IRB deny Samoan player ban

2012-05-17 09:09

Wellington - The International Rugby Board (IRB) said on Thursday it had not banned firebrand Samoan Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, despite claims from the Pacific nation's coach that he was told to drop the player.

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who has a long history of stirring controversy via his Twitter account, was omitted this week from Samoa's 35-man training squad for the Pacific Nations Cup and a one-off Test against Scotland.

Coach Stephen Betham told the Samoa Observer after the squad was named that Fuimaono-Sapolu was axed because of a directive from the IRB.

"The International Rugby Board has ruled against Eliota playing rugby in IRB-run tournaments," he told the newspaper. "It was made known in a letter."

The IRB said on Twitter on Thursday that Fuimaono-Sapolu was not banned or ineligible from IRB-sanctioned or international matches.

"Comments by Samoa head coach disappointing and untrue," the tweet said.

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who will play club rugby in Japan next season after leaving British side Gloucester, said on Twitter that he had received no notification of any ban and called for the Samoa Rugby Union to produce the letter.

The player, a qualified lawyer, said he planned to release a statement on the issue.

Fuimaono-Sapolu received a suspended six month ban in October after an angry Twitter rant at the World Cup in New Zealand accusing Welsh referee Nigel Owens of racism after Samoa's 13-5 loss to South Africa.

He was in further trouble a month later over a Twitter outburst against Saracens' Owen Farrell, but the IRB decided against activating the ban, citing his "subsequent restraint... and his expressed genuine desire to put the episode behind him".

The Samoa Rugby Union could not be contacted for comment.


  • goyougoodthing - 2012-05-17 10:19

    They whole nation should be banned, they are the dirtiest players on the planet.

      Heiku - 2012-05-17 10:32

      You sound like a pommie.... Heres a tip: harden the @%#$ up!

      Flemjob - 2012-05-17 11:07

      Its a well known fact that SA players are the dirtiest. Fuimaono-Sapolu is not a dirty player, just a very outspoken and misguided one. He made a good point about the world cup, but then went too far. A few examples of repeat offenders from SA. Bakkies, Butch and Burger. Then we've also got a few guys that have killed people off the field. Downey grabbed Haskell by the balls not long ago. We cannot accuse any other nation of being the dirtiest. We're way out in front.

      Heiku - 2012-05-17 11:09

      ^ another whinging pommie. Please refer to my tip above.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-17 11:31

      A genius you are. Click on my profile... you will see a kiwi south african... I know it's a leap but it's how the interweb works

      Heiku - 2012-05-17 11:34

      No thanks. I'm a patriot and as such take pride in my ignorance.

      Raymond - 2012-05-17 12:40

      Heiku, you sound like a Japanese poem. Not bad for a punk fan. Punk!

      Flemjob - 2012-05-17 13:03

      Btw I'm from SA and support the Stormers. Atleast I'm honest about how dirty SA players are. A typical Saffa cannot see the world from someone elses point of view. Take the blinkers off guys, and stop blaming the refs.

      Heiku - 2012-05-17 13:04

      Airborne, your name is airborne. Not bad for an airborne. Airborne!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-17 14:00

      Well done Flem, SA players may be dirty, but so are the kiwis and Samoans and and. Their display during the RWC was nothing short of thuggery - were you there like I was?

      Raymond - 2012-05-17 14:58

      Heiku, haha.

  • Flemjob - 2012-05-17 14:11

    My point is that SA players are the dirtiest, and have been for decades. No I wasn't at the world cup, but managed to watch just about all the games on tv. I've also been watching rugby for about 30 years. What have I missed? Are you basing your opinion solely on what happened in the WC?

  • Etienne - 2012-05-17 14:35

    You all are so stupid. The article is about the samoan coach claiming he didnt pick him because they received a letter from the IRB. Now the letter is MIA. Sapolu is a good player and the coach needs to explain his actions. Maybe he is too scared to drop Sapolu

      Raymond - 2012-05-17 15:00

      He did drop Sapolu. Stupid.

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