RUGBY UNION: Reivers cleared of racism

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The Independent Online
EDINBURGH REIVERS have been cleared of racially abusing their opponents Grenoble in a Heineken Cup tie in Galashiels last month.

The Reivers won the match 22-18, but the game was overshadowed by a mass brawl on the final whistle which spilled over into the dressing room area as the teams left the field. The Grenoble captain, Willy Taofifenua, was subsequently cited for throwing a punch at the Reivers back-row forward Graham Dall.

The French club launched a counter-claim that their players had been the victims of racial insults. The Heineken Cup tournament director, Roger Pickering, conducted an investigation into the alleged racial incident and concluded that there was insufficient evidence on which to take the case to the disciplinary committee.

However, video evidence confirmed Taofifenua's contribution and he has been handed a 28-day ban.

The decision rules him out of action until 6 January, but crucially clears him for the rematch against the Reivers in France on 15 January.

Chris Paterson has failed to recover from a twisted knee sustained on Sevens duty in Dubai last week and only makes the bench for Reivers' Heineken Cup trip to Northampton tomorrow. His place at outside centre is taken by Alan Tait.