BANNED | Samoa star handed substantial ban for dangerous tackle

Samoa centre Rey Lee-Lo appeared before an independent judicial committee having been cited for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous high tackle) in Samoa’s Rugby World Cup 2019 match against Russia on 24 September.

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.

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, carring a minimum six-match suspension.

Having acknowledged Lee-Lo’s disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-match entry point by three matches, resulting in a sanction of three matches.

Lee-Lo will miss Samoa’s three remaining pool matches. The suspension will end at midnight on 12 October after which he is free to resume playing.

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