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Tongan Thor 'guilty', but free to play

NEWS: The Rebels’ Wallaby prop Taniela Tupou has been cleared to continue playing, despite being found ‘guilty’ of foul play.

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Tupou, affectionately known as the ‘Tongan Thor’, was issued with a warning for foul play in his team’s 17-53 Super Rugby loss to the Brumbies last Friday.

No action was taken against Tupou in the match, but he was cited.

The Super Rugby Pacific Foul Play Review Committee reviewed the citing of Tupou contravening law 9.20: Dangerous play in a ruck or maul.

Tupou has subsequently been issued with a warning for his actions.

A Warning may be issued by the Super Rugby Pacific Foul Play Review Committee for foul play incidents that are very close to, but in their opinion, do not meet the red card threshold.

The incident occurred in the 65th minute of the match between Brumbies and Rebels in Canberra.

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The Super Rugby Pacific Foul Play Review Committee of Stephen Hardy (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and Ofisa Tonu’u assessed the case.

In his finding, Hardy ruled that – during a detailed review of all the available evidence – the foul play did not reach the red card threshold.

“Concerning sanction the FPRC deemed the act of foul play merited a warning as it was close to, but did not reach the red card threshold,” Hardy said in a statement.

“Fortunately, no head contact or significant injury resulted from the incident.

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“Had there been head contact and/or a more severe injury, the outcome may well have been a different one for the player.

“In light of the above, the citing was dismissed with a warning sanction imposed on the player for the offence which will remain on the player’s record.

“The player is therefore free to resume playing.”

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* Meanwhile, The Super Rugby Pacific FPRC reviewed the citing of Adrian Choat from the Blues team for contravening Law 9.13: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.

Adrian Choat has been issued with a warning for his actions.

The incident occurred in the 16th minute of the match between Crusaders and Blues in Christchurch last Saturday.

The Super Rugby Pacific FPRC of Stephen Hardy (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and Ofisa Tonu’u assessed the case.

In his finding, Hardy ruled that the foul play did not reach the red card threshold.

“The player’s actions constituted foul play with direct head contact, but the committee found the offending to be less than a high degree of danger, with low to mid-level degree of force, arising from the smother-like absorption in contact with no follow-through within the tackle, the player not running (and rather stepping) into contact, and a consequent lower degree of danger.

“Concerning sanction the FPRC deemed the act of foul play merited a warning as it was close to, but did not reach the red card threshold.

“In light of the above, the citing was dismissed with a warning sanction imposed on the player for the offence which will remain on the player’s record.”

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