PLAYING international rugby is the pinnacle of a career, a reward for a talented few that have put in hour upon hour of hard graft since first picking up a ball.

Which is why offences that take place in the Test arena should be hit with suspensions that ban individuals from representing their country.

That would be the ultimate deterrent for foul play.

Andrew Hore was up before the beak yesterday for clobbering Bradley Davies off the ball in last Saturday’s game between Wales and New Zealand.

He was slapped with a five-week ban that rules him out of Saturday’s game against England… and that’s it.

Well, the suspension will run until February 24 and he will miss three Highlanders pre-season friendlies plus their Super XV opener.

There are two issues here; the problem of banning for weeks rather than matches and the victims of the punishment.

Imagine this scenario: Toby Faletau – a man who rarely gets in trouble with the ref – is sent off against Australia for a tip tackle.

That would impact Newport Gwent Dragons, who would lose their star player for the festive period, but not Wales, who would have him back in their ranks by the time the Six Nations swings around.

Rugby should copy football’s lead.

If Gareth Bale does a horror tackle on Steven Fletcher and sees red when Wales play Scotland in March he will be banned when Chris Coleman’s men go up against Croatia four days later and also September’s clash against Macedonia.

Tottenham, who pay his wages, would not suffer for his moment of madness when he had clocked in for work elsewhere.

Not only is it time for a tariff of matches rather than weeks, but it is time for offences committed in Test rugby to lead to bans on the international stage.