Fekitoa banned, Cane free to play

Date published: November 22 2016

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All Blacks back Malakai Fekitoa has been suspended for one week, while flanker Sam Cane is free to play.

Fekitoa, the New Zealand centre, appeared on Tuesday in London (Heathrow) before an independent Disciplinary Committee (appointed by World Rugby), having been cited by an independent Citing Commissioner (appointed by World Rugby) for an allegedly dangerous tackle in contravention of Law 10.4 (e) in the match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Fekitoa accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but asserted that it would not have warranted a red card.

The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Derek Bevan (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence.

The Disciplinary Committee found that Fekitoa’s actions would have warranted a red card, albeit that he had acted recklessly rather than intentionally. When considering sanction, the Disciplinary Committee concluded that the offending merited a low-end entry point based on World Rugby’s scale of seriousness, which carries a two-week playing suspension.

The Disciplinary Committee further found that there were no aggravating factors and that there were a number of mitigating factors (including Mr Fekitoa’s immediate acknowledgement of wrongdoing, his previous clean disciplinary record and his good conduct at the hearing) such that his playing suspension be reduced to one week.

Fekitoa is therefore suspended from playing rugby for a total of one week, up to and including Sunday, November 27.

Meanwhile Cane, the New Zealand flank forward, appeared on Tuesday in London (Heathrow) before an independent Disciplinary Committee (appointed by World Rugby), having been cited by an independent Citing Commissioner (appointed by World Rugby) for allegedly tackling an opponent dangerously in contravention of Law 10.4 (e).

Cane did not accept that he had committed an act of foul play.

The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Derek Bevan (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), having viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence, concluded that Cane’s actions had been accidental and that he had not therefore committed an act of foul play.

The citing complaint was not upheld and Cane is therefore free to resume playing immediately.

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