Tonga hooker Ngauamo gets seven-week ban for kicking opponent

(Reuters) - Tonga hooker Paula Ngauamo has been banned for seven weeks for kicking an opponent in the head during his team’s 31-19 win over the United States in their final Pool C match at the Rugby World Cup.

The 29-year-old admitted he had committed foul play to World Rugby’s independent Judicial Committee. The decision leaves him unable to play for his club team Agen in France’s Top 14 for the duration of the suspension.

Ngauamo was not sanctioned by match officials during the game on Sunday, but the incident was referred to the committee by the citing commissioner.

“The player admitted that he had kicked his opponent in the face,” the committee said in a statement. “The committee agreed and applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point ... This resulted in a starting point of an eight-week suspension.

“Taking into account the mitigating factors ... including the player’s early admission and disciplinary record, the committee reduced the eight-week entry point by one week, resulting in a sanction of seven weeks.”

Neither team advanced to the knockout stages. Tonga finishing second to the bottom of Pool C with six points from their four matches. The United States came last with no points.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King