Fuimaono-Sapolu expects lengthy ban
November 7, 2011
Fuimaono-Sapolu was one of the stand-out players in the Premiership last term © Getty Images
Outspoken Gloucester centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu expects to be hit with a lengthy ban when he comes up in front of an RFU panel in Bristol on Monday evening.
The Samoan centre was hit with three charges of disrepute last week and is currently serving a six-month suspended sentence from the International Rugby Board following a hearing at the end of the World Cup. And despite support from Gloucester, the 31-year-old has revealed he would ask the Cherry and Whites to rip up his contract if he is hit with a ban.
"I do expect to be banned now, I can't see another outcome," Fuimaono-Sapolu told the Gloucester Citizen. "Gloucester have been great with me throughout this whole situation, and if it were to come down to a six-month ban, they would not really have much other option than to cancel my contract.
"And I would not stand in their way from that, in fact that would be the right course of action."
The Samoan centre started for Gloucester in their 24-19 win over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturdat and Bryan Redpath is keen to highlight his ability on the field rather than the controversy he has courted off it.
"Players' player of the year, sponsors' player of the year, fans' player of the year, try of the year; probably one of the best 12s at the World Cup," Redpath said. "We can't question Eliota's rugby ability: never have, never will.
"And what he's given Gloucester, some of the young players alongside him, and some of the senior players too, he is an exceptionally talented rugby player. If that was his last game, then he's helped his team win away from home where we've never had a really strong record. He's been a key part to that, and but what will be on Monday will be.
"If other things kick in and take that away, they take that away. What he can remember if that's his last game is a win away at Exeter. And that's a very tough place to play, it's a really good rugby club, a very honest, humble rugby club. So whatever the decision is on Monday, we've got a big 80 minutes there that we can remember all the players for.
"He's one hell of a player, and I've got a lot of time for him.He's in hot water, and that's the way it is. What happens next will be dealt with after the hearing. First and foremost I'm interested in the performance. External things happen, and how we deal with them will come on Monday.
"His performances both last week and again on Saturday were great, so I can't question how he is performing for Gloucester and the team, in terms of the playing department. He's got some other things around the outsides of it that need to be tidied up, they will be tidied up and everybody will act accordingly off the back of that.
"Monday night is an RFU disciplinary that we have to deal with then."
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