Charges relating to breaches of the RWC/IRB Code of Conduct arising from such comments were also all upheld.
At the initial hearing in Auckland, Fuimaono Sapolu was given the sanction of a suspension from playing for six months (suspended for a period of two years) subject to compliance with the following conditions:
• A full and unconditional apology to Nigel Owens and unconditional retraction of any criticism of him
• A minimum of 100 hours Rugby community work in Samoa in support of the IRB High Performance Programme within the next 12 months
• That the Player attends and passes a recognised Referee course within three months
The Appeal Committee comprising Professor Lorne Crerar (Chair, Scotland), Graeme Mew (Canada) and Nicholas Davidson QC (New Zealand) heard submissions from the Player, who represented himself, regarding the basis of his Appeal.
No new evidence was presented or new witnesses called.
Having heard the submissions of the parties, the Independent Appeal Committee reserved its judgement to consider all the evidence. The Committee expects to return a decision within the next seven days.
Fuimaono Sapolu therefore remains bound by the original decision of October 15, pending the final outcome of his Appeal.
Gloucester Rugby will be making no further comment on the matter until the hearing results are published.