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Junior Paulo facing suspension for Rugby League World Cup Final

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Samoan captain Junior Paulo is in hot water again, risking suspension for the second week in a row following a dangerous tackle on England forward Thomas Burgess. Should he be suspended, the Samoan front row enforcer could be forced to sit out for the nations first Rugby League World Cup Final against Australia.

It’s Paulo’s second infraction in two weeks, having hit Tonga’s David Fifita in the face with a raised forearm while carrying the ball last week. This is Paulo’s second offense in two weeks having been issued and successfully challenged a one week ban imposed by the RLWC2021’s match review panel.

England and Samoa were in the arm wrestle early this morning in their knock out semi-final clash when Junior Paulo entered a tackle of Burgess with Samoan team mate Royce Hunt. Hunt had a hand on the inside of Burgess’ leg in the tackle, as did Paulo who continued the tackle by lifting Burgess until he was entirely upside down and in a dangerous position.

Hunt pulled out of the tackle immediately, raising his hands as if to apologise for the tackle. Paulo failed to show any type of remorse before he was shoved by another English forward John Bateman and walked directly away from Burgess and the tackle.

Paulo was sent to the sin bin by referee Matt Cecchin for placing Burgess in a dangerous position. The tackle was alarmingly like that of Manly Sea Eagles player Karl Lawton’s during the 2022 NRL season when he placed the Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray in a dangerous position, before being sent off and serving a four week ban for a grade 3 dangerous throw charge.

The RLWC2021’s match review panel is yet to issue their charge, if any, against the Samoan captain. Should he be charged again, and fail to challenge it, Paulo will likely be forced to sit on the sidelines for Samoa’s first Rugby League World Cup final against Australia.
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