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Dragons and Wales backrow Basham banned following 'indefensible' incident

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Thursday Nov 16, 2023

In a shocking turn of events during the Dragons vs. Leinster clash in the United Rugby Championship (URC), Wales flanker Taine Basham faced a stern rebuke from his coach, Dai Flanagan, after being sent off. The incident unfolded in the 65th minute when Basham, visibly frustrated, delivered a dangerous elbow to Ross Byrne’s head. This reckless act, deemed a cheap shot, could lead to a significant suspension for the promising Welsh back-rower.

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Coach Flanagan, visibly disappointed, minced no words when addressing Basham’s actions: “It was very silly. Taine wants to be a top-end player, but that wasn’t good enough, and top-end players don’t do things like that. Emotion and anger got the better of him.”

Despite the Dragons finding themselves on the losing end with a 33-10 defeat against Leinster, Flanagan did not shy away from expressing his concern about the team’s overall performance. With their fourth consecutive defeat in the 2023/24 URC campaign, Flanagan stressed the need for improvement, stating, “We are doing some stuff that is not acceptable. We are not going to get wins unless we start performing better and eradicate the errors.”

The Dragons now face the Ospreys in a crucial Welsh derby, and Flanagan acknowledges the personal stakes: “We have to get 15 on the field after a six-day turnaround, but it’s one we can look forward to and be excited about.” The coach remains optimistic about the team’s potential turnaround but recognizes the challenges they must overcome to halt their losing streak.

Adding to the Dragons’ woes, Flanagan highlighted communication issues between officials during the Leinster match, revealing, “In the first half, we were in the game, and there were no comms between the touch judge and the referee.” This breakdown in communication led to penalties not being awarded in the Dragons’ favor, further complicating their performance on the field.

Flanagan’s unusual rant continued as he expressed frustration over the faulty microphones, revealing, “We want to be a good league in the URC and do things properly, but stuff like that is difficult to accept.” The coach emphasized the importance of fair play and proper officiating, especially in a league as competitive as the URC.

The disciplinary fallout for Basham included a four-game suspension following a red card shown by referee Gianluca Gnecchi. The incident, falling under Law 9.13, involved dangerous play as Basham tackled Byrne above the line of the shoulders. In response to the disciplinary process, Basham accepted his wrongdoing, leading to a four-game suspension with a two-week mitigation for remorse, apology, and cooperation in the proceedings.

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This suspension leaves Basham unavailable for critical fixtures, including clashes against the Ospreys, Hollywoodbets Sharks, Emirates Lions, and Oyonnax Rugby. The Dragons must now navigate these challenges without a key player, further intensifying the pressure on the team to reassess their strategy and regroup.

Coach Dai Flanagan now faces the daunting task of not only managing the fallout from Basham’s actions but also steering the team toward a much-needed victory in the upcoming fixtures. The Dragons find themselves at a crossroads, and how they navigate these challenges will undoubtedly shape the remainder of their URC campaign.

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