Tautai hit with three-match ban

Taulima Tautai in action against Catalans earlier this month
Taulima Tautai in action against Catalans earlier this month

TAULIMA Tautai may have played his last game of the season.

The Wigan prop was last night handed a three-match ban for a dangerous throw on Hull FC’s Mickey Paea.

It rules him out of Warriors’ last two Super League games of the campaign - against St Helens and Castleford - as well as the play-offs semi-final.

He will be free to return to the squad for the Grand Final, should Wigan reach the Old Trafford decider.

But even then, he may struggle to command a spot in the squad after missing almost a month of action - particularly if the other forwards play well.

Tautai, 27, was cited by the RFL for the tackle on Paea for which he was sin-binned in Wigan’s 30-24 win against Hull FC. He was also fined £300 after pleading guilty to the offence.

The charge carried a punishment tariff of three to five games.

It’s a personal blow for the player, who has yet to win a major award during his eight-year professional career with Parramatta, Cronulla, Wakefield and now Wigan.

But the depth of Shaun Wane’s squad should ensure they absorb the ban.

Tony Clubb, Dom Crosby, Ben Flower and Lee Mossop are still in the mix, while Larne Patrick and Ryan Sutton both missed out last Friday.

Patrick - who will return to Huddersfield from his season-long loan at the end of the year - can play prop or back-row, while academy-product Sutton, 20, has impressed in the front-row this season and could come back into the fold.

England international Liam Farrell is also nearing a return from injury to strengthen cover and competition among the forwards.

Meanwhile, Wigan prop Flower has been appointed vice-captain of Wales for their autumn internationals.

John Kear’s squad face Scotland, France and Ireland in the European Championships. Widnes hooker Lloyd White is captain.