Super Rugby
Ioane fined for Twitter outburst
ESPNscrum Staff
May 5, 2011
The Red's Digby Ioane breaches the Cheetahs' defence, Reds v Cheetahs, Super Rugby, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, March 26, 2011
Digby Ioane has apologised for his Tweet aimed at Keith Brown © Getty Images

Reds winger Digby Ioane has been fined A$2000 for criticising referee Keith Brown in the wake of last week's Super Rugby loss to the Hurricanes.

The 25-year-old Wallabies international missed the match with a hairline facial fracture but labelled Brown as the ''worst ref ever'' on Twitter after an Aaron Cruden penalty propelled the Hurricanes to a last-gasp 28-26 victory in Wellington.

Ioane was subsequently charged with breaching two items in the code of conduct - namely not accepting the authority of match officials and publishing criticism of their handling of a match.

At an independent disciplinary hearing presided over by SANZAR judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC, Ioane was issued with the fine and ordered to issue an apology which he has since done.

''I am sorry for any harm that I may have caused. I've learned my lesson,'' he said in a statement. ''Referees have a tough job to do and they deserve respect. I also understand what Twitter is all about now, but when it all comes down to it, I'm proud to be a member of the Reds and I just got carried away. It won't happen again.''

Ioane returned to the micro-blogging site last night to comment, ''Thanks everyone for the support. U guys rock! Now just can't wait to play!''

Last year, Brumbies star Matt Giteau was fined $5000 for criticising referee Steve Walsh following a controversial loss to the Waratahs, while in 2007 Eddie Jones was penalised $10,000 for an attack on Matt Goddard.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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