Reds captain Scott Reds captain Higginbotham gets three-game ban

Scott Higginbotham Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The Queensland Reds have been dealt a crippling blow with skipper Scott Higginbotham suspended for three matches by the Super Rugby judiciary and Lukhan Tui possibly facing a similar ban.

Higginbotham was red-carded after just nine minutes in Friday's defeat to the Melbourne Rebels but has been further sanctioned for an "objectively dangerous" shoulder charge on Matt Phillip.

He has been issued a three-week ban and will miss the Reds' next three games - against the Brumbies and Bulls at home, and then away to the Jaguares in Argentina.

Meanwhile, Tui has been summoned to front a SANZAAR hearing on Tuesday night after he was yellow-carded for a lifting tackle on Wallaby halfback Will Genia in the first half against the Rebels.

The two incidents reduced the Reds to 13 men, a handicap they were unable to recover from as they were thrashed 45-19 in Brad Thorn's first match in charge as coach.

Higginbotham appears to have gotten off lightly, with SANZAAR's foul play review committee initially viewing it as a six-week offence because his left shoulder landed so squarely on Phillip's head.

However, the 31-year-old's clean record, guilty plea and the fact Phillip was not injured meant the punishment was halved.

Tui was cited after his dumping tackle on Genia was adjudged to have met the red card threshold for foul play, but he rejected the proposed sanction offered to him on Sunday.

Liam Wright and Kane Douglas are in line to replace loose forward Higginbotham and lock Tui for Friday's meeting with the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium.