Rugby World Cup 2011: Fuimaono-Sapolu hearing adjourned

Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu
Fuimaono-Sapolu deleted tweets directed at Welsh referee Owens

Samoa's Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu will face a World Cup misconduct hearing on Saturday, 15 October after his case was adjourned for a second time.

He remains provisionally suspended from playing rugby following his failure to attend his initial hearing.

The case was put back after a request by the player and his legal team.

The 30-year-old centre was charged for calling referee Nigel Owens "biased" and "racist" in a Twitter rant, claims Welshman Owens has denied.

Fuimaono-Sapolu arrived in Auckland for Wednesday's rescheduled session, but judicial officer Judge Jeff Blackett agreed to an adjournment so the Gloucester player could consider the charges and honour a commitment to attend a Samoan government function.

Samoa were eliminated from the tournament after their 13-5 defeat by South Africa, which led Fuimaono-Sapolu to question the appointment of Owens.

The centre claimed Owens could not be neutral on the basis that Wales stood to benefit from a South Africa win.

The Samoa Rugby Union said they were "extremely disappointed" with the player's actions.

"On receiving notification of the charges, the Union made every effort to contact Eliota, instruct him of the charges and inform him of the hearing details," read a statement issued by the Union.

Welsh referee Nigel Owens
Owens sent off Samoa full-back Paul Williams

"Contact was attempted via telephone and social media, and attempts were made to determine his location."

Fuimaono-Sapolu had escaped official punishment earlier in the tournament when he criticised organisers over Samoa's schedule, comparing their treatment to slavery, the holocaust and apartheid.

He later apologised for his choice of words but Samoa were warned action could be taken if there was any repeat.

Owens endured a testing night on Friday, showing a red card to Samoa full-back Paul Williams late in the game for a clash with Heinrich Brussow.

The referee, who will take charge of the quarter-final tie between New Zealand and Argentina on Sunday, responded on Facebook:external-link "One thing I am not is racist and a cheat."

After the game the referee had tweeted: "That was the hardest game I have ever had to ref. Did my best and no regrets."

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