Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Sapolu suspended after no-show

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu

Controversial Gloucester centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has been provisionally suspended after he failed to attend a World Cup misconduct hearing in Auckland.

The Samoa international faced alleged breaches of the Rugby World Cup/International Rugby Board code of conduct.

He accused Welsh referee Nigel Owens of bias after Samoa's tournament-ending defeat against world champions South Africa last Friday, venting his feelings on Twitter.

Fuimaono-Sapolu had already been warned about remarks he made on the social media netwoek site earlier in the tournament.

But the 30-year-old did not appear at a scheduled hearing on Tuesday in front of appointed judicial officer, England's Judge Jeff Blackett.

Blackett adjourned the case following Fuimaono-Sapolu's no-show, and he provisionally suspended him from all participation in rugby, pending the hearing taking place.

His club Gloucester, though, are likely to take a dim view of their player's conduct as he prepares for a return to the west country and resuming his Aviva Premiership career.

In a statement, Rugby World Cup said: "The judicial officer determined that due to the player's failure to attend the hearing he would adjourn the case to an appropriate time when he would face the charges against him.

"Pending the holding of such hearing, he ordered that Mr Fuimaono-Sapolu be provisionally suspended from all participation in the game of rugby union.

"The Samoa Rugby Union, who were responsible for the player during the Rugby World Cup tournament, accepted the single charge of misconduct against them for failure to control Mr Fuimaono-Sapolu. Rugby World Cup Limited accepted that the Samoa Rugby Union had made reasonable attempts to inform the player of the misconduct charges against him."

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