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'Absolutely appalling... unacceptable' - Brutal clearout call slammed

By Ian Cameron
The failure to red card this clearout has played well online.

The decision not to red card a brutal shoulder-to-head contact on an unexpecting Kenyan player at the final Rugby World Cup qualifier in Dubai has been slammed online.

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US Eagles’ lock Siaosi Mahoni was shown a yellow card during the vital USA versus Kenya, one of a number of robin games taking place over the next three weekends that will decide the final place at next year’s flagship tournament.

The 6’8, 134kg lock struck an unexpecting Kenyan forward guarding a ruck and the decision was immediately referred to the TMO.

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Despite replays showing what appeared in slow motion to be a direct shoulder-to-head contact delivering with massive force, referee Tual Trainini and his officials saw fit to downgrade it to a yellow card.

It was a bit of a head-scratcher to say the very least.

Progressive Rugby, the concussion safety advocates, slammed the decision. “Absolutely appalling, both in terms of recklessness in the action and decision of the referee team. Unacceptable.”

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In a later tweet they wrote: “Utterly appalling. The game cannot afford to tolerate such ugly recklessness. How can a sanctioned referee’s team watch this back and come to the collaborative decision it’s a [yellow]?’

Just one of Hong Kong, Kenya, Portugal and USA will make the through to the flagship tournament next year in France – with viewers in North America able stream it live on The Rugby Network.

Played over three match days, the four teams will face each other in a round-robin format with the team accruing the most competition points securing the 20th and final spot at the Rugby World Cup, taking a place in Pool C alongside Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

Undoubtedly the potential omission of the US Eagles would send shock waves through the sport. The US have qualified for every tournament to date and they will host the 2031 edition of the event in nine years.

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