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Matu'u is 2nd Samoa player banned for dangerous tackle

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Japan Rugby WCup Russia Samoa

Samoa's Motu Matu'u leaves the field after been shown a yellow card during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game between Russia and Samoa at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya City, Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)

TOKYO (AP) — Samoa has had a second player suspended for a dangerous tackle at the Rugby World Cup, with hooker Motu Matu'u banned for the remainder of the group stage and for the quarterfinals.

Matu'u and center Rey Lee-Lo were both yellow-carded for their shoulder-led hits to the head of Russia captain Vasily Artemyev within two minutes of each other. They could have been red cards but Artemyev ducked into the tackles both times.

Both Samoa players were cited and both have subsequently been banned for three games.

An independent judicial committee released a statement late Friday saying that by a majority decision, Matu'u had been found to have committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card.

The committee ruled that Matu'u committed a reckless high tackle which made contact with the head of the opposition ball carrier, that "there was a high degree of danger in the approach to the contact and follow-through," and that the incident occurred in open space and "the tackler had clear line of sight of the ball carrier."

Matu'u was sanctioned for the next three games he was scheduled to play, which excludes the World Cup group game against Scotland because he wouldn't have been eligible while undergoing concussion protocols.

So he will miss Samoa's two other group games and, if the Samoans qualify, the quarterfinals. If Samoa doesn't reach the knockout rounds, Matu'u will miss his next scheduled game for British-based club London Irish on Oct. 26.

Lee-Lo has been suspended for Samoa's remaining three group-stage games.

Samoa beat Russia 34-9 on Tuesday and next plays Scotland on Monday at Kobe.

Other players have been banned amid World Rugby's clamp down on dangerous tackles.

Australia winger Reece Hodge was suspended for three games for making contact with his shoulder to the head or neck of a Fiji player in the Wallabies' opening game.

U.S. flanker John Quill was suspended for the remainder of the pool stage after admitting to a dangerous tackle that resulted in his red card in the Eagles' opening loss to England.

Quill flattened England back Owen Farrell with a shoulder charge into his head in the 70th minute for the red card offense on Thursday in Kobe.

An independent judicial committee ruled the no-arms tackle was "reckless rather than deliberate."

Quill became the first player to be red-carded at this Rugby World Cup, and the first American in tournament history.

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