Ben Lam suspended for three matches
Manu Samoa wing Ben Lam has been suspended for three matches after an independent Disciplinary Committee hearing on the dangerous tackle he made when playing against Japan resulted in a red card.
According to a statement issued by World Rugby, Lam appeared before the committee for an offence contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous tackle) as a result of a review by the foul play review official in Samoa’s Rugby World Cup 2023 Pool D match against Japan last Thursday, 28 September 2023.
The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Roddy Dunlop KC (Scotland) and was joined by former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland) and former international player John Langford (Australia).
"The player accepted that foul play had occurred and that the offence warranted a red card,” reads the World Rugby statement. “The Committee noted that the offence carries a mandatory minimum mid-range sanction (six matches), and having considered the mitigating factors, including admission of foul play and correctness of the red card at the first opportunity, an exemplary disciplinary record, apology to the player and good character, reduced the sanction by the maximum mitigation of 50 per cent."
The final sanction of three matches is to be applied as follows:
England v Samoa – 7 October
RWC 2023 quarter-final should Samoa qualify or Montpellier v Racing 92 – 29 October
RWC 2023 semi-final should Samoa qualify or Bordeaux v Montpellier – 4 November*
“The player intends to apply to take part in the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme to substitute the final match of the sanction for a coaching intervention aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play subject to successful completion.
“The player has the right of appeal within 48 hours of the issuing of the full written decision.”
Meanwhile, Manu Samoa is gearing up to take on England. For Head Coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua, the game is about ensuring that Samoa gets an automatic berth in the next World Cup.
"We still have one more game and we have a lot to play for. We may be out of the quarter-finals, but we want to make sure that we can automatically qualify for Australia 2027, which is a very big carrot for us,” he said. "We don’t get many chances to play England so we will be putting everything into that game and we want to finish the tournament on a positive note."
"It has been a tough 12 days with the three games. It’s taken a bit of a toll on us physically but now we have eight or nine days until we play England so hopefully it’s not too bad. We’ll have a better idea in the next 24 to 48 hours."
It will also be interesting to see if the coach will change his side for the England game and allow the younger players to start.
Manu Samoa still has a slim chance to make the quarter-finals. That will happen if Argentina and Japan draw their match and Manu Samoa get a bonus point win over England. This result would mean that Argentina and Japan end up with 10 points each and Samoa will have 11, making them second in the pool.
Samoa faces England on Sunday, 4 October 2023 at 4.45 am Apia time.
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