Rugby World Cup: Italy lock Sara Tounesi suspended out of tournament on biting charge

Italy lock Sara Tounesi has been suspended for 12 matches, after she was found guilty of biting during her team's Rugby World Cup pool victory over Japan.

Tounesi, 27, was cited after the 21-8 win, which carried them to second in their pool and a quarter-final meeting with France next weekend.

She denied the charge, but an independent disciplinary committee consisting of chair Christopher Quinlan KC, judicial officer Brenda Heather-Latu and former All Black Ofisa Tonu'u found the offence worthy of a red card and upheld the complaint. 

A mid-range penalty for the offence is 18 matches, but the panel reduced that to 12, starting with this week's knockout fixture. Tounesi has a right of appeal within 48 hours of receiving the full written decision.

Tounesi debuted for Italy against United States at the 2017 World Cup and has since made 24 appearances. After winning national titles with Italian club Colorno and French club Clermont, she transferred to English outfit Sale Sharks.

Catch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join Newshub for live updates of the Black Ferns campaign