Fuimaono returns after Twitter ban

 

Tweet it quietly, but Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu will be back on a rugby field tonight for the first time since committing the latest of his many social media misdemeanours a little over three weeks ago.

The Samoan centre, whose brilliant performance against the Springboks at the World Cup in September was rather overshadowed by his dramatic contributions to the debates over tournament scheduling and refereeing standards, starts for Gloucester in the Premiership match at Newcastle.

Fuimaono-Sapolu is not naturally inclined to under-reaction – his fury at the treatment of his national team during the global gathering led him to compare the perceived injustice to slavery, apartheid and the Holocaust, and drove him to accuse the Welsh official Nigel Owens of racism – and he was thoroughly carpeted by the International Rugby Board as a consequence. Did that teach him to keep his views to himself? Not quite. No sooner had he resurfaced at Kingsholm than he took to the Twittersphere to offer his critical views on the young Saracens midfielder Owen Farrell. This led to an immediate three-week rest without the option, and the IRB may yet activate a suspended six-month ban by way of reinforcing the point, although this is now considered unlikely.

"Eliota is a world-class player and all I want from him is to prove how good he is, every week," said Bryan Redpath, the Gloucester coach, who has paired the South Seas islander with Mike Tindall – the England centre who has had a disciplinary problem or two of his own just recently. "He's keen to do his talking on the pitch. I'm told he's put his tweeting to bed, although I don't look at that stuff so I wouldn't know."

Redpath, who believes his side would have beaten Leicester at Kingsholm last weekend had his prize centre been on the pitch, welcomes back James Simpson-Daniel and his fellow wing Tom Voyce, and will run Dave Lewis ahead of the Scottish international Rory Lawson at scrum-half. Another Lawson, the hooker Scott, returns to the front row.

Newcastle, bottom of the table by a fair distance and uncomfortably aware of the relegation scrap to come, have made no fewer than seven changes to the side that took a walloping from the Premiership pacesetters Harlequins five days ago. Greg Goosen, Corne Uys and Ryan Shortland come into the back line, Jordi Pasqualin starts at scrum-half against his old club and three forwards – the props Euan Murray and Grant Shiells and the flanker Will Welch – get the nod up front.

There was a dose of bad news for Northampton yesterday when the Rugby Football Union announced that Phil Dowson had been cited for an alleged illegal tip-tackle on Saracens full-back Alex Goode. Dowson will appear before a tribunal chaired by the governing body's chief disciplinary officer, Judge Jeff Blackett, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London next Tuesday.

On the political front, the RFU council meets today to begin discussions on a root-and-branch overhaul of the way the governing body is run. The debate on moves to cut the size of the council by more than 50 per cent and shift the balance of power towards the executive wing is not expected to be concluded until next summer's annual meeting.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'