New Zealand sevens team avoid sanction for eight-man blunder


World Rugby has confirmed no action will be taken against New Zealand's sevens team after they briefly fielded eight players in a match in Sydney last week.

Post-game video footage revealed the All Blacks benefited from the presence of an extra man prior to Ardie Savea scoring a try that earned a 17-17 draw with Australia in Pool A of the Sydney Sevens.

Although World Rugby confirmed an investigation into the issue last Sunday, the governing body made it clear the result of the match - and New Zealand's subsequent success in the final of the tournament - would stand.

And global rugby's governing body has now ruled that New Zealand will not be punished at all.

A statement on Thursday read: "World Rugby has concluded its investigation into an alleged breach of Law 3 by the New Zealand sevens team during the final Pool A match at the Sydney round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

"Law 3.2 provides for the sanction of a penalty kick where a team fields more than the maximum number of players. The referee was not aware of the additional New Zealand player on the pitch prior to the conclusion of the match.

"The investigation, undertaken by the designated disciplinary official, has determined that, while New Zealand did field eight players, it was an inadvertent breach as a consequence of a number of factors relating to the management of replacements involving a number of parties.

"World Rugby's misconduct process caters for unsporting actions, cheating and ill-discipline (amongst other behaviours) which are at a level that bring or have the potential to bring the game into disrepute. Having fully investigated the incident, the designated disciplinary officer has concluded that the laying of a misconduct charge is not appropriate or warranted given the circumstances as the threshold had not, in his determination, been met."

Australia coach Andy Friend said it was imperative the incident was not repeated, with rugby sevens set to make its Olympic debut later this year.

The statement from World Rugby continued: "While such incidents are rare, World Rugby is committed to ensuring that there is no such repetition on the series and will ensure that all teams and officials pay particular attention to the process of replacement management."