Reiver cleared over abuse row
December 10, 1999

Edinburgh Reivers have been cleared of racially abusing their opponents Grenoble in a Heineken Cup clash in Galashiels last month.

The Reivers won the match 22-18, but the game was overshadowed by a mass brawl on the final whistle which spilled over into the dressing room area as the teams left the field.

Grenoble skipper Willy Taofifenua was cited for throwing a punch at Reivers back-row Graham Dall. The French club immediately launched a counter-claim that their players had been the victims of racial insults during the game.

Heineken Cup tournament director Roger Pickering conducted an investigation into the alleged incident of racial abuse and concluded that there was insufficient clear evidence on which to take the case to the disciplinary committee.

Pickering has decided that the matter should be allowed to rest, bringing a welcome sigh of relief from the Reivers' camp, who did not want the possibility of an investigation taking place as they prepared for Saturday's clash with Northampton in the same competition.

However, video evidence confirmed Taofifenua's contribution to the melee and he has been handed a 28-day ban with immediate effect.

The decision rules the player out of action until January 6 next year, but crucially clears him for the rematch against the Reivers in France on January 15.

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