If you watched the Heineken Cup semi final between Biarritz and Munster on the weekend you will have noticed that Imanol Harinordoquy had something rather peculiar attached to his face. Sebastien Chabal has something to do with that.
Harinordoquy broke his nose when playing against Racing Metro in the Top 14, leading to him being a doubtful starter for the big Heineken Cup home clash with Munster.
Such is the courage of the man, and the hugeness of the occasion, that he didnt let it stop him running out and contributing towards his sides 18-7 win.
“There is no way they will play a match of this size without him,” said Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery during the week. He was correct, and we all watched in awe and fascination as the big Frenchman turned up wearing a somewhat bizarre looking facemask.
His performance was inspirational as he overcame the pain and awkwardness of not only the broken nose, but the rib injury which also troubled him, before he eventually walked off to a standing ovation.
When seeing that facemask, the question for many fans was ‘ How did he break his nose in the first place?’ News stories reported that it was through a clash with Sebastien Chabal. Some then interpreted that as meaning there was a big hit, so the emails got sent my way and the task was to find the moment of the incident.
So, here it is. I can tell you that its anything but deliberate intent from Chabal, as it was simply an unlucky knock that occurred after a good drive off the base of the scrum.
Hardly spectacular, but at least now everyone will know what happened, and why Harinordoquy looked like he did for one of the most important matches of his career.