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Samoa's Lee-Lo to miss Ireland clash after receiving three-week ban

The Cardiff Blues centre was sin-binned for a high tackle against Russia.

Lee-Lo was shown yellow by Romain Poite.
Lee-Lo was shown yellow by Romain Poite.
Image: Jae Hong

SAMOA’S REY LEE-LO will miss the remainder of his side’s Rugby World Cup pool games, including the final-round clash against Ireland, after receiving a three-week ban for a reckless and dangerous high tackle.

Lee-Lo was shown a yellow card by referee Romain Poite for the tackle on Russia captain Vasily Artemyev during Tuesday’s pool game in Kumagaya, before being cited for the act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13. 

At the time, Poite was set to show the Cardiff Blues centre a red card for the tackle but the TMO convinced the French official that there was a mitigating factor and Lee-Lo was sent to the bin. 

However, an independent judicial committee today deemed the act of foul play worthy of a red card and handed down a six-week suspension, before reducing it on account of ‘Lee-Lo’s disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing.’

Lee-Lo, who has the right to appeal, will now miss Samoa’s remaining three Pool A games against Scotland [30 September], Japan [5 October] and Joe Schmidt’s Ireland [12 October].

“The committee, chaired by Wang Shao Ing (Singapore lawyer and former international player) with former international players John Langford (Australia) and Olly Kohn (Wales), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative,” a World Rugby statement read.

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“The committee deemed that the incident was an act of foul play and warranted a red card in line with the high tackle sanction framework. In following the framework, the committee determined:

  • There was an act of foul play (which was reckless, rather than deliberate)
  • The act of foul play was a high tackle
  • There was contact with the head
  • There was a high degree of danger
  • The ball carrier changed height, but not sufficient to mitigate from a red card to a yellow card.

“Given the above outcomes, the committee determined that the act of foul play warranted a red card and applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to mitigate the risk of head injuries, carrying a minimum six-match suspension.”

There was no word on Lee-Lo’s team-mate, London Irish hooker Motu Matu’u, who was sin-binned for a separate high tackle on Artemyev.

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Ryan Bailey

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