By PETER PUSAL
KUMULS prop Wellington Albert is expected to line up against Ireland on Sunday after a biting allegation against him from the game against Wales was not pursued.
The 23-year-old was accused by Welsh forward Ben Evans of chomping on his right hand in a tackle in their rugby league World Cup Pool C fixture on Saturday.
Kumuls coach Michael Marum, who himself was cleared of any serious medical issues after suffering severe cramps to his upper body in the aftermath of his side’s 50-6 win, said Albert would be available to face the Wolfhounds in what could be the deciding match of the pool.
“Wellington is fine. The charge was not laid with the World Cup judiciary even though he was cited during the match by the referee,” Marum said.
“The Wales player put his hand into Wellington’s mouth during the tackle and things happen in a match.
“He wasn’t wearing a mouth guard so that didn’t help either, but he’s basically been cleared so we’re moving on.”
Video footage of the incident showed Evans’ hand making contact with Albert’s mouth during a tackle with the Southern Highlander in possession of the ball and brought down by the Welsh defence.
Evans reacted instantly standing up and protesting to referee Ben Cummins and the sideline officials.
Play was stopped and after a brief discussion between Cummins, Evans, his captain Craig Kopczak, and a sideline official, Albert was put on report and Wales awarded a penalty. Kumuls public realtions officer Joanna Lester confirmed that the charge was not laid post match but could not confirm the reason.
Wales, who had the right to pursue the matter, may have sportingly opted not to while a lack of conclusive evidence may have been the other factor in seeing the 193cm tall front-rower escape censure.
According to World Cup judiciary rules a biting charge carries a ban of between two to nine weeks.
Meanwhile, Marum said forward Rod Griffin, who was ruled out of the opening match with a knee injury, was making progress and expected to play in the final game of the pool stage against the USA.
“We’re not quite sure whether Rod will be ready to play this weekend or in the next game. He might be ready for the last game against USA but we’ll know more by the end of the week.”
By PETER PUSAL