Vaea Fifita’s Rugby World Cup is over after he was banned for four games following his red card in Tonga’s 45-17 loss to Scotland.
The former All Blacks and Hurricanes flanker was sent off after he charged into a ruck and rammed his shoulder into the head of Scotland’s Finn Russell in the 77th minute.
Fifita was immediately shown a yellow card, but that was upgraded to red after the conclusion of the match.
He faced a disciplinary committee on Tuesday, which was chaired by Brenda Heather-Latu (Samoa), alongside former test players Leon Lloyd (England) and Mike Mika (Samoa).
Fifita accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but challenged the foul play review official’s decision that the act warranted a red card.
However, the committee concluded that: a reckless act of foul play had occurred; head contact had occurred; the degree of danger was high; and the tackle was always illegal and therefore mitigation was not available.
After taking all considerations into account, including the player’s remorse and previous disciplinary record, the committee handed down a ban of four matches.
Fifita will therefore miss Tonga’s remaining Rugby World Cup games against the Springboks and Romania, as well as two games for his Welsh club side Scarlets.
The ban is another blow to Tonga’s faltering campaign, which has featured two heavy defeats to Ireland and Scotland so far.
Tongan winger Afusipa Taumoepeau was also yellow carded for a high shot late in the first half against Scotland, highlighting the side’s disciplinary issues.
Tonga entered the Rugby World Cup with high hopes due to the number of former All Blacks in their ranks, with Charles Piutau, Augustine Pulu and Malakai Fekitoa also committing to the island nation.
However, their lack of tests against quality opposition in this Rugby World Cup cycle was evident against the well-drilled Irish and Scottish, both of whom are ranked in the top five in the world.
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS