4 Oct 2011

Samoa centre suspended from all rugby for Tweeting abuse at ref

5:51 pm on 4 October 2011

The Samoa centre Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono has been suspended from all rugby after he failed to appear at a judicial hearing in Auckland after he criticising Welsh referee Nigel Owens on social networking website Twitter.

Sapolu Fuimaono called Owens biased and racist after his side's 13-5 World Cup loss to South Africa last week and was ordered to appear at the hearing.

The International Rugby Board says the hearing was adjourned when the player failed to appear and he has been provisionally suspended until he faces the charges.

Sapolu Fuimaono, who plays for English club Gloucester, had said in his expletive-laden message last week that he was retiring from international rugby after Samoa failed to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Owens had an indifferent refereeing display in the match showing a controversial red card to Samoa fullback Paul Williams.

The IRB though has since backed Owens appointing him to control Sunday's quarter-final between New Zealand and Argentina.