on Kangaroos backrower Trent Waterhouse in the 43rd minute of the game.

The case was held immediately after the match, with Vagana defended by NZRL director Selwyn Bennett.

The judiciary panel of Ron Coote, Darrell Williams and Judge Greg Woods took only five minutes to come to their verdict of not guilty.

Vagana said he was glad Waterhouse escaped uninjured.

"It would have been a bit sad to miss the game in Auckland but the hearing was good," Vagana said.

"It was unfortunate how Waterhouse ended up but luckily he didn't get injured and we can move on and look forward to the test in Auckland.

"I'm just happy to get another opportunity to represent the country.

"The next game will be harder than this one. The Australians don't lose two in a row very often. I don't think the team, with all the players they've got, would want to be involved in a team that does.

"I was pretty confident. We looked at it, I knew I didn't do anything wrong. We went to try and win the tackle. It's rugby league, it happens, the panel understood that even though you've got good intentions it doesn't always work out that way."

Asked if there was any leniency because it was a test match, he replied: "I'm not sure, you'll have to ask the panel."

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