World Rugby has stated that the New Zealand Sevens side will not be charged with misconduct after fielding an extra man against Australia in Sydney last weekend.
The investigation into an alleged breach of law three, 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.
While law 3.2 provides for the sanction of a penalty kick where a team fields more than the maximum number of players, a World Rugby statement on Thursday suggested 'the referee was not aware of the additional New Zealand player on the pitch prior to the conclusion of the match'.
'World Rugby’s misconduct process caters for unsporting actions, cheating and ill-discipline [among other behaviours], which are at a level that bring or have the potential to bring the game into disrepute,' the statement continued. '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.'
In conclusion, World Rugby reiterated their commitment to ensuring that there is no such repetition of the breach and that they would aim to ensure that all teams and officials pay particular attention to the process of replacement management.
World Rugby conducted an investigation into assistant referee Craig Joubert and the other match officials after the incident took place.