6 Oct 2011

Samoan player's misconduct hearing adjourned

9:28 am on 6 October 2011

Samoa's Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu has stood by his claims of referee racism and accuses his own union of lying, but has promised to stop making provocative comments on Twitter.

The 30-year-old has appeared at an IRB misconduct hearing over his comments, made on the social networking site, that Welsh referee Nigel Owens is racist.

As he arrived at the Auckland hearing on Wednesday the player slammed a statement by the Samoan Rugby Union that he had failed to respond to their calls to attend the first day of the hearing on Tuesday.

Fuimaono Sapolu had been provisionally suspended for failing to turn up on Tuesday.

On the way into the proceedings he was defiant, saying rugby players have a right to freedom of speech. But he was more subdued as he left, saying he had been given a fair hearing and will refrain from comments about the IRB.

The hearing resumes in 10 days' time.

In the wake of the comments, The Samoan Rugby Union is considering a social networking ban for players.

Chief executive Su'a Peter Schuster says it is considering similar rules to those of the All Blacks, who have a blanket social networking ban during the Rugby World Cup.