Pacific Island players have furiously reacted to Owen Farrell’s red card being rescinded after George Moala was handed a hefty ban for his sending-off.
The likes of Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, Vaea Fifita, Lima Sopoaga and Steven Luatua have voiced their outrage at the decision.
Farrell escaped a ban and is free to captain England this weekend and throughout the Rugby World Cup, while Tonga centre Moala is set to miss the tournament after his tip tackle on Canada’s Ben LeSage.
George Moala banned for five weeks
Moala, a former All Black, was issued the red card during Tonga’s Rugby World Cup warm-up victory over Canada and has been suspended for five matches.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) August 10, 2023
A World Rugby statement read: “Tonga’s George Moala, appeared before an independent judicial committee on Monday, 14 August, having received a red card for an offence contrary to Law 9.18 (A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground) during the international test match between Tonga and Canada on Thursday, 10 August.
“The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Stephen Hardy (Australia), joined by former player Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) and former international referee Valeriu Toma (Romania).
“The player accepted that foul play occurred and that the offending warranted a red card. The Committee considered the Player’s submissions as to entry point along with all other evidence and decided that the offence warranted a mid-range sanction (ten matches). Having considered the mitigating factors, the Committee decided to reduce the sanction by the maximum mitigation of 50 per cent. The matches to which the sanction applies is to be confirmed.”
Pacific Island players react to Owen Farrell and George Moala’s bans
Pacific Island players took to social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to express their dismay and outrage on the two decisions.
Moala’s Tonga teammate Ahki led the reaction in his reply to a post by Andrew Forde in reaction to Farrell’s verdict, which read: “World Rugby have now set a precedent that anything like this is not worthy of a red card come the World Cup. You can guarantee a less dangerous offence will result in a red card for a Tier 2 side. Expect uproar when that occurs.”
The Toulouse centre wrote: “Exactly george Moala has a clear record and @WorldRugby has given him 10 weeks for a tip tackle? This guy has had how many red cards and gets off clean? How? F**k this p***es me off.”
Exactly george Moala has a clear record and @WorldRugby has given him 10 weeks for a tip tackle? This guy has had how many red cards and gets off clean? How? Fuck this pisses me off https://t.co/nd7jeICRap
— pita ahki (@AhkiPita) August 15, 2023
Fellow Tongan, Cooper Vuna said that the decision set a precedent for all players in the United Kingdom.
“Take away for everyone playing in the UK community ,watching the pro game – “if they can do it , you can”! @RFU”
Scarlets and Tonga lock Sam Lousi added: “Tier 2 teams really do get treated differently.”
His club and country teammate Fifita called for fair treatment, posting: “treat everyone the same!!!”
Samoa and Clermont number eight Fritz Lee shared his thoughts on Instagram, where he implied that had a Pacific Islands player made the tackle Farrell did, they would not get away with it.
— RugbyInsideLine (@RugbyInsideLine) August 15, 2023
Former Samoa captain and now CEO of Pacific Welfare, Dan Leo, added: “The 10-week Moala ban in light of Farrell’s non-sanction shows how far we still have to go @pacificwelfare #OceansApartFilm”
Moala’s former All Blacks teammate, Sopoaga, posted: “10 weeks for this though. Seems fair considering the bans being handed out at the minute. Oh wait……”
— Lima Sopoaga (@LimaSopoaga) August 15, 2023
With fellow Samoa international Luatua reacting to Farrell’s verdict saying “No Ban? What a joke.”
Finally, Fekitoa added: “Free George Moala. Let the man play #RWC2023”