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Tonga's Fifita hit with four-match ban for high tackle

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool B - Ireland v Tonga - The Stade de la Beaujoire - Louis Fonteneau, Nantes, France - September 16, 2023 Tonga's Vaea Fifita in action REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

LYON, France - Tonga loose forward Vaea Fifita has almost certainly seen his last action at this year's World Cup after being banned for four matches for a dangerous tackle on Scotland's Finn Russell last weekend.

The Tonga-born former All Black was shown a yellow card later upgraded to red for the tackle late in the game. The 31-year-old admitted foul play at a judicial hearing on Tuesday but questioned whether it met the red-card threshold.

The independent panel decided the tackle was reckless, there was head contact and no mitigation and therefore banned him for six matches with a reduction of two games for his remorse and previous disciplinary record.

Fifita will therefore miss the game against world champions South Africa on Sunday and Tonga's last Pool B clash with Romania on Oct. 8 as well as two matches for his Welsh team Scarlets.

Tonga have lost both pool matches against Ireland and Scotland and are all but out of the running for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. REUTERS