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Fiji winger cops five-week ban for Williams head contact

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Wednesday Nov 17, 2021

Eroni Sau has been handed a five-week suspension from the game following his sending off during his side’s defeat against Wales last weekend.

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Appearing before the independent Disciplinary Committee, which was chaired by Pamela Woodman, the winger had his entry-point ban of six weeks reduced by seven days due to the admission of guilt.

He will therefore miss Fiji’s final end-of-year international against Georgia this weekend as well as four French ProD2 matches for his club Provence.

Sau was dismissed by referee Nic Berry during the first half of the 38-23 defeat in Cardiff after striking Welsh winger Johnny Williams. Contact was made in a secondary attempt to get the ball after Sau made an initial tackle.

WATCH: Slow motion footage of INSANE Fiji try vs Wales is difficult to stop watching

The disciplinary decision was subsequently made following a hearing in Dublin.

“The independent Disciplinary Committee chaired by Pamela Woodman (Scotland), joined by former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international Martyn Wood (England), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative.

“The player accepted that he had made direct contact to the head of his opponent but denied that he had committed an act of foul play (and so the issue of a red card was not warranted). Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee decided, on the balance of probabilities, that there had been direct contact by the player to the head of the player’s opponent, with force and with a high degree of danger and that there was no applicable mitigation which would change the outcome from a red card.

“Therefore, the committee did not find that the referee’s decision was wrong and so the red card was upheld.

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“On that basis, the committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head and determined that the foul play warranted a mid-range entry point. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.

“Having acknowledged mitigating factors (with regard to sanction) including his apology to his opponent and his conduct during the hearing, the committee reduced the six-week entry point by one week, resulting in a sanction of five weeks.”

Here is another look at it, with more context than only the replay.

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