Brive flyhalf Mathieu Ugalde has been cited for the alleged eye-gouge that was seen during the weekend’s ugly battle with Grenoble in the Top 14, the same match that saw three players red carded for fighting. Ugalde has since denied the committing the offence.
As Grenoble scored a try in this controversial match, Ugalde fell on top of tryscorer Armand Battle and appeared to place his fingers over the eyes, albeit with a clenched fist.
The footage and imagery has spread far and wide this week with plenty of condemnation, and rightly so, but the man himself feels that he had a closed first and did not commit an eyegouge. He said that he spoke to Battle about it after the match.
He also said that he’s never been to a LNR disciplinary committee so he doesn’t know what happens there, and he “just hopes they aren’t influenced by social media..”.
Battle, the player on the receiving end of it, said that Ugalde did indeed come up to him after the game, which he appreciated, but that he cannot condone any kind of eye-gouging. He also commented that on Monday morning he had a bit of a mark under his eye.
Peter Kimlin meanwhile, the Australian Grenoble flanker who was in the thick of the fisty cuffs earlier in the match, has said that things are definitely a bit more tempered over in France, however he did not see the alleged eye-gouge himself.
“I didn’t actually see it until after the game,” Kimlin told foxsports.com.au.
“That’s unbelievable and there’s absolutely no need for that in the game, whatsoever. And you ask anyone in rugby and I’m sure they’d have exactly the same point of view. I definitely hope there will be some sort of sanction on the player.”
As for the mass brawl, he said that it happens from time to time.
“It wasn’t a good situation but if it happens to arise, no-one’s going to take a step back, you know, they’ll back their teammates. I don’t think anyone’s going to shy away from it.”
If found guilty, Ugalde will face a punishment of anything between 12 and 208 weeks.