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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fabrice Estebanez knockout hit on David Strettle

Yesterday we focussed on a bit of alleged foul play from Ronan O'Gara but he wasn't the only player to be cited following Round 5 of the Heineken Cup. Racing Metro centre Fabrice Estebanez suffered the same fate after he knocked out David Strettle.

While it's not entirely clear if Strettle was out cold from the swinging arm or from his face hitting the Stade de la Beaujoire turf, Estebenanez will have to front up at his hearing in Dublin on Thursday.

The incident occured minutes after kickoff in the Pool 1 meeting between Racing Metro and Saracens in Nantes. A complaint was made by citing commision Eddie Walsh post match.

The Racing Metro back's alleged offence falls under law 10.4(a) Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the first or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).

Recommended IRB sanctions for Foul Play: Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-Range: 5 weeks; Top End: 8+ to 52 weeks. Estebanez's punishment will depend on a number of factors, including testimonials from players, his previous disciplinary record, and if the incident was viewed as clearly malicious or not.

The knock is fairly similar to one we saw late last year, when All Black Andrew Hore took out Wales' Bradley Davies with a swinging arm in Cardiff. Hore received a 5 week suspension.

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:00 pm | View Comments (36)

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JP Nel suspended for stiffarm on Stefan Terblanche

David Strettle's astounding rugby knowledge

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 36 comments

neal January 16, 2013 10:12 pm

looked pretty intentional to me

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The guy above me is January 16, 2013 10:20 pm

Look again

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Facepalm January 16, 2013 10:23 pm

No different at all to the Hore incident. Absolutely no place for that. Definitely deliberate. I hope he gets suitably banned.

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Guy January 16, 2013 10:26 pm

Estebanez needs to jump to be able to hit Strettle like that. Ban him for at least five weeks.

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Matt January 16, 2013 10:32 pm

The sad thing is that this deserves more than the 5 week ban it's probably going to get in light of the Hore incident. If it gets more then people will complain about inconsistency by the citing commissioners, even though it probably deserves more. It's a tricky situation, although it's one that could have been avoided completely if they'd given Hore the ban he deserved in the first place.

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Lilian January 16, 2013 10:33 pm

Estebanez should be banned from rugby for a year at least! He hit David Strettle on the neck/head and from behind, then, like if it wasn't enough, he goes on the ground hit his head again with the elbow to finish him.
This guy has nothing to do on a rugby ground. Let him go and fight in MMA then we will see if he will have the guts to actually fight someone face to face.
I'm French and I have no mercy for my own people when I see them doing that kind of things.

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coostov January 16, 2013 10:35 pm

Estebanez committed the first illegal hit as well. At :03 he shoulder charges one of the Saracens players.

Dirty hit, he deserves a couple week ban.

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Lilian January 16, 2013 10:41 pm

Actually, Fabrice Estebanez was also suspended for three weeks for making a dangerous tackle on Tonga's replacement lock Joe Tu'ineau during the Rugby World Cup 2011.
Looks like its becoming a bad habit...

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rufio January 16, 2013 10:58 pm

i always said they was waaaaaaaaaaay to lenient on Hore. That suspension never really cut it for me. Then low and behold, something like this happens. Very dangerous as your body isnt braced for contact and isnt prepared like you are if you are expecting a tackle, for example!! I just hope the ERB take a much dimmer view on the matter than the lenient IRB!!

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katman January 16, 2013 11:01 pm

A late shoulder charge followed by a swinging arm to the head by the same player in the space of 5 seconds. That must be some kind of record.

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Demosys January 16, 2013 11:19 pm

Intentional and dangerous. Estebanez did that several times in this game. He should also for for the crapy game from Racing Metro :) . They should never have lose this game. I think 8 weeks suspension could be fair.

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armchairref January 17, 2013 12:07 am

Agree with everybody so far. Dirty hit and should be sanctioned. I remember seeing him come in with a swinging straight arm later on in the game which wasn't picked up by the commentators.

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Joelondon04 January 17, 2013 12:08 am

Agree with you, Irb needs to stamp this out 8 games at least

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Colombes January 17, 2013 12:12 am

dear fabrice, u're a fantastic player, maybe one of the best centre of top14, and even a very cool guy off the pitch... but, if not malicious, a swinging arm on your opponent temps is utterly not recommended. 5 weeks for you + 3 weeks >> 8 weeks because your disciplinary record is not totally clean, and you are french ;)

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gustyguest January 17, 2013 12:29 am

If his ban is longer than 5 weeks then Hore should have his extended to equal it. Only that will never happen as he is a Kiwi

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Ottawa Rugger January 17, 2013 1:26 am

Pitiful. Hope he gets a long ban. Hore's sentence was far too lenient in my book, and I'd love to see get a more appropriate ban for this. And the two hits are exactly the same: hit from behind, and then a blow on the player as they're falling to the ground. Clearly intentional and malicious. It's a pity though; with all the politicking, he's probably only gonna get 5 weeks since that's what Hore got and disciplinary panels have received enough flak for supposedly being NZ-biased. They won't wanna add to the litany of cases where NZ players got less than other players. Enough politics and let's get a codified standard and procedure for disciplinary panels.

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Bunn January 17, 2013 1:45 am

An act of assault and deserves a long suspension. On a side note, he was knocked out before he hit the ground, that's why he hit the ground so hard as is the case with almost all knock outs

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daz January 17, 2013 2:04 am

quick thinking team mates to pop him into the recovery position...if this was football they'd be screaming at the ref.

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Undakava January 17, 2013 3:05 am

just amuse me what the commentators are saying @ one point one of them says "wasn't brutal but was illegal" the end one of them says "the landing was the real issue there" damaged was already done before he fell..dump@$$...

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browner January 17, 2013 3:46 am

Common agreement on his actions by most 'post'ers......

General question....... Q? would an assault ever warrant Police Prosecution?
Depends on severity?

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DrG January 23, 2013 8:28 pm

Difficult one this browner.

Involving the police could make laws very messy, take a squint at boxing for instance (of which I know little about). It is "illegal" in boxing to hit below the belt, players do it now and again and get punished or points or whatever against them for it, and no police involvement, now it is also illegal to have a chew on someones ear, doing so would/should/could involve the police (I don't know whether it did).

So in rugby, if two players grab hold of each other and tussle, nothing but shoving, and then they both start throwing punches at each other, would it be right to involve the police? It could be a red card for both of them, but is it policeworthy?

Gouging, I would say IS worthy of police involvement.

Punching, difficult, in most cases I'd say know, but then take: for instance... is that an unwarranted massive over kill attack?

Also police cases would not be as cut and dry as rugby laws... for instance Paul O'Connell vs Jamie Cudmore years ago, if POC had seriously injured Cudmore, could that really be his fault? He might get a red card for his troubles, but he was "defending himself" which is acceptable in law, but in some respects, not acceptable in rugby... (not in the case of retaliation).

The incident in this video, and the Bradley Davies incident, I SORT of think they could warrant police intervention, if only just a warning. I mean Hore's hit on Davies, was witnessed by thousands/millions?? it was seemingly unprovoked, if you don't count BD's blocking run as provocation... tough call, good question.

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thunor January 17, 2013 4:15 am

This one doesn't even seem to have an element of provocation in it, as far as I can see.

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Flapper12 January 17, 2013 4:45 am

Just pull a New Zealand and deny it was malicious. Then get your coach to say nothing....and then in the end when you get a lenient ban tell everybody it's not tiddlywinks.

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Guy January 17, 2013 10:00 am

Re: Browner (the reply button does not seem to work RD)
Wasn't there a police investigation because South African ex-international?? Robbie Kempson severly injured an American player in an off the ball incident at a Bermuda veterans tournament?

Don't know how that saga ended. I do know the Eagle was sent home in a neck brace and Kempson was in custody for a few hours.

In my opinion: a certain level of off the ball stuff should be handled on the field by the ref or by the citing commission. But in some cases I have no problem with prosecution. Example: If a prop bites of his opponents ear, ban him for life and drag him to court.

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carlo83 January 17, 2013 11:25 am

didn't read all che comments but the word that sprung to my mind when I saw the video was: GENIUS!!
Just wait for Strettle to recover and meet Estebanez again...

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tallsickman January 17, 2013 2:16 pm

Definitly different to hore incident.

Davies hadn't the ball so it was forbiden to tackle him - Strettle had the ball in his hands so players were allowed to tackle him

Hore was alone on Davies and nobody can disturb his tackle - Estebanez wasn't alone, the number 6 came from the right and tryed to tackle in the middle at the same time (if number 6 wasn't here, did Estebanez still tackled the head?)

Hore is 1m83 and Davies is 1m98 (15cm difference) (was easy to tackle lower than the hight). Hore choose to hit the head - 1.85m for Estebanez and 1.83m for Strettle (no reel difference) (egual chances to tackle low or hight)

In my opinion Estebanez deserve a ban, because he didt choose to stop his action and take risk to hurt another player. This is a dangerous tackle anyway.
If we compare the facts Estebanez deserve less than 5 weeks, but he was baned by the past for dangerous tackles (last world cup, he mess the rest of the competition).

I bet on 8 weeks.

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07015678 January 17, 2013 4:47 pm

That was so blatantly intentional and malicious. He jumped into the contact and swung his arm at his head from behind. He was obviously pumped up just as the game kicked off and reacted to what he thought was Strettle having a hassle with someone off the ball. Watch the first clip again.

Minimum 8 week ban. Disgraceful stuff.

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chrismtl January 17, 2013 6:55 pm

He got 4 weeks...I'm really confused how a clear cheap-shot with no intention of playing the ball only got 4 weeks.

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rsy January 17, 2013 8:26 pm

There has been a case in the UK involving an amateur player punching and causing a fractured jaw to another. It was decided that players impliedly consent to force of a kind that can reasonably be expected to happen during a game. The victim said he had punched and been punched numerous times, and testimony was included by Mervyn Davies saying that punching was the rule in the modern game (1970s case).

It would only be for massively disproportionate violence, far beyond what could be expected, that would be open to a criminal case in all likelihood. Illegal play alone isn't enough to reach threshold of criminal activity.

However, lasting damage could be open to being sued for personal injury as the standard is lower.

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Antoine January 17, 2013 9:32 pm

I don't want to apologize Estabanez's hit wich is unforgivable but i don't see any blood on Strettle's face at 0:16 or 0:28... Is the medical trainer wanted to influence the referee? I don't know but in any case it wouldn't be the first time for an english team. ==>

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ajb January 17, 2013 9:54 pm

Re Antoine:

That might be a little unfair on the medical team and Saracens. 0:16 it's too zoomed out to see properly and at 0:28 his head is tilted back so it's no surprise no blood can be seen.

This is a very different situation to the Tom Williams and Harlequins one, unless Saracens conspired to get estabanez to hit strettle in order to make a tactically unfavourable substitution five minutes into the game? Seems unlikely somehow.

I also doubt any team is going to be stupid enough to sanction the use of fake blood capsules given the punishments meted out under Bloodgate. No coach is going to want to have his career destroyed as happened to the Harlequins coach, and I think the medical personnel involved were also punished.

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Antoine January 17, 2013 10:29 pm

I'don't meant Strettle simulated or Saracens wanted to make a tactically substitution but maybe they wanted to influence the referre for the rest of the game or to give a red card to Estebanez... we will never know but I still find strange the fact we don't see any blood on the images compare to all the blood he has on his face at 0:36

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AI January 18, 2013 4:37 am

But Antoine at 0:54 you can see the blood is only on the left side of his face... therefore at 0:16 or 0:28 you wouldn't see it because the left side of his face is against the ground whereas at 0:36 he has been rolled over.

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goodNumber10 January 21, 2013 2:09 pm

what influence a referee more than the incidetn replaied on a big screen over and over again, or an unconcious player who is then stretchered off?


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cheyanqui January 21, 2013 6:32 pm

Just wondering if people realize this guy has a long history as a rugby league player?

I have seen plenty of people on this page who are rugby league apologists. Just wondering if they accord that same courtesy to Frenchman.

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cheyanqui January 21, 2013 6:32 pm

And IMHO -- yes, dirty and illegal -- a few week ban worthy

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