Monday, 3 October 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011: Fuimaono-Sapolu banned from playing

Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu Fuimaono-Sapolu deleted tweets directed at Welsh referee Owens

Samoa centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has been provisionally suspended from playing rugby after failing to attend a World Cup misconduct hearing.
He was charged by organisers for a Twitter rant, calling Welsh referee Nigel Owens "biased" and "racist".
Owens, who denied the claims, refereed Samoa's 13-5 loss to South Africa.
The hearing was adjourned and the Gloucester player provisionally banned from participating at any level of rugby, pending a hearing.
Samoa were eliminated from the tournament after their loss to the Springboks, which led Fuimaono-Sapolu to question the appointment of Owens.
Welsh referee Nigel Owens Owens sent off Samoa full-back Paul Williams The 30-year-old, whose whereabouts is unknown, claimed Owens could not be neutral on the basis that Wales stood to benefit from a South Africa win.
A Rugby World Cup statement said Samoa Rugby Union had made "reasonable attempts" to inform the player of the charges he faced and added that any sanction against the union would be addressed during Fuimaono-Sapolu's hearing.
Fuimaono-Sapolu had escaped official punishment earlier in the tournament when he criticised organisers over Samoa's schedule, comparing their treatment to slavery, the holocaust and apartheid.
He later apologised for his choice of words but Samoa were warned action could be taken if there were any repeat.
Owens endured a difficult night on Friday, showing a red card to Samoa full-back Paul Williams late in the game for a clash with Heinrich Brussow.
The referee, who will take charge of the quarter-final match between New Zealand and Argentina on Sunday, responded on Facebook: "One thing I am not is racist and a cheat."
After the game the referee had tweeted: "That was the hardest game I have ever had to ref. Did my best and no regrets."

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