Fuimaono-Sapolu handed six month suspended ban
Samoa centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has been handed a six-month suspended ban for his scathing Twitter criticism of Welsh referee Nigel Owens.
The Gloucester midfielder accused Owens of bias after Samoa's 13-5 defeat by South Africa in the pool stage.
The International Rugby Board upheld the misconduct charges against Fuimaono-Sapolu and have ruled that his sentance is suspended for two years, pending three conditions.
Fuimaono-Sapolu has to make a "full and unconditional apology to Nigel Owens and unconditional retraction of any criticism of him", attend a minimum of 100 hours rugby community work in Samoa within the next 12 months and also attend and pass a recognised referee course within the next three months.
"If the player fails to comply with any of the above conditions or makes any public criticism which results in a proven misconduct offence regarding a match official, the IRB or the disciplinary process, the six-month playing suspension will be activated immediately," read an IRB statement.
Independent judicial officer Jeff Blackett, who heard Sapolu's case, labelled the player's behaviour towards Owens "offensive" and insisted there was "absolutely no evidence the referee was biased in the sense that he deliberately favoured one side or the other".
It is not the first time Fuimaono-Sapolu has been in trouble during this year's World Cup for comments made on Twitter.
Earlier in the tournament, after Samoa's defeat by Wales, he accused World Cup organisers of "slavery" and a "holocaust" for the way teams such as his had to play twice in four days while the Welsh had a week off between matches.
The 30-year-old has a right of appeal within 36 hours of notification of Blackett's written decision.
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