Fiji winger Eroni Sau appeared before an independent judicial committee via video link having received a red card for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous tackle) in Fiji’s international match against Wales on 14 November, 2021.
The independent Disciplinary Committee chaired by Pamela Woodman (Scotland), joined by former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international Martyn Wood (England), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative.
The player accepted that he had made direct contact to the head of his opponent but denied that he had committed an act of foul play (and so the issue of a red card was not warranted). Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee decided, on the balance of probabilities, that there had been direct contact by the player to the head of the player’s opponent, with force and with a high degree of danger and that there was no applicable mitigation which would change the outcome from a red card.
Therefore, the committee did not find that the referee’s decision was wrong and so the red card was upheld.
On that basis, the committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head and determined that the foul play warranted a mid-range entry point. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.
Having acknowledged mitigating factors (with regard to sanction) including his apology to his opponent and his conduct during the hearing, the committee reduced the six-week entry point by one week, resulting in a sanction of five weeks meaning that the player will miss the following matches:
- Fiji v Georgia – 19 November, 2021
- Provence v Montauban – 26 November, 2021
- Provence v Mont de Marsan – 3 December, 2021
- Provence v Oyannax – 10 December, 2021
- Provence v Agen – 17 December, 2021 (substituted if the player successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention)