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Ioane facing sanction over ref slur
ESPNscrum Staff
May 2, 2011
The Red's Digby Ioane breaches the Cheetahs' defence, Reds v Cheetahs, Super Rugby, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, March 26, 2011
Digby Ioane has apologised for his Tweet aimed at Keith Brown © Getty Images
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Reds winger Digby Ioane is facing sanction after branding Keith Brown 'the worst ref ever' on his Twitter account.

The Wallabies international posted the Tweet following the Reds' 28-26 Super Rugby loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday, but subsequently removed it and apologised.

He is now set to face a hearing later this week, with previous breaches of this kind punished by heavy fines. Brumbies playmaker Matt Giteau was forced to pay AU$5,000 last season following criticism of referee Steve Walsh.

Ioane has since apologised for his outburst in a statement released by the Reds. "I am sorry for any harm that I may have caused," commented the 25-year-old. "I've learned my lesson. Referees have a tough job to do and they deserve respect.

"I also understand what Twitter is all about now but when it all comes down to it I'm proud to be a member of the Reds and I just got carried away. It won't happen again."

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie defended Ioane as 'impulsive' prior to this weekend's clash with the Rebels, in which the wing will likely make his return from injury. "He realised the error of his ways and tried to rectify it as quickly as he could," McKenzie told AAP.

"Everyone well knows Digby is an impulsive bloke, and that's also the way he plays, he's not a malicious person at all. His impulsiveness put it up there, and he's taken it down."

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Rebels have dismissed reports that their bid to sign James O'Connor is on hold pending the introduction of a proposed salary cap for Australian Super Rugby franchises.

Reports in The Australian suggested that the franchise were speculating on the cap not getting off the ground, a suggestion quickly swatted aside in a statement released on Monday, in which they confirmed that they were working inside any proposed limits.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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