Tuilagi gets punishment cut

Alesana Tuilagi (Gallo Images)
Alesana Tuilagi (Gallo Images)

London - World Cup disciplinary chiefs on Friday banned Canada centre Nick Blevins for five weeks for a "neck roll" tackle in a group match against Romania.

But Samoa's Alesana Tuilagi had his five week ban cut to two weeks on appeal after his punishment provoked a storm of protests.

Canada have ended their Pool D campaign after four straight defeats - including 17-15 against Romania in Leicester on Tuesday - so the ban on Blevins will not affect the tournament.

But the punishment for a dangerous tackle close to the head means the 27-year-old cannot play again until November 16.

Judicial officer Simon Thomas of Wales had considered a seven week ban but brought it down because of Blevins' "conduct prior to and at the hearing, his remorse, good character and disciplinary record," said a World Rugby statement.

Samoa's Tuilagi had been found guilty of a dangerous tackle for kneeing Japan's Harumichi Tatekawa in their Pool B game.

His five-week ban was widely criticised on social media by former players as video replays indicated a problem with the technique of the smaller Tatekawa as he tried to stop Tuilagi in full flight.

An appeal committee ruled that it was a foul but of "low-end" gravity.

Taking into account Tuilagi's "impeccable conduct during the hearing, good character and record over a long career and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors," the ban was cut to two weeks. Tuilagi's World Cup is over though as he will miss Saturday's game against Scotland.

Romania captain Mihai Macovei has appealed against a two-week ban that rules him out of his country's final Pool D game against Italy on Sunday.

Romania trail Italy by a point going into the game and could take third place - and automatic qualification into the 2019 World Cup - if they win.

Macovei scored two tries in Romania's 17-15 win over Canada but was banned for a dangerous tackle during the game.

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