New Zealand Sevens escape punishment

Date published: February 11 2016

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New Zealand's Sevens team has escaped punishment after they fielded eight players in the final stages of their pool match against Australia at the Sydney Sevens last weekend.

Video footage after that clash showed the All Blacks Sevens' numerical advantage as they went on to score a try to secure them a 17-17 draw.

The result clinched their spot in the knockout stages and they went on to beat Australia 27-24 in the Cup Final.

World Rugby had already confirmed on Sunday that the result from that match would stand and issued a statement on Thursday in which they cleared New Zealand, saying the incident was an "inadvertent breach" and that no charges would be laid.

The statement read: "World Rugby has concluded its investigation into an alleged breach of Law 3 by the New Zealand Sevens team during the final Pool A match at the Sydney round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. 

"Law 3.2 provides for the sanction of a penalty kick where a team fields more than the maximum number of players. The referee was not aware of the additional New Zealand player on the pitch prior to the conclusion of the match.

"The investigation, undertaken by the designated disciplinary official, has determined that, while New Zealand did field eight players, it was an inadvertent breach as a consequence of a number of factors relating to the management of replacements involving a number of parties.

"World Rugby’s misconduct process caters for unsporting actions, cheating and ill-discipline (amongst other behaviours) which are at a level that bring or have the potential to bring the Game into disrepute. 

"Having fully investigated the incident, the designated disciplinary officer has concluded that the laying of a misconduct charge is not appropriate or warranted given the circumstances as the threshold had not, in his determination, been met. 

"While such incidents are rare, World Rugby is committed to ensuring that there is no such repetition on the series and will ensure that all teams and officials pay particular attention to the process of replacement management."

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