Fiji winger Eroni Sau handed five-week ban

Eroni Sau was red-carded during the game against Wales
Eroni Sau was red-carded during the game against Wales

Fiji winger Errant Eroni has been handed a five-week ban following his red-card incident in the recently concluded fixture against Wales played at Principality Stadium last weekend.

Sau was sent-off by referee Nic Berry during the 25th minute of the game for a dangerous tackle on Welsh winger Johnny Williams. His absence was clearly felt by Fiji as they succumbed to a 23-38 defeat.

The 31-year-old attended an independent disciplinary hearing chaired by Pamela Woodman (Scotland), joined by former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international Martyn Wood (England) and upheld the red-card decision by Berry.

He was initially handed a six-week ban which was reduced by a week taking into account the mitigating factors.

“The independent Disciplinary Committee 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.”