Tonga's David Halaifonua has been suspended by the International Rugby Board (IRB), via IRB.com, for six weeks due to a vicious, illegal hit on Canada winger Matt Evans.
Bleacher Report covered the initial aftermath of the match, in which Tonga head coach Mana Otai claimed that his players were being targeted by officials and that he could see no reason for any punishment.
On June 12, the IRB's disciplinary office issued its own verdict on Halaifonua's actions, and those of two of his Tongan teammates, who were also suspended for their parts in the violent match.
Tonga’s David Halaifonua appeared before independent Judicial Officer, Alan Hudson in on Kingston, Ontario on June 8, having been cited by David Pelton for a dangerous tackle offence in contravention of Law 10.4(e) in the 16th minute of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup match against Canada.
The player wished to contest the offence. The Judicial Officer, having heard all the evidence, determined that the action was reckless and not premeditated. Given that the tackled Canada player was forced to leave the field of play through injury, the Judicial Officer determined that the offence should merit the top end entry point level for the sanction which is 10+ weeks.
Having also considered mitigating factors, including remorse and excellent record, the suspension was set at six weeks. The player may resume playing on July 21, 2013.
Tonga will now have to make due without three of its players for the remainder of its 2013 Pacific Nations Cup Tournament.
Canada's head coach Kieran Crowley had his own comments on the incident when he spoke to Bleacher Report in Toronto this week.
"If my players did what those players had done, I would have expected them to get carded. If one of my players had been responsible for the hit on Matt Evans, I would have expected a red card, and I would have expected the judiciary to deal with them.
I don't know how he can say they were legal tackles. My understanding of a tackle is that you have to use your arms, for a start."
As Bleacher Report's preview of Canada's next match reported, Evans is listed as doubtful for his country's clash with Ireland this weekend.
Jeff Hull is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
Unless otherwise stated, all quoted material was obtained first-hand.
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