Edinburgh fear Aleki Lutui foul play ban

EDINBURGH’S attempts to strengthen their squad could be dealt a blow this weekend with summer signing Aleki Lutui having fallen foul of the RaboDirect Pro12 disciplinary chiefs.

The Tongan hooker has been cited for foul play, specifically a “dangerous tackle” on flanker Tom Smith by using a swinging arm in Edinburgh’s 44-10 loss to the Ospreys on Saturday night. Lutui had been handed his first start for the club having signed from Worcester in the summer, but will today find out at a hearing in Dublin whether he is to be slapped with a suspension.

Lutui is no stranger to dangerous activity but from the other side of the fence as he is a former police officer. He left that job for a career in rugby in New Zealand and played for the Chiefs and Bay of Plenty. He made his debut for Tonga in March, 1999 and has since captained his country and toured with the Pacific Islanders, playing against all the leading nations.

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A powerful ball-carrier and tackler, he has been a popular addition to the Edinburgh squad and is working with Ross Ford and new hooker Stuart McInally to develop their games. Edinburgh will be hopeful that the citing panel do not view the tackle worthy of a suspension.

The Scarlets are next up for Edinburgh, at Murrayfield on Friday night, and the visitors will be without the Shingler brothers, whose mother is Scottish. Steven was at the centre of a national tug-of-war when Andy Robinson named him in a Scotland squad two years ago, only for Wales to protest and, ultimately, be proven right in their claim that he was already tied to them.

The talented centre/stand-off has followed his brother Aaron into the Welsh national set-up but both are carrying injuries and will not make this week’s match. Gareth Owen, who injured a knee in their 23-16 loss to the Dragons, is also ruled out.