A Samoa player's ban for hitting a referee has been extended to 32 weeks after the International Rugby Board successfully appealed against his original two-week suspension.

The IRB announced the appeal decision on Friday.

Samoa A player Ausetalia Vaiomanu was cited for deliberately hitting the back of the referee with his shoulder in a 38-24 loss to the Argentina Pampas XV in the Pacific Rugby Cup in Canberra, Australia on March 11.

A judicial officer issued a two-week ban, despite mandatory sanctions for the offence starting at 24 weeks for the low end, 48 weeks for mid-range and 96-plus weeks at the top end.

The IRB appealed, believing the officer misapplied the sanctions. Another judicial officer agreed in a hearing on Wednesday in Sydney. He regarded the abuse as a mid-range offence starting at 48 weeks, and reduced it to 32 because of Vaiomanu's previously clean disciplinary record and remorse.

Vaiomanu was suspended through Oct. 26.