17 May 2012

Sport: IRB says comments by Samoa's rugby coach are untrue

5:53 am on 17 May 2012

The International Rugby Board has hit back at claims it told the Samoa Union not to select Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu in it's squad for the Pacific Nations Cup.

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham said Fuimaono-Sapolu was overlooked for the national team after the IRB wrote a letter to the Samoa Rugby Union, saying there was a sanction against the 31 year old.

Fuimaono-Sapolu was handed a six-month suspended ban during the World Cup for accusing Welsh referee Nigel Owens of bias.

The ban was later extended to nine months suspended following comments he made about Saracens centre Owen Farrell.

In a posting on Twitter overnight, the IRB says Fuimaono Sapolu is not banned or ineligible for IRB or international matches and that comments by Samoa's head coach are disappointing and untrue.

Despite missing selection for the Pacific Nations Cup, the 23-test veteran has been included in the IRB-sanctioned Barbarians squad named to player England, Ireland and Wales later this month.