Rugby World Cup 2011

Judgement reserved in Fuimaono-Sapolu case

Judgement reserved in Fuimaono-Sapolu case

SAMOAN CENTRE and serial tweeter Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu will have to wait before finding out whether or not he won his appeal against a suspended six-month ban.

The International Rugby Board’s independent appeal committee reserved judgment at its hearing in London.

Fuimaono-Sapolu is appealing the suspended six-month suspension he was handed by the IRB during the Rugby World Cup for comments he made via Twitter about Welsh referee Nigel Owens.

He represented himself at the hearing.

A three-man panel, comprising Professor Lorne Crerar (Scotland), Graeme Mew (Canada) and Nicholas Davidson QC (New Zealand), heard submissions from the player. No new evidence was presented or new witnesses called.

It expects to reach a decision within the next seven days.

At the initial hearing in Auckland, Fuimaono-Sapolu was given a six-month suspension, suspended for two years, subject to three conditions.

These were that he gives a full and unconditional apology to Owens and unconditional retraction of any criticism of him; carry out a minimum of 100 hours' rugby community work in Samoa in support of the IRB high performance programme within the next 12 months; and that he attends and passes a recognised referee course within three months.

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