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Sam Tuitupou's big tackle on Sherridan

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Francesco Minto red carded for head-butt on Yann Lesgourgues

Biarritz eased to a comfortable 29-12 win over a fourteen man Beneton Treviso side that suffered following the sending off of flanker Francesco Minto for a headbutt. Treviso had led 12-0 at one stage before Biarritz turned things around.

Biarritz looked to avenge their last weekend's loss to Treviso in Italy, but this time the side that played so well previously did themselves no favours as taking on Biarritz at home with just fourteen men for most of the game was always going to be a challenge.

After 24 minutes flanker Francesco Minto decided to attempt a clearout on scrumhalf Yann Lesgourgues with his head. You can only wonder what he was thinking as he leaned in and floored the smaller man, who took a long time to recover from the impact.

A red card was swiftly shown by referee Peter Fitzgibbon, and Minto took the walk of shame after a moment of madness that would have had a large bearing on the outcome of the game.

While Treviso made life tough for the home side as they played with a player short, hooker Arnaud Heguy scored with time up to give Biarritz a much needed four try bonus point, keeping them in the mix for a spot in the quarter finals.

If you're watching Heineken Cup rugby this weekend please keep an eye out for incidents that you'd like featured on here, and give us a shout with details. Enjoy. 

Posted at 10:12 am | 42 comments

Russia's Valery Tsnobiladze's headbutt on Sean O'Brien

Romana Graham headbutt on Sean Maitland in ITM Cup Final

Keven Mealamu's headbutt on Lewis Moody at Twickenham

Dimitri Szarzewski headbutt on Jean-Philippe Genevois

Bakkies Botha suspended after headbutt on Jimmy Cowan

Jerome Schuster cited for headbutt against Munster

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 42 comments

Bunn December 17, 2011 12:57 pm

Well that was stupid wasn't it

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Cookie December 17, 2011 1:09 pm

It was indeed!
(the name in the title in incorrect, it's Francesco Minto, not Francisco Mento)

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medicaluke December 17, 2011 1:09 pm

Hahaha what on earth was he thinking?

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johndoe December 17, 2011 2:05 pm

It was a headbutt, but I've seen worse get less punishment. Red was acceptable in my opinion though. Don't like how the Biarittz player seemed to milk it.

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Colombes December 17, 2011 7:13 pm

milk it? just for this comment u should deserve a headbutt ;)

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JamesH December 22, 2011 2:49 pm

I'm not saying there is anything OK about a headbutt, but I agree there is a lot of milking going on in rugby at the moment that needs to be stamped out.

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Guy December 17, 2011 2:08 pm

He should have known better than driving in with the head forwards...!

Really I don't see it. He hits the scrumhalf's shoulder with his head but is this considered a headbutt nowadays? To be clear: I am not the kind of old-skool-hardliner that thinks it's okay to destroy your opponent with every means possible. But here I just see: head to shoulder. What's the red card offense?

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poccio December 17, 2011 2:30 pm

i agree with you, was he supposed to tilt his head? this is ridiculous!!

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Full Back December 17, 2011 4:03 pm

I think it was red because he was trying to clear out the player lying on the ruck and seized the opportunity to throw a sly one while he was at it, he moves his head left right to reinforce the movement also.
Rather than tilt his head he could have stayed lower, or let go of the player on the ground and cleared the #9 with a legal movement.
Rather than benefit the doubt in these cases I think it's right to be harsh, they're professionals and so push the limits when they can, headbutts have to be kept out.
Would he have done the same thing without headgear?

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ItalianRef December 18, 2011 6:26 pm

> Would he have done the same thing without headgear?

yes, if a guy is stupid enough to do such a smart move in front of the ref he probably would do it without any protection.

I agree with the red card, if not strictly necessary, it punished Minto's stupidity.

anyway it was a pitty because Treviso would have played another match in 15..

Finally, I am seeing more and more ruggers "milk" these kind of situations a very ugly turn our game is taking, in a very soccer-player way.

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Just Call Me Ehtch December 17, 2011 3:12 pm

what a silly billy, mon ami.

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kevtoulousaing December 17, 2011 4:51 pm

That was a ruck so you're not suppose to headbutt the scrumhalf.

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UHtiger December 17, 2011 6:38 pm

Nice bit of acting there by the 9. Seems to be a common trait in french rugby.

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Colombes December 17, 2011 7:17 pm

as usual, a poor comment coming from a guy who constantly insult french rugby on many forums. my dear, get away from here and write for the nz herald haters, u'll be perfect

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UHtiger December 18, 2011 7:11 am

Just someone who is very sad at the way our sport is going. It used to be a sport of warriors, men who played with honour and pride and even when badly injured would pretend not to be hurt. That has now changed with more and more people simulating injuries to get sympathy from over zealous refs. Like it or not it seems more often than not to be a french player. This once brutally honest sport is going the way of soccer.

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Pretzel December 18, 2011 9:29 pm

Cowan dives around like a tool, Giteau has been a bit over the top on occasions... I think every nation has a bit of this in them....

As for the "warriors" comment, have you ever seen an old game of rugby??? Couldn't be further from warriors if they tried....

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Colombes December 17, 2011 7:20 pm

don't know if it deserves a red card (what say irb rules) but it was a bit silly to make an headbutt in front a ref. a shoulder charge would have been sufficient

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Pretzel December 18, 2011 12:05 am

Headbutt = red according to the IRB... There is a video a few years ago with a winger or centre dipping his head into an oncoming prop or hooker... Literally a touch and he got a red card...

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Fettsack December 18, 2011 1:33 am

Just a stupid move. I wouldn't have given a red though, yellow would have seemed enough. But that's my judgement without knowing the irb specific ruling on headbutts.

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Filth December 18, 2011 8:05 am


Nothing in that. Not a red card. Referee is pathetic. Yet another example of how the Irb is turning rugby into ballet!

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sp1nlo0p December 18, 2011 11:17 am

i dont want to defend the action of the number6 there, but he was obviously frustrated that he no legal option of competing for the ball, the only player standing and therefor maybe formin a ruck was no9, so he was the right target but the way he worked him wasnt quite right

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simiwol December 18, 2011 2:32 pm

good clear out, scrum-half wasn't quick enough to get it away! Can't see how using head is any more damaging than a shoulder, especially as it was to the scrum-half's chest!! Yellow card maybe, never a red- no malice involved!

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Jimothy December 18, 2011 6:30 pm

After reading several posts on here I'm amazed by some of the comments. I had to go back and watch the clip again to make sure of what I was saying. I suggest some other users do them same! He clearly head butts the 9 BEFORE his head makes contact with the shoulder. If you watch the movement of the 9's head in slow motion it is again clear that he was struck with some force. As for 'simulating' I do not believe this was a example of that! RED!

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niccolo December 18, 2011 6:59 pm

i think that the red card is too mutch, yellow card should have been ok but the red wasn't fair. I think that the red card is shown when is not necessary. in the semifinal france wales, a red card changed the match and i think that that takle was a yellow one. the tuilagi punch in tigers saints was punished only with a yellow. sometimes refs are fool, they should think more before show a red card. was a stupid action, but didn't deserve a red in my opinion.
excuse me if the english isn't so good.
greets from italy

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moddeur December 19, 2011 2:05 am

Again, I don't want to appear soft, lenient on player safety, or to always be criticizing these decisions, but in my opinion that is most certainly not a red. I'm not even sure it's a penalty (I've seen many worse actions in rucks never being called). Besides the guy is wearing a helmet, how dangerous can it be for the scrum-half to be hit in the torso by a padded bit of soft tissue?

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moddeur December 19, 2011 2:08 am

On second thought, it's a move against a player outside the ruck and without the ball, so it's at least a penalty.

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Filth December 19, 2011 3:33 am


Jimothy you make some credible points. But what you have to take into consideration is the fact that there was no malice in that so called head-butt. He was just trying to clear the half-back out, simple as that. On the other hand what must be taken into consideration is the massive incompetence of Peter Fitzgibbon; because of his decision the player will miss about 4 weeks due to that. I can understand player safety etc. I honestly reckon the toughness of rugby is disappearing with these overzealous refs.

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Pretzel December 19, 2011 4:33 am

¬_¬ I have entered rucks in similar fashion, I've known exactly where the other guys head was, and I drove into his face with my head....

He knew EXACTLY what he was doing, he was just unlucky enough to get caught....

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Jimothy December 20, 2011 8:16 pm

No malice in a head butt? I'm sorry but there is no way this is accidental. He deliberately uses his head = head butt. I'm constantly amazed by these professional rugby players who consistently fail to make sensible decisions on the field after practising all week and being fortunate enough to have the facilities to review the match over and over again. In all my years playing crap rugby I've never seen anyone head-butt the oppo 9 over the top of a ruck, I have seen players head butt the 9 but never over a ruck :)

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Eoghan December 19, 2011 9:56 am

Of course its a red...leads with his head and clocks the s/half in the face.

"simiwol December 18, 2011 2:32 pm :
good clear out, scrum-half wasn't quick enough to get it away! Can't see how using head is any more damaging than a shoulder, especially as it was to the scrum-half's chest!! Yellow card maybe, never a red- no malice involved!"

Are you having a laugh ?? The first contact is to the s/half's face...and you'll find using your head to loaf someone is indeed more damaging than say a shoulder - although lets be fair, if you go around the place shoulder charging people in the head when you're both upright, you'll be (rightly) liable to sanction as well.

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Greg December 22, 2011 11:23 am

For the tough guys saying that the no9 feinted it: he got out of the game at half time with a cerebral concussion.
So the endless debate of playing dirty is playing real rugby, please keep it in your dead end premiership.

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Pretzel December 22, 2011 1:16 pm

Pretty sure the Premiership has a winner at the end, thus making it no more 'dead endy' than any other tournament....

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