The misconduct hearing was held on Tuesday, 4 October in Auckland into the alleged breaches by Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu (Samoa) of the RWC/IRB Code of Conduct in relation to comments made about referee Nigel Owens via the public social media network Twitter. Mr Fuimaono Sapolu failed to attend the hearing which was conducted by the appointed Judicial Officer His Honour Jeff Blackett (England).
The Judicial Officer determined that due to the player’s failure to attend the hearing he would adjourn the case to an appropriate time when he would face the charges against him. Pending the holding of such hearing he ordered that Mr Fuimaono Sapolu be provisionally suspended from all participation in the game of Rugby Union.
The Samoa Rugby Union, who were responsible for the player during the RWC tournament, accepted the single charge of misconduct against them for failure to control Mr Fuimaono Sapolu. Rugby World Cup Limited accepted that the Samoa Rugby Union had made reasonable attempts to inform the player of the misconduct charges against him. The question of sanction will be addressed at the same hearing as that of Mr Fuimaono Sapolu.Fuimaono Sapolu hearing adjourned
The Judicial Officer adjourned the case at noon.