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Italy's Tounesi suspended 12 games for biting Japanese player

By Sam Smith
Sara Tounesi of Italy powers through the tackle. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Italy second-row Sara Tounesi has been suspended for 12 matches, having appeared before an independent judicial committee on Monday after being cited for biting (Law 9.12) in Italy’s Rugby World Cup 2021 Pool B match with Japan on 23 October, 2022.

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Tounesi appeared before an independent judicial committee on Monday having been cited for biting (Law 9.12) in Italy’s Rugby World Cup 2021 Pool B match against Japan on 23 October, 2022. The citing was denied.

The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by the independent Judicial Panel Chair, Christopher Quinlan KC who was joined by judicial officer Brenda Heather-Latu (Samoa) and former international player Ofisa Tonu’u (New Zealand).

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The Committee considered all the evidence including from the victim player, the player (Ms Tounesi) and the video footage of the incident. The Committee concluded that the player bit a Japanese player which offence merited a red card and accordingly upheld the citing complaint. The Committee decided that the appropriate entry point was mid-range (18 matches) but having regard to her mitigation, reduced the sanction to 12 matches.

The player is therefore suspended for Italy’s quarter-final match against France on 29 October with the remaining matches to be determined once the playing schedules of Italy and the player are known.

Press Release/World Rugby

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