Samoa captain Brian Lima's historic fifth World Cup has been brought to a premature end by the IRB’s disciplinary committee when he was banned for three weeks for a high tackle on England's Jonny Wilkinson in Saturday's 44-22 defeat.
The ban rules Lima out of Samoa's final game against the United States in St Etienne on Wednesday.
The match will see the two sides fighting to avoid finishing last and winless in Pool A.
Lima, 35, was penalised and spoken to by the referee after his tackle across the throat of the England flyhalf but the Judicial Officer (JO) decided that it was worthy of further punishment.
"The JO determined that the reasons for the referee's decision in awarding a penalty for the offence were wrong and could not accept the explanation of the player that there was no intention to commit a dangerous tackle," World Cup organisers said in a statement.
"The tackle was inherently dangerous and the swinging right arm of Brian Lima connected with considerable force on the neck/throat of Jonny Wilkinson."
The JO ruled that it was "deliberate rather than reckless" but taking Lima's remorse and "exemplary character" into account, cut the recommended suspension from six to three weeks.
The ban takes to 13 the number of players unavailable for Samoa after a series of injuries and problems.
Meanwhile, South Africa centre Francois Steyn has been cited for allegedly biting an opponent during Saturday's World Cup Pool A match against Tonga in Lens.
|Francois Steyn may have bitten off more |
than he can chew [GALLO/GETTY]
"Francois Steyn has been cited in connection with an allegation of biting involving the Tonga wing Joseph Vaka," organisers said in a statement.
The player and South African team management have been informed and must attend a hearing yet to be convened.
If Steyn is found guilty of the offence it will almost certainly end his involvement in the World Cup as the International Rugby Board's recommended sentence for biting ranges from six months to three years.