Samoa player suspended over tunnel brawl

2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying, Germany vs Samoa. Germany’s Sebastian Ferreira (6) is stopped by Samoa’s Ah See Tuala (AFP pic)

SAN FRANCISCO: A member of Samoa’s Rugby World Cup Sevens squad was suspended from the final day of play on Sunday after a post-match fracas which left Welsh player Tom Williams with a tournament-ending injury, authorities confirmed.

Gordon Langkilde was benched for Samoa’s games in the consolation rounds at AT&T Park after a stormy end to Wales’ 24-19 win over the South Pacific islanders on Saturday.

“We can confirm a Samoa player has been provisionally suspended from Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 following an initial investigation into an alleged incident in the tunnel area after a match between Samoa and Wales at AT&T Park on Saturday,” World Rugby said in a statement.

“The alleged behaviour is not aligned with the sport’s values and the excellent spirit in which this competition has been played by the 40 participating teams.

“World Rugby has instigated an investigation and the Samoa player will remain provisionally suspended until the final conclusion of that process.”

A Welsh Rugby Union statement said Williams had been deemed unfit to continue playing in the tournament following the tunnel incident.

“After medical assessment relating to the incident, Tom Williams was ruled out of the match against Ireland,” the union said in a statement.

Wales were given special dispensation to replace Williams with a 13th player, Will Talbot-Davies.

Wales player Luke Treharne told AFP on Sunday the team had been shocked by the incident.

“When it all comes out you’ll see all the details of it, but it’s pretty shocking stuff,” Treharne said, describing the bust-up as unprovoked.

“Nothing really sparked it or anything, just unprovoked. Nasty stuff to see,” he said.

Wales were beaten 27-12 by Ireland in their Challenge semi-final game but then defeated Canada 35-12 in their 11th place playoff tie.