LONDON, 6 Oct – Alesana Tuilagi (Samoa) has been suspended for five weeks for an act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4(a) (striking with the knee).

Following a review of video footage, Tuilagi was cited by independent Citing Commissioner Yves Thieffine (France) under Law 10.4(a) for striking Japan player Harumichi Tatekawa with his knee during the second minute of Samoa’s Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool B match against Japan at Stadium MK on 3 October.

Tuilagi denied the act of foul play. Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles, medical evidence, evidence from the player and submissions from his legal representatives, the Judicial Officer Antony Davies (England) upheld the citing on the basis that the player had committed the act of foul play.

With respect to the sanction, the Judicial Officer determined that the offence was mid-range, which has an entry point of eight weeks. However, taking into account mitigating factors including his impeccable conduct during the hearing, good character and record over a long career and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors, the player was suspended for a period of five weeks.

In the context of the Rugby World Cup a week equates to one match. The suspension takes effect immediately, therefore Tuilagi is suspended for Samoa’s final Pool B match against Scotland on 10 October. Thereafter the suspension reverts to weeks with the player’s club Newcastle Falcons and the player is suspended up to and including 9 November, 2015. The player is free to play again on 10 November, 2015.

The player has 48 hours in which to appeal from receipt of the written decision.