World Rugby dismisses Kepu appeal

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu will be sidelined until March 5, after World Rugby dismissed NSW's appeal on Wednesday.

Kepu was suspended for three matches - a Waratahs trial match and the opening two Super Rugby rounds - after being red-carded in the Wallabies' match against Scotland in November for a shoulder charge.

While Kepu accepted the severity of the suspension, the Waratahs argued that the Brisbane Tens should be included as part of his time out of the game, essentially allowing him back to Super Rugby in round two.

A World Rugby appeals committee reviewed the submission and decided to dismiss the suspension because of Kepu's lack of Tens involvement in the past and the context of the tournament.

"The Appeal Committee considered the merits of including particular matches in a sanction," a World Rugby statement read.

"In this case, the consideration included the player’s previous history of not having played tens rugby for many years, the nature and standard of the Brisbane Tens tournament (BTT), and the extent of the player’s intended participation in the tournament.

"The Committee ultimately decided that matches in the BTT should not count as part of the playing suspension of three weeks and dismissed the appeal."

Kepu will be available to play in the Waratahs' round three match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires..

In July last year, an appeal committee ruled in favour of a New Zealand appeal to change Sonny Bill Williams' four-match suspension to include a 'three-halves' match in the lead up to the Rugby Championship.

After that decision, which was controversial, World Rugby pledged to tighten the regulations around the definition of a 'meaningful match', but it is unclear if it has formally done so.