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Monday Feb 2, 2015

Jason Eaton and Julien Bonnaire fight as La Rochelle claims famous win

Jason Eaton and Julien Bonnaire fight as La Rochelle claims famous win
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La Rochelle upset Clermont 16-12  in the Top 14 on Saturday thanks to a late try by Mali Hingano. Earlier in the game there was a bit of an ugly incident however, with Kiwi Jason Eaton unleashing on French international Julien Bonnaire.

After a dour first half that featured penalty exchanges by Peter Grant and Brock James, things heated up early in the second, as Eaton and Bonnaire came to blows.

Both players were sin-binned, however it looked as though former All Black Eaton certainly got the better of the exchange, landing a few shots to the face of Bonnaire, who must have done something that wasn’t quite visible from the camera angles.

Bonnaire was furious with the loss, but said post match that the Six Nations break will be good for his side, who are still joint top of the table with Toulon and Stade Francais.

Regarding the incident with Eaton, he said he was unsure what started it, but will watch the footage.

“He (Eaton) said it was me who started it.. I’ll have to see the video, but I don’t think I caused much,” Bonnaire said. He also mentioned that he has three stitches above his right eyebrow, but wasn’t too bothered, adding that it is simply an occupational hazard.

The win gave La Rochelle much needed points as they fight the relegation battle. 

View the dramatic finish to the match, including a slippery Peter Grant conversion, on page two

credit: Boucherie Ovalie

32 Comments

  • 10stonenumber10
    8:42 PM 07/02/2015

    Hazell was justifiable with regards to eyes, i'm relating it to the savagery of the assault. Luckily there aren't too many stand up brawls in the full size game, but the weekend warriors are much dirtier. I'm agreeing with you saying that with the advent of the professional game, there are less out and out thugs, they have been replaced by athletes who respect the game rather than their ability to ruffle feathers. Cudmore is one of the last o the old skool bullies, most of them have been weeded out. There aren't too many Bakkies Bothas rolling off the production line any more. If i used less words it would make more sense!!

    Reply
  • drg
    10:45 PM 06/02/2015

    I agree with what you've written, I'm just not sure how we can relate what you've written to what happened here (or what didn't happen??).. People are mentioning gouges, that sort of stuff, I don't really see it, I see Eaton throwing a punch (or two), Bonnaire as a result sticking his hand in Eatons face (who we can all recognise has already lost it) and then Eaton throwing a large fist at Bonnaire... IF there was indeed some goolie grabbing, then I'll defend Eaton, if it was simply because Bonnaire had Eatons leg, then I'm lost as to the reasons.. Before the initial punch, I don't see how Bonnaire could have fingers near Eatons face... You mentioned Hazell..I believe when I did some digging at the time that Hazell is; in the discipline file, a fairly average back row... not whiter than white, but certainly no Schalk Burger... So from his actions that fateful day, I can only conclude that there is no professional player in the world that would react like that if unprovoked... So to flip it, I'm saying Hazell had a damn good reason for doing what he did. ---- Going back to amateur players, I'm sure we've all come across the loser has beens that can't help but try and knock someone out for absolutely no reason (other than perhaps the player legitimately tackled them??) and we are all aware that in this day and age +/- 10 years or so, that player would never make it to the professionals based purely on behaviour alone. Of course what Hazell did, deserved a red, even he took the red without hesitation, however I doubt for one second his reaction was an unprovoked one..

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:38 AM 06/02/2015

    Agreed. Most scraps happen for a reason, but unless it is 'over the line', very few start off with swinging haymakers. Hazell would have been thrown straight into prison for what he did for Gloucester, that was no scrap, those are the kinds of things we need to get rid of. Unless it was painfully/blatantly obvious, most ruckuses (or should that be ruckii?) kick off with a bit of pushing and shoving to 'gauge fault/blame', if both take exception and are onto a shoving match, fists generally tend to start swinging. Again, personal experience, I rarely got into many contact situations without some form of afters... whether taking responsibility for irritating the opposition and drawing players off their focus, or they take their opportunity to rough up a l'il one, it was part of the game. Turned it into a good laugh! Most forwards throw hands like an ape, give them a hug til your mates pile in, and they can't hit you. Apart from defending teammates, the only times I got tied up in the madness is when the opposition made it their duty to tie me up. A halfback is useless buried in a ruck, picking themselves up after a late hit, or in a headlock 10yds from the breakdown, we're even more useless on the end of a right hook from someone over 50kg heavier than us. Let's be honest here, most amateur players in the pack could do with losing a few, most of the backs too. I remember a game against the local airport baggage handlers, I didn't see a single neck amongst the whole squad. This is where i respect O'Connell as a captain, he told Cudmore to pick on someone his own size for a change, then flattened him. Took it to the thug Ice Hockey style, and won. SA don't mess with the Irish or Italian pack much either. It is part and parcel of the game, but if you're going to have a fight, have a fight. Don't blindside someone, cheap shot or get dirty. Better to leave it out on the field and shake hands after than bear a grudge like some of the nastier players do.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:29 PM 05/02/2015

    In reply to all of you guys... ...If I could give a couple people at work a clout I think things would generally become a lot calmer and get done a lot quicker... the fact the laws now require us to pussyfoot about and not upset anyone makes the world a far more slow paced place... *scrum collapse, reset, scrum collapse, reset, ground gets dug up so scrum collapses, reset..zzzzzzz* (not that we have scrums at work... I think it's difficult as a forward to read a backs input of what is and is not acceptable.. I don't go to your hairstyling classes and tell you what do's to get.. But jokes aside, you must get a few interesting scenarios as a 10 (when playing as a 7 I've sure created some problems for oppo 10's) and I'd imagine because you're; on average, less tied up and 'in the thick of it' that you have more time to blow off steam...rather than the average forward who's blowing a gasket or something..so scuffles are more likely to happen amongst forwards than amongst backs.. Whether it's right or wrong is anyones guess.. in my young senior days I ran into a ruck leading with my head into someones face (on purpose) the referee didn't see it and I somewhat got away with it - did I deserve a hit? most definitely.. The leading player of an opposition maul had his ribs exposed and as the whistle was going I still followed through with a shoulder to his stomach/ribs - a fight did ensue...did I deserve to be the target of the fight? Again, absolutely.. Did the person who grabbed my testicles in a maul many years ago deserve to have me target him with my fists - I'd argue totally! About the above few scenarios: ESPECIALLY if the referee's are not likely to see what has happened... I personally think the days of random fights ensuing just because "Muhammad "I'm hard" Bruce Lee" missed his medication and decides to level someone are long over... most scraps happen for a reason.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    11:47 AM 05/02/2015

    I've missed nothing. My 'amateur' and 'social' years were the best of my playing days. It was ruined when the psychos forgot that we were amateurs just having a chuck about on the flattest pitch we could find. Our team even won stuff for 'fair play' and 'spirit of the game'!

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    5:43 AM 05/02/2015

    Compared to the past some things are better some are worse. Very different skill sets are required today (especially in the fwds) compared to the game even 20 years ago. In the past we didn't have players diving or players holding up their hands in dismay constantly at every breakdown trying to get a call. The players even at the highest level had accomplished professional careers and personal lives. Yes there was usually at least one psycho in every club, but it takes all kinds. I don't think it is as fun to be a rugby player today as it has been in the past, it is however much more lucrative. The game is a better spectacle for fans now and is a business with a lot of people earning a livelihood. In the past it was for the fun of the players, pride, and not too much else. You missed out.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    11:03 PM 04/02/2015

    Agreed. "Afters" is one thing, "Assault" is another. People talk about Ice Hockey, but at least it is a 1 on 1 'fair' fight, too much on the field is started by someone creating/seizing an opportunity for violence. 75% of the game is about controlling aggression, why ruin it because they cannot control themselves? Cheap shots are pure cowardice, you could almost see Bonnaire saying "Dude, WTF?" in french. People talk about the 'self-governing old days out on the paddock', but were they really better? Boiling points can bring a game to life, when it goes over the edge it makes everyone involved look an absolute pillock. Wilko and Lewsey were 'ard as nails, and they didn't go around swinging at people. (JL vs Cips at training is forgiven, I deservedly took a few digs at his age for similar reasons too)

    Reply
  • reality
    8:59 PM 04/02/2015

    I'm with Facepalm on this one. Too often matches are interrupted because some big baby can't control his emotions and punches someone else or starts fighting in some way. They're grown men, and at the end of the day they're at work, so I don't see why big children punching each other is acceptable or desirable in the sport. If I was a coach and one of my players got sent off for punching, I'd make an example of him and just not pick him until he had learned not to single-handedly lose matches because of his inability to control his emotions. I'm not saying it's the worst thing that happens in the sport, but it's definitely not desirable and it definitely shouldn't be the 'macho' thing that it's often portrayed as.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    1:15 PM 04/02/2015

    Poor refereeing in the eyes should mean a lengthy ban.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    1:14 PM 04/02/2015

    I have only seen this angle, but my point was that it isn't conclusive from the video. By 'one of those things' I meant more that we'll never know. Hands on the face aren't the same as fingers in the eyes, and we won't know for sure. I'm still surprised the IRB, sorry, World Rugby, haven't banned Bonnaire for being French and having hands.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    4:52 AM 04/02/2015

    Really? How long have you been around the sport? This is not that big of a deal. Rugby has never been cleaner.

    Reply
  • drg
    1:04 AM 04/02/2015

    Really? I hope you didn't see many of those French D2 games a handful of years ago... I'm actually with Bonnaire, I'm not saying that in this incident a punch was deserved, but the ethos of rugby is meet on the pitch, become friends in the bar.. 'Whats happens on the pitch stays on the pitch etc' and honestly I think a lot of the problems we're seeing in today's professional rugby could easily be sorted out/resolved with a few dust ups and leave it at that. So much these days is dealt with by citing commissioners, disciplinary panels, bans, fines etc... Well I personally couldn't give a hoot if player x got banned and fined if his team won and we lost and his behaviour was bad enough... If someone misbehaves and doesn't get caught by the referee and he ends up in a tussle, you know damn well the referee will have his number in the back of his mind.. Ie he'll behave better or risk being asked to leave the pitch...

    Reply
  • facepalm
    8:23 PM 03/02/2015

    The most disappointing part is probably Bonnaire describing this as an occupational hazard. As if this shit is in any way in line with rugby's attitude and ethos. I'm so sick of seeing punches being thrown on a rugby pitch.

    Reply
  • ithilsul
    2:51 PM 03/02/2015

    Eaton probably reacted to "something" that happened during the maul, whether it truly came from Bonnaire or from Clermont's #5 (who seems to innocently leave the maul just before the punch). Hard to say from the outside, even with the video. Right decision from the ref in my opinion: yellow for Bonnaire that very probably "triggered" the reaction, and same for Eaton for reacting that way.

    Reply
  • themull
    12:26 PM 03/02/2015

    not even close to an eye gouge..he is pushing him in the face...Seems eaton simply decided to use it as an excuse to punch...his palm is flat on eaton's face throughout..there was no atttempt to gouge or poke his eyes... i also think there was a punch thrown before he puts his hands on eatons face..

    Reply
  • 2:27 AM 03/02/2015

    Stay classy

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    9:00 PM 02/02/2015

    Normally I'd be all over this ruckus... but it was too one-sided. Eaton seems to be using eyes as an excuse, hands go in faces all day, he was just looking for an excuse to start on someone. Like that KO in the League final, he took it a step too far by carrying on the punches.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:50 PM 02/02/2015

    Kind of with you... I don't see it, I don't see hands to Eatons face before the initial punch. I'm surprised that Bonnaire got a yellow at all, and I'm surprised that Eaton didn't get a red... ...what is going on? Rugby's gone hard!

    Reply
  • drg
    8:47 PM 02/02/2015

    I'm with Stroudos in the sense that this punch probably wouldn't have traditionally floored Bonnaire, however I don't think he 'dived' I think the punch rattled him and cut him and he went down covering his head in order to protect himself... he was showing he's not fighting back..

    Reply
  • drg
    8:37 PM 02/02/2015

    I saw hands on the face/eyes after the first hit, did he do it before the first hit?

    Reply
  • reality
    6:53 PM 02/02/2015

    To be honest I don't see the gouge that everyone's talking about. I see Bonnaire lifting Eaton's leg and Eaton punching him in the head in response. Then Bonnaire sticks his hand in Eaton's face but the fingers are nowhere near his eyes - you can see that they're on his hair. Then Eaton absolutely clocks him, Bonnaire falls over, and Eaton continues punching him. How was that not 100% Eaton's fault? If it wasn't for the commentator and the partial crowd talking about an eye gouge then I don't think anyone here would be talking about an eye gouge. And as the commentator says, "C'est pas trop le genre de Julien Bonnaire, quand meme" and he's right.

    Reply
  • colombes
    6:43 PM 02/02/2015

    cordiale entente ;)

    Reply
  • 6:22 PM 02/02/2015

    No faking in there man!! An unexpected punch in the eye would floor most men, I suspect that when he is on the ground covering his head, he's just trying not to be stood on..

    Reply
  • 6:20 PM 02/02/2015

    Also u can see Eaton gut punching another player before he gets to bonnaire

    Reply
  • 6:19 PM 02/02/2015

    Poor refereeing in my eyes. Eaton has a hold of bonnaires scrum cap trying to pull his head off, bonnaire pushes him but it's definatly NOT an eye tough. Then bonnaire gets floored by an unexpected punch, trust me it's hard to stay upright when ur not expecting it. Lol Should have been yellow or worse for Eaton I think. .

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:23 PM 02/02/2015

    Of course, there is the possibility that Eaton started it all by "giving Bonnaire a Hopoate"* in the middle of that maul.........* See related video - http://www.rugbydump.com/2011/08/2046/friday-funnies-jason-eaton-pokes-brent-wards-bottom

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:19 PM 02/02/2015

    I'm not saying I could have taken that punch, but I do think Bonnaire went down more easily than a Brummie girl in a community centre car park.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:12 PM 02/02/2015

    @DanKnapp, no mate, not just one of those things, he's clearly got his fingers all over the blokes eyes - or as the commentator quite decisively notes around 1:08 "ah oui, il a la main dans les yeux".

    Reply
  • drg
    3:10 PM 02/02/2015

    Heck of a punch... ...I miss this from the French rugby lot (I do however, understand the punch was thrown by a kiwi...) Bring back the biff :D

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:10 PM 02/02/2015

    Pretty clear fingers in contact with the eye area. A thoroughly deserved slap and I hope Bonnaire gets a lengthy ban. The second half of Bonnaire's comment "I'll have to see the video" is "before I decide how much bullshit I reckon I can get away with at the disciplinary hearing". To cap it all off, it rather looked like Bonnaire "did a Huget" too! I mean the punch would have smarted for sure, but it wasn't a "knock-you-to-the-floor" punch. Definitely milked it. The only mitigation I can think of is it did look like there might have been some gooly-grabbing going on to, but I'm not entirely sure who was doing the grabbing!

    Reply
  • drg
    3:09 PM 02/02/2015

    Ever watch the Alternative rugby commentary about NZ and France not built the same? '10 calls the wife, 14 sends a text to the girlfriend, 15 sends a text to 14's girlfriend' ....maybe Bonnaire was texting the wrong person...

    Reply
  • danknapp
    1:05 PM 02/02/2015

    Can't see what Bonnaire did, possibly something to the groin, possibly something to the eyes, but nothing remotely conclusive. Just one of those things.

    Reply


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Jason Eaton and Julien Bonnaire fight as La Rochelle claims famous win | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos