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Wednesday Apr 10, 2024

Fiji Drua player Lomani slapped with ban following elbow attack

Frank Lomani has received a six-match ban after attacking a Melbourne Rebels player in an “incredibly vulnerable position” in last weekend’s Super Rugby match. The Super Rugby Pacific Foul Play Review Committee lowered the sanction from a 10-week suspension entry point to just six weeks after an early guilty plea was input.

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“The entry point for the offence was 10 weeks, assessed as top-end range for intentional and deliberate physical abuse of striking with an elbow to the back of the victim player’s head and causing injury,” their statement read.

“The victim player was in an incredibly vulnerable position with limited ability, if any, to defend himself.

“The player was given a discount for entering an early guilty plea and other relevant mitigating factors.

“In providing the player the sanction, the committee emphasised that this sort of incident is not tolerated in any form of the game.”

The Background

Fiji Drua were defeated by their hosts Melbourne Rebels on Friday in a battle that spilt out well beyond the norms of rugby. Reminiscent of the pre-professional era of rugby union, the Drua saw red on two occasions with acts that had more place in MMA than they do in modern-day rugby.

Rugby players can often argue that a little ‘argy-bargy’ can be excused in a match, what with the intense nature of the sport and the pressures being thrust upon them. The scuffles that players are often separated from tend to involve nothing more than a bit of shoving and the odd choice word or two.

On this occasion, however, the infringements took them well beyond the realms of being able to argue their case.

The Incidents

First Red Card

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First up, an elbow from scrum-half Frank Lomani to the back of the head of Rebels lock Josh Canham left fans in uproar. Initially missed, referee Damon Murphy shortly called the play back to review the footage. Once the incident had become clear, the official had no choice but to send the Fijian international off.

Second Red Card

The drama didn’t stop there. Shortly before the end of the match it was the turn of prop Jone Koroiduadua to throw a headbutt the way of Alex Mafi. Koroiduadua has received a two-game ban with the committee finding “limited contact with the head”.

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