This week we’ve had a few suspensions handed out following incidents from the Heineken Cup. Earlier it was revealed that Stade Francais’ Julien Dupuy got six months for his attack on Stephen Ferris. For Brive, two players were suspended following their tempered meeting with London Irish.
Brive hooker Guillaume Ribes was red carded after he was pinged by the touch judge as having kicked and punched hooker Danie Coetzee as a scrum broke up. Replays showed that it was actually lock Arnaud Mela who connected with the big uppercut.
Both players were suspended at disciplinary hearings though, with Ribes receiving four weeks for his apparent kick, and Mela got seven weeks as he clearly connected with Coetzees face. The kick by Ribes wasn’t shown on the match feed, but he received the ban nevertheless.
Mela’s offence, punching/striking an opponent, was considered to be in the mid range, but two previous incidents were also taken into account when the decision was made.
As you can see in this clip, the match continued with a lot of niggle, leading to frustrated hooker Coetzee, as well as his opposite number, both being yellow carded after a scuffle.
On Saturday the two sides play eachother in their second leg, a match that Exiles coach Toby Booth is worried might boil over once again.
“I can’t control how people approach a game,” Booth said. “For whatever the reasons, frustration and I understand these aspects Brive took the law into their own hands and transgressed beyond the call of duty, in my opinion.
“Some of that stuff is potentially career-threatening and for me that is where the line stops. It is a tough game and people do things that are careless rather than malicious, but I can’t control people’s mindsets. I am concerned to read reports that Brive are going to come with a better team, put pride back in the jersey and that they stamped their feet in the changing room after the game.
“That normally transpires into only one thing a pretty messy first 15 minutes. The only thing that you can hope that there is some self-control. I want plenty of passion, and everyone wants passion and aggression, it is part of it. But you also want some self-control and the referee has to be strong because he is the person that will dictate whether that can go on or not.
“Last Saturday reminded me of something like Neath v Pontypridd in the 1970s at some points. It has been a long, long time that I have seen a scrum coming up and a second row sending one through into the hooker. All we can worry about is what we do and how we approach the game. It is very important for us to keep our Heineken Cup hopes alive.”