Uncertainty has surrounded two of Samoa’s star players going into the Rugby League World Cup.
Samoa have named their best squad ever with Jarome Luai the high profile inclusion after helping lead the Penrith Panthers to back-to-back NRL titles.
However, uncertainty reigned over whether he would be allowed to play after he posted a racial slur on Instagram as he celebrated the Panthers’ Grand Final win over Parramatta which was noted by the NRL integrity unit.
On top of this North Queensland Cowboys forward Luciano Leilua’s tournament hopes were up in the air after being charged with common assault after an incident with a 26-year-old woman in an alledged incident of domestic violence.
This has now been confirmed to have denied Leilua a place in the World Cup as he has been stood down by the NRL’s No-Fault policy.
The statement released by the NRL, said: “The NRL has advised the North Queensland Cowboys that Luciano Leilua is subject to a No-Fault Stand Down condition under the NRL Rules.
“The decision should in no way be interpreted as a view on the innocence or guilt of the player.
The discretionary No-Fault Stand Down condition has been applied in this instance as the criminal charges involve allegations that the player has acted violently in relation to a female.”
This means Samoa will be without one of their key forwards in the tournament and when they battle England at St James’ Park in the tournament opener.