Misi Taulapapa banned for eight matches for biting

Newcastle Thunder Misi Taulapapa has been handed an eight match ban for biting in the League 1 play-off final defeat to Oldham.

Taulapapa, 37, was put on report after a complaint to the referee by Oldham’s Emmerson Whittel, prompting a Grade F charge for a biting offence.

A subsequent meeting of the Match Review Panel looked at footage and considered reports from the match officials and from Oldham and concluded that, in their opinion, Whittel suffered a bite to the right forearm during or after a tackle.

Taulapapa, who pleaded guilty, wasn’t present at the meeting of the Match Review Panel but Thunder’s Director of Rugby, Denis Betts, spoke on his behalf by telephone.

He said Taulapapa had apologised to Whittel after the incident. He was full of remorse, embarrassed and couldn’t explain why it happened.

Oldham won 18-14 to clinch promotion to the Betfred Championship in 2020 in a classic final in which the lead changed hands four times before Jimmy Beckett scored the decisive Roughyeds try in the 63rd minute.

Taulapapa scored two of Newcastle’s three tries —  the first in the ninth minute and the second in the 56th minute.