The International Rugby Board can confirm that no action can be taken to initiate a citing case following an alleged act of foul play during the Rugby World Cup 2011 Final on 23 October.
The Independent citing commissioner Scott Nowland (Australia) undertook an investigation following the release of new television footage outside of the 36 hour citing review period that indicated a possible act of foul play involving contact with the eye or eye area had taken place.
In his original review of the match using all camera angles provided at the time by the host broadcaster Sky NZ, the Citing Commissioner had determined that there were no aspects of the match that warranted investigation for foul play. Neither the France or New Zealand teams referred an alleged incident to the Citing Commissioner to be reviewed.
Mr Nowland has determined that he cannot cite the alleged act of foul play as the footage emerged outside the citing period and he is unable to bring the matter within the exceptional circumstances provisions contained in the Tournament Disciplinary Rules which deal principally with mistaken identity and where further time is required to identify a player who may have committed an act of foul play. Both Unions have been advised of the outcome.
The IRB and Rugby World Cup Limited take all acts of foul play seriously. The ongoing review of Regulation 17 governing the disciplinary process will give consideration to Tournament Rules and IRB Regulations to consider either extending the citing periods or widening the remit of the exceptional circumstance provisions to deal with the emergence of evidential materials following the elapse of the citing period.