Samoa's Lee-Lo gets three-match ban for high tackle at Rugby World Cup

Tokyo (AFP) –


Samoa's Rey Lee-Lo received a three-match ban on Thursday for a high tackle at the Rugby World Cup, ruling him out of the rest of the pool stage.

The Cardiff Blues centre was yellow-carded in the first half of Samoa's Pool A win over Russia on Tuesday for his challenge on fullback Vasily Artemyev.

But a three-member independent disciplinary committee found that it was a red-card offence, handing Lee-Lo a three-game suspension that will expire after Samoa's final pool game on October 12.

"The committee deemed that the incident was an act of foul play and warranted a red card in line with the high tackle sanction framework," a statement said.

There was no word on Lee-Lo's team-mate, London Irish hooker Motu Matu'u, who was sin-binned for a separate high tackle on the same player.

In both cases, French referee Romain Poite decided against giving a red card, saying there were mitigating circumstances for the high shots as Artemyev stooped as he was tackled.

Lee-Lo will miss Samoa's crucial second Pool A clash with Scotland on Monday, as well as their games against hosts Japan on October 5 and Ireland a week later.

High tackles are under heavy scrutiny after World Rugby devised new guidelines for policing them. However, the governing body also took the highly unusual step of criticising refereeing standards after the first weekend of the World Cup.

On Wednesday, Australia wing Reece Hodge also received a three-match ban for a high tackle that went unpunished at the time, and on Thursday, the United States' John Quill became the first player to be red-carded after a high shot on England's Owen Farrell.