Rugby Union

The Fiji international in action.

Gabiriele Lovobalavu cited and suspended over crucial tackle

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Wasps' centre Gabiriele Lovobalavu has been cited and suspended by the RFU for a crucial tackle he made during the win over Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Fijian, who has been capped 22 times by his country, was cited by an independent panel for a high, dangerous tackle that me made on Sam Hill during the closing seconds of Wasps' 13-7 win over Exeter in the Aviva Premiership.

Lovobalavu has been banned for four weeks, and will be eligible to return to playing action for his side on April 10, 2018 - Wasps travel to Sale a week before his ban is set to be lifted. 

The tackle, contrary to law 9:13 of the sport's codes of conduct, states: "A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.

"Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders."

Following their win, Wasps are third in rugby union's top-flight, four points behind Exeter and five behind leaders Saracens. 

In a tightly-contested ending to the fixture in Coventry between two of the Premiership's title chasers, Exeter mounted an attack towards the try line of their hosts, only for Lovobalavu's tackle to effectively end the game to earn maximum points for Wasps, in an incident that was not initially looked at by match officials at the time. 

Watch the tackle in the video below.

The former Toulon player faced a hearing in London last night, where he contested his charge, but ultimately fell short in his appeal, heard by independent reviewers. 

"The panel found that the player’s shoulder had struck the head of the Exeter player following a tackle that had been recklessly high and delivered with force," panel chairman Jeremy Summers said.

"The panel are mandated to enter at mid-range and having given the player credit for his clean record and other mitigating factors, reduced the sanction by two weeks. He was not eligible for full credit having not accepted the charge."

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Topics:
Six Nations
Aviva Premiership
IRB Rugby World Cup
London Wasps
Rugby Union
Exeter Chiefs
England Rugby

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