Samoa captain Junior Paulo to appeal one-match ban

Junior Paulo Samoa SWpix
Photo: Olly Hassell/SWpix

Samoa defence coach Lee Radford is hopeful that their appeal against the one-match ban handed to captain Junior Paulo will be successful ahead of Saturday’s semi-final against England.

Radford is hoping for a similar outcome to St Helens’ successful appeal against Morgan Knowles’ suspension as Samoa seek to free up Paulo for their semi-final clash with England.

The Parramatta prop forward was placed on report for use of the elbow during Samoa’s 20-18 semi-final win over Tonga on Sunday. He has been given a one-match penalty notice by the tournament’s match review panel.

That would rule him out of Saturday’s clash with England at the Emirates Stadium. However, Samoa are appealing the decision and their case is due to be heard on Tuesday evening.

Lee Radford hopeful of successful appeal against Junior Paulo ban

Radford is the Castleford head coach who has been right-hand man to Matt Parish during Samoa’s World Cup campaign.

Radford admits Paulo is key to their ambitions. He believes a precedent was set when St Helens managed to overturn a suspension that initially ruled England forward Knowles out of the Super League Grand Final in September.

“It’s got huge implications,” Radford said. “Junior has been fantastic. He’s a genuine leader of men and to have him out there is important.

“Like the Morgan Knowles scenario in the Grand Final, you want your best players playing in the big games, no matter which team you support, so hopefully that decision goes the right way.”

Samoa have reached their first-ever World Cup semi-final. They are honing their preparations for Saturday’s game with a fitness and rehabilitation session at the home of Leicester Tigers.

The move came about through former Samoa international Freddie Tuilagi’s association with his old club.

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