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Tsonga's Alesana Tuilagi's five-week ban reduced

Published 09/10/2015

Tonga's Alesana Tuilagi has had his five-week ban reduced
Tonga's Alesana Tuilagi has had his five-week ban reduced

World Cup chiefs have slashed Tonga wing Alesana Tuilagi's five-week ban - but he will still miss next Saturday's World Cup clash with Scotland.

The Newcastle Falcon was cited for striking Japan's Harumichi Tatekawa with his knee in the second minute of last Saturday's Pool B game in Milton Keynes.

But his original ban, which was due to stretch to November 10, has now been trimmed back to just two weeks.

An appeal committee met in London to decide Tuilagi's fate and partially upheld his challenge.

In a statement, the Appeal Committee said: "The finding that the player had committed an act of foul play was upheld. The Appeal Committee determined that the offence was low-end, which has an entry point of three weeks.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including his impeccable conduct during the hearing, good character and record over a long career and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors, the player was suspended for a period of two weeks.

"The player's suspension will now continue up to and including 16 October 2015 on which date he is free to return to play."

Tuilagi will now sit out his side's final tournament clash with the Scots at St James' Park.

The Pacific Islanders cannot qualify for the knock-out rounds but could seriously damage the Dark Blues ambitions if they can repeat their victory in South Africa two years ago.

But having already seen Tuilagi and Faifili Levave banned for off-the-ball incidents, head coach Stephen Betham is concerned indiscipline could cost his team again.

Three Samoans were shown yellow cards while the team conceded 19 penalites as they lost to Japan last time out.

He said: "At the end of the day, we were warned and we've got to abide by the rules. Sometime we seem to exert ourselves when we need to and that's how it is. We play hard and we play tough. That's the way we know how to play rugby.

"I just think just over-eager. We set out with a game plan and I think the boys went out there against with a bit more intensity. Sometimes it works for the good and sometimes it works against you."

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