Ineligible player could cost Exeter

Exeter may be dragged into the Premiership relegation battle after fielding an ineligible player.

The Chiefs say they made an ‘administrative error’ in fielding Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo – who joined the club from Bourgoin in January – against Leeds Carnegie nine days ago.

Nadolo was the third foreign player in their match-day squad, with Premiership rules stating that clubs may pick no more than two.

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The maximum penalty is a 10-point deduction. Exeter are on 37 points, 16 clear of bottom club Newcastle Falcons. Such a hefty deduction would see the gap reduced to six points, and five over Leeds.

However, it is understood that even if the Chiefs are found guilty of any wrongdoing it is highly unlikely that any points deduction would be severe enough to drop them into the relegation zone, given the recent punishments dished out for fielding ineligible players. Sale were deducted a point in 2009 after putting hooker David Ward on the bench despite failing to re-register the player following a loan spell at Manchester. This season Wasps were docked a point in the LV= Cup after fielding ineligible flanker Joe Burton against Exeter.

Wharfedale can put breathing space between themselves and the National One relegation zone with victory over fellow strugglers Sedgley Park tonight,