For the second week in a row, Samoa captain Junior Paulo has escaped without suspension and will now be free to play in the Rugby League World Cup final against Australia.
The 28-year-old was cleared for the semi-final after a successful judiciary appeal, but looked like he could have been set for a stint on the sidelines after being sin-binned for a dangerous throw on England prop Tom Burgess.
Paulo and Samoa were facing a nervous wait, but news filtered through on Sunday night (AEDT) that the front-rower would only be receiving a caution for the incident.
Royce Hunt was also cautioned for his involvement in the tackle, with both forwards expected to line up against the Aussies in the final.
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England coach Shaun Wane urged the officials to allow Paulo to play in the final, despite his side’s narrow defeat at the hands of Samoa.
“The way this World Cup has been refereed has been fantastic,’ he said.
“They’ve let the players play. I’m glad he didn’t get sent off.
“I don’t think Mal [Meninga] would want him missing the game, that’s not the way this World Cup has been and everyone wants to see a strong Australia and a strong Samoa.
“I don’t think he should be [suspended].”
Samoa captain Junior Paulo has been cleared to play in next weekend’s World Cup final against Australia after receiving a caution for a lifting tackle on England prop Tom Burgess.https://t.co/jgv2EMzWEv
— NRL (@NRL) November 13, 2022
Samoan captain Junior Paulo has been cleared to play the Men’s #RLWC2021 Final against Australia.
— CODE NRL (@codenrl) November 13, 2022
Burgess was also in camp Paulo, telling Fox League that there was ‘nothing in it’ after the bitter loss.
Stemming from the same match, English forward Morgan Knowles copped a one-game ban for dangerous contact, while star second-rower John Bateman (contrary behaviour) was let off with a caution.