Exeter paperwork error could lead to four-point penalty

Exeter, undeniably the success story of this Premiership campaign despite hitting a large brick wall over the last three weeks, should be safe from relegation by now. All things being equal, they cannot be overtaken by Leeds, even in the unlikely event of the Yorkshiremen winning each of their remaining matches with attacking bonus points. But things may not stay equal for long, thanks to an alarming oversight on the paperwork front that could see some of the Devonians' hard-earned rewards taken away from them.

The Rugby Football Union will, over the next day or so, summon last season's promoted club to a disciplinary hearing following revelations that three foreign players, rather than the permitted two, were included in the match-day squads for recent games at London Irish and Leeds. Exeter were beaten on both occasions, but they secured a losing bonus in the second of those fixtures and can therefore expect to have it removed from their tally. If the governing body gets on its high horse, the club could be docked at least four points: the equivalent of a Premiership victory.

Thanks to the Bosman and Kolpak rulings, it is not easy to define "foreign" in the sporting context, particularly when Pacific islanders arrive on these shores wielding passports from third countries. Nemani Nadolo, the outsized Fijian wing who has made a significant impact at Sandy Park since January, falls into this category, having entered England with Australian documentation. Nadolo was in the squad on the two dates in question, as were the prop Hoani Tui, a New Zealander, and the outside-half Ignacio Mieres, an Argentine.

Tony Rowe, the Exeter chief executive, was contacted by the RFU last week and promptly withdrew Nadolo from the side that lost at Bath on Saturday. "This was partly down to a clerical error on the club's part," Rowe explained yesterday. "We are aware this will need to go before a disciplinary panel and we intend to co-operate fully. We hope the authorities will take into account our previous good record. There was no intention on our part to try to gain any kind of unfair advantage."

Meanwhile, the England full-back Ben Foden has been warned as to his future conduct following a much-publicised run-in with the Metropolitan Police last month. Foden, who spent a night in the cells on suspicion of causing criminal damage to a taxi and later accepted a police caution, discussed the incident with the RFU's chief disciplinary officer, Judge Jeff Blackett, and was told in no uncertain terms that such behaviour was considered unacceptable. As part of his apology to the game at large, Foden has agreed to make a donation to a rugby-related charity.

Ospreys, one of several major contenders who came up short in this season's Heineken Cup tournament, have retained the services of their 25-year-old captain, the Lions Test lock Alun Wyn Jones, despite heavy interest from France, Jones agreed a three-year contract extension with the Swansea-based side yesterday, joining fellow international forwards Ryan Jones and Jonathan Thomas in sticking with the underperforming club.

"It's taken longer than I expected," he admitted. "I'm a supporter and like them, I feel disappointed if we fail to hit high standards. I wanted to speak to the board and understand their long-term plans. The evolution taking place here is very positive."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine