Dublin - Veteran Samoan lock Kane Thompson will miss his country's opening game of the upcoming rugby union World Cup against the United States after receiving a two-match ban for punching an opponent, the governing body World Rugby announced on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old New Zealand-born second row, set to appear in his third World Cup, will also be unavailable for their final warm-up match against English club side Wasps on Saturday but his experience will be sorely missed against the Americans on September 20.
"Kane Thompson has been suspended for two weeks (two matches) after being ordered off by referee John Lacey for striking an opponent, Saia Faingaa, in Samoa's match against the Barbarians at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, on 29 August," read the World Rugby statement.
"Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available, including all broadcast angles, testimony from the player and the referee in addition to submissions from Thompson's counsel, Richard Berry, the judicial officer deemed the foul play to be low-end (which has an entry point of two weeks).
"The judicial officer determined that there were no aggravating factors. As regards mitigating factors, he determined that the player was not entitled to a reduction for mitigation due to a similar previous striking incident in December 2014 which led to a one-week suspension."
Thompson, who plays in the English Premiership for Newcastle Falcons, will be available for selection for the Pacific Islander's second pool game against two-time world champions South Africa on September 26 in Birmingham.