Joe Tekori has been cleared at a French disciplinary hearing to play for Toulouse in Sunday’s Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster.
Cited following a yellow card in last weekend’s Top 14 win over Clermont, the Samoan has initially been summoned to attend a hearing on April 24.
However, while French disciplinary regulations said he was free to continue playing before the citing case would be heard, EPCR stipulate that no player who has been cited in their domestic league can play in Europe until their hearing has been taken care of.
This resulted in the French league agreeing to bring forward Tekori’s hearing to Thursday in Paris and its outcome has resulted in the forward being cleared to take part in the Aviva Stadium semi-final.
In a statement released after the hearing verdict, the disciplinary committee reported: “After viewing the video images of the action in question, hearing the player and examining his arguments in line with the commission’s analysis of criteria on acts of unfair play, the committee decided that there was no need for disciplinary action against Mr Iosefa Tekori.
— Ligue Nationale de Rugby (@LNRofficiel) April 18, 2019
“The disciplinary and by-laws committee found that Mr Tekori committed an act of foul play that did not pass the red card test.
“He made the best efforts to perform a regular tackle by stooping and using his arms while his opponent, who was in a position to score a try, had stooped at the same time which is a mitigating factor against the criteria of the red card test. The player is therefore qualified to participate in the semi-final of the Champions Cup.”
The decision will be a big relief to the 35-year-old who has been capped 37 times by Samoa. He has been a mainstay of the Toulouse pack this season, appearing in 23 of their 29 Top 14 and Champions Cup matches. Twenty one of those appearances were as a starter.
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