RWC2021: Matarugu cleared for Fijiana final pool game selection

Fijiana front-rower Vika Matarugu is available for selection for the final pool game against France this week after she was cleared of an act of foul play in Fiji’s 21-17 win over South Africa during the RWC2021 in Auckland last weekend.

Matarugu who started as a hooker for the game against the Springbok Women appeared before an independent judicial committee this week having been cited for an offense pursuant to Law 9.12 (striking with the shoulder), however, the committee directed that the citing hearing should instead proceed for an offense pursuant to Law 9.20(b) (making contact with an opponent in the ruck above the line of the shoulders).

Appearing before the independent Disciplinary Committee that was chaired by Helen Morgan (New Zealand), joined by former players Ofisa Tonu’u (New Zealand) and Becky Essex (England) yesterday, Matarugu admitted that she committed an act of foul play but maintained that the red card threshold had not been met.

“Having considered all the evidence, the independent committee applied World Rugby’s Head Contact Process and decided that the player’s act of foul play for a breach of Law 9.20(b) did not meet the red card threshold due to the lack of a high degree of danger in the contact. On that basis, the independent committee deemed the act of foul play did not merit further sanction, and the citing complaint was dismissed, a statement on the RWC2021 website read.

Matarugu who picked up nine caps since her debut is one of the senior players in the Fijiana squad having been part of the national XVs fold through the Super W campaign and Oceania Championship.

The Fiji vs France game is scheduled for 6.15pm (Fiji Time) this Saturday 22 October 2022.

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