Premiership - Samoan banned for Twitter outburst
Gloucester centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has been handed a three-week ban by the RFU, but the controversial star now faces further punishment by the IRB.
The 31-year-old was found guilty of two of three charges of "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game" after he criticised Saracens' Owen Farrell on his Twitter account.
The outspoken Samoan could now face an even longer lay-off if the latest sanction triggers a suspended six-month IRB ban imposed on him for criticising Welsh referee Nigel Owens during the recent World Cup.
"Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu of Gloucester Rugby was tonight banned for three weeks after being found guilty of two charges of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to rule 5.12 of the Rules of the Rugby Football Union," a RFU statement read.
"The panel is keen to stress that this decision stands alone and that it is a matter for the IRB to determine whether the actions of Fuimaono-Sapolu constituted a breach of the conditions of that sanction."
Should the IRB decide to follow through with the six-month ban - an outcome Fuimaono-Sapolu fully expects - his career with Gloucester would effectively be ended, considering his contract with the Premiership side ends at the end of the season.
He said: "I do expect to be banned now, I can’t see another outcome.
"Gloucester have been great with me throughout this whole situation, and if it were to come down to a six-month ban, they would not really have much other option than to cancel my contract.
"And I would not stand in their way from that, in fact that would be the right course of action."