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Friday, December 20, 2013

Sam Egerton banned after being red carded for eye rake in Varsity Match

Last week Sam Egerton became the first player to ever be red carded in the annual Varsity Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University. Egerton, who starred in last year's game, has been suspended for 15 weeks following a RFU disciplinary hearing.

Egerton scored a try early in the second half to contribute to Oxford's fourth successive victory over Cambridge in the traditional encounter between the two famous Universities. Egerton received his marching orders in the 49th minute, but Oxford managed to win 33-15 a man down.

Cambridge's Nick Viljoen alerted the referee to the incident after Egerton appeared to rake the eyes of the second rower. It looked as though he was possibly trying to grab his scrumcap after originally going for the ball, but the big screen replays left the referee with little option but to send him off.

It was the first red card sending off in the 132 year history of the annual challenge.

On Tuesday evening Egerton pleaded guilty to a charge of making contact with the eye(s) or eye area of an opponent contrary to Law 10.4(m). He is suspended for 15 weeks, from December 12 to March 26 and will be free to play again on March 27.

Below is a quick look at the incident. You can also view the full match on page two of this post.

Page: 12View All

Posted by Rugbydump at 10:58 am | View Comments (36)

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 36 comments

mal james December 20, 2013 11:26 am


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Ithilsul December 20, 2013 11:39 am

Hey, I think you've kept your "Caps lock" key activated.

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Guest December 20, 2013 11:35 am

To be fair I'm not convinced the 'LAW MAKERS' will be reading this but I applaud your (over)use of CAPITAL LETTERS and agree with the sentiments

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GUest December 20, 2013 12:12 pm

This match is poor every year. Would much rather see the Schools Cup Final and The BUSA Cup Final on TV. Raking is for cowards.

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Hendogo December 20, 2013 12:32 pm

I don't understand? Why would you rake another players eyes? What in it for you if you won the game by so much. I don't even think about doing stuff like that when I play. What wrong with some people.

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DrG December 20, 2013 1:45 pm

I'm with you there, I've never understood gouging, raking etc... We've seen injuries on a the pitch where players from both teams rush over to help the injured player, it brings a jolt of respect when you see players put their differences aside to help someone, it really shows the importance that it is; at the end of the day, just a game.

Hitting hard and injuring someone is something that can get you pumped during a game, but afterwards I do like to apologise if I've done it.

Having a scrap? Not good, punches thrown definitely bad, but hopefully no real damage was done and you can shake hands and have a laugh later (knowing he's got your number for the next match!)

But gouging? Eye gouging is a form of attack/defence where by you try to blind your enemy.... I've wanted to punch a few people on the pitch in the past, but managed to control myself (or by the time I've got to them the anger has subsided some) but I've never thought "I want to blind someone" :/ thats some crazy shit...

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Guest December 20, 2013 12:47 pm

When it's a french it's 52 weeks, things never change...

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cantab December 20, 2013 12:57 pm

To be fair, I don't think he meant to make contact with the players eyes, but he was either trying to yank the guys head or scrumhat. I don't mind the latter, but if you're going to do that you have to be prepared for the consequences if your hands make contact, accidental or not, with the player's eyes. Deserved sending off and a hefty ban, as does any player that purposefully does something that risks making contact with a player's eyes.

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browner December 20, 2013 3:08 pm

Cantab, your attitude of "I don't mind" stinks ......... Keep hands off faces + no hair pulling or headguard yanking .... END OF.

Your liberal acceptance blurs the margins.

Anyone starts grabbing/poking their fingers on/in my face/eye area get them bitten to the bone ! If they don't then I never bite.

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Guy December 20, 2013 1:05 pm

That looks nasty and quite damning. The ref even seems properly annoyed with him. 15 weeks seems pretty mild to me.

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finedisregard December 20, 2013 2:02 pm

I love the Varsity Match and hope it never goes away. Highly intelligent amateur athletes competing for pride while taking part in a rich tradition that goes back to the 19th century is what sports are all about.

Money is changing rugby very rapidly. Events like the Varsity Match, Barbarians, and the Lions Tour are what sets us apart.

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browner December 20, 2013 3:11 pm

Varsity match has lost it's appeal ......apart from the toffs who enjoy a spiffingly topper day out swigging their pims etc ..... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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finedisregard December 20, 2013 8:07 pm

So don't watch it. Stick to threatening to bite people or complaining players aren't getting hefty enough bans.

Tradition is what rugby is all about.

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DrG December 20, 2013 9:59 pm

LMAO, good call!

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CambridgeshireKid December 21, 2013 2:31 pm

Not just "toffs" go. Lots of locals do too. Why do you have a chip on your shoulder about some clever kids, who earned their place in top institutions, playing sport? There are thousands of other channels on tv.

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Bootsy December 20, 2013 2:53 pm

I experienced a near identical occurrence as Nick Viljoen when playing a game last season. I had legitimately cleared a prop out of a ruck situation but he took issue with this and his first thought was to rip my scrum-cap off presumably to show what a hard lad he was, but instead shoved his fat fingers in and around my eye before he succeeded in pulling it off.

Although he mumbled an ungracious apology at the end of the game (made easier by the fact it went unpunished) I was left feeling that as soon as players start poking their hands in and around the face / head - which they have no business doing in any circumstances - then referees need to come down hard. You wouldn't try and rip a player's gum shield out or pull a knee support off, so why is it acceptable to start interfering with his face in an attempt to get a scrum cap off?

I do think that whilst some player behaviour is heat of the moment stuff, a significant percentage can be attributed to their club 'culture' - in my own case the opposition's MO was never to miss the chance of a cheap-shot and his actions were evidence.

You only have to see the story of Clarence Harding in 2010 to see how serious incidents such as this can be.

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DrG December 20, 2013 10:04 pm

I have got to agree. I wear a scrum cap when I play second row or 8 (not 6 or 7) and I get so retrospectively enraged when someone pulls at my scrum cap. Why would they do it? If they rip it off and break it then great, I have to buy a new one. If it just comes off then I put it back on during the next stoppage.. What is the point?? It's not like someone wearing a scrum cap has an unfair advantage and does things that others don't, so therefore removing the cap removes the wearers super powers... therefore it poses no warning...

If you run at a player and he smashes you back hard, you might NEXT TIME, try to run around him etc... but if a player rips off your scrum cap, you just think he's a twat and carry on playing...


and introduce your studs to him later...

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DanKnapp December 21, 2013 2:39 pm

Agreed, it's a dick move. Hopefully he'll carry the shame of being the first player to be carded in a varsity match, and for something as twattish as playing another player's face.

He crossed several lines at once there, and a 15 week ban is well deserved. I personally would like anyone who gouges/plays the face to get a much longer ban - call it 1 year minimum. The game is dangerous enough with high impacts which are part and parcel of the game without this sort of shit.

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Eddie-g December 20, 2013 3:06 pm

I'd like to believe that Egerton didn't deliberately rake the eyes, but there was no need for his hands to be anywhere near the eyes. Really no mitigating factors here, and a long ban was deserved.

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GDBO December 20, 2013 4:12 pm

Very lenient ban. Egerton has a reputation for having a bad character and that was extremely dangerous. Totally immaterial whether he was going for the scrum cap - the result was that his fingers were dug hard into the eyes of Viljoen.

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Dark blue supporter December 21, 2013 12:03 am

What Egerton has is a reputation for beating Cambridge three years in a row, scoring in two of those matches. He took his punishment like a man, despite (and I am 100% sure of this) having no intention of going anywhere near Viljoen's face. I don't think he was going for the scrum cap, I think he went to steal the ball, slipped off and accidentally drew his hands back across Viljoen's head. The whole incident barely lasted a second. He would be the first person to say that he was reckless, but deliberate gouging? Never.

If Oxford had lost, he would be a broken man. As it was, they outscored Cambridge 13-5 with a man disadvantage, so it's all water under the bridge. I'm sure the Cambridge players wouldn't want him crucified as some commentators here would like. They realise that mistakes happen.

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Reality December 21, 2013 12:37 am

But it's not really water under the bridge at all, hence the 15-week ban and outcry on this site. And I don't think you can accidentally draw your hand across someone's face and have your fingers accidentally get stuck in their eyes. The only way to get your fingers stuck into someone's eyes is if you mean to do it.

And I'd say the Cambridge players would want him crucified. He stuck his fingers into one of their player's eyes - why wouldn't they want him to suffer the consequences?

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mal james December 21, 2013 7:37 am

Dark blue supporter, no game on this earth is worth the sight of another player being lost in the name of "RUGBY" win or lose

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CambridgeshireKid December 21, 2013 2:35 pm

It doesn't matter if it is deliberate or not, if you put your hands near someones eyes in this manner you can blind them. He got what he deserved and as you said took it like a man

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stroudos December 22, 2013 12:55 pm

I suggest you take off those dark blue tinted glasses and watch the video again.

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Canadian content December 20, 2013 10:21 pm

No place whatsoever for that. Cowardly, bullying type of behavior towards a vulnerable opponent. Surprising to see in this game, which I enjoyed watching.

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Kenzo December 21, 2013 10:35 am

I think that's pretty clear!!!!

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sarugby_go_north December 21, 2013 3:02 pm

I call it the 'All Bleghs' effect.

An inevitable outcome of players the world over being influenced by the actions of 'that' team, whose mantra is to do anything and everything in pursuit of a win.

Of course, knowing full well they'll receive the customary tickle on the wrist for doing so makes it easy for them behave that way. It's the rest of the rugby world who find out the hard that there are consequences to a 'win at all costs' attitude when copying them.

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stroudos December 22, 2013 12:53 pm

Is this sad and bitter comment really that awesome, in your view, that it warrants posting twice on this thread and again on the Chabal one?

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DanKnapp December 23, 2013 11:53 am


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sarugby_go_north December 21, 2013 3:03 pm

I call it the 'All Bleghs' effect.

An inevitable outcome of players the world over being influenced by the actions of 'that' team, whose mantra is to do anything and everything in pursuit of a win.

Of course, knowing full well they'll receive the customary tickle on the wrist for doing so makes it easy for them behave that way. It's the rest of the rugby world who find out the hard way that there are consequences to a 'win at all costs' attitude when copying them.

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Benny December 22, 2013 6:33 pm

Mate, what are you on about? When did the ABs last stick their fingers in someone's eye? I can think of a few similar incidents that went unpunished in the last couple of yeas

Rougerie on McCaw
MacLaughlin on McCaw
JdP on Moore

How does that fit into your conspiracy theory?

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DanKnapp December 23, 2013 11:53 am

I ignored his comment. He's just stirring. Ignore him.

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