WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP)An Italian player has been suspended for 12 matches for biting an opponent during a Women’s Rugby World Cup match in New Zealand.

Lock Sara Tounesi appeared before a judicial committee on Monday charged with the offense which occurred during a match against Japan in Auckland last weekend. Italy won the match 21-8.

The verdict was announced Tuesday.

The independent disciplinary committee was chaired by Christopher Quinlan, who was joined by judicial officer Brenda Heather-Latu of Samoa and former All Blacks scrumhalf Ofisa Tonu’u.

The committee said it had ”considered all the evidence including from the victim player, the player (Tounesi) and the video footage of the incident.”

”The committee concluded that the player bit a Japanese player which offense merited a red card and accordingly upheld the citing complaint. The committee decided that the appropriate entry point was mid-range (18 matches) but having regard to her mitigation, reduced the sanction to 12 matches.”

Tounesi will miss Italy’s first-ever World Cup quarterfinal against France on Saturday. The remainder of her suspension will be determined by the Italian team’s future schedule.

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