Luciano Leilua has been rubbed out of the Rugby League World Cup after the Samoa second-rower was stood down under the NRL’s no-fault stand-down policy.
After days of discussions, the NRL confirmed that Leilua would be stood down and his status imposed by International Rugby League officials.
The decision leaves Leilua’s career at a crossroads, with the 26-year-old due to face domestic violence charges in court on Tuesday.
Leilua had remained some chance of being able to play in the tournament given his bail conditions did not restrict him from leaving the country.
His charges also do not result in a minimum sentence of more than 11 years, the requirement for a mandatory stand-down.
However the NRL, who has long insisted that charges relating to domestic violence would result in a discretionary stand-down, imposed the stance on Leilua.
The league had spent recent days trying to confirm with the IRL whether any decision would be carried across, before receiving confirmation it would.
“The decision should in no way be interpreted as a view on the innocence or guilt of the player,” the NRL said in a statement.
“The discretionary No-Fault Stand Down condition has been applied in this instance as the criminal charges involve allegations that the player has acted violently in relation to a female.
“Under the condition, the player is not permitted to participate as a player in the NRL competition or any representative competitions. The no-fault stand down condition is recognised by the Rugby League World Cup.”
Leilua will be able to train with North Queensland once they return in November, however he will have to wait until the completion of court matters before a potential return to competition.
A mid-season signing from Wests Tigers, Leilua had made a significant impact on his arrival at the club in 2022 and is a significant part of their plans for at least the next three seasons.
“The Cowboys will continue to provide support to all parties involved and will await the completion of the court process before making any further comment,” the club said in a statement.