It was a troublesome match for Jonathan Danty in his Top 14 win for La Rochelle at Perpignan. Despite the victory, Danty was on the receiving of a few rather intense collisions.
The most notable was when lying at the bottom of a ruck, as he was targeted with a headbutt by Perpignan skipper Mathieu Acebes. The offending player received his well deserved matching orders as his team were reduced to 14 men.
Ningún club de rugby profesional debería tener como capitán (o, incluso, entre sus filas) a un impresentable como Mathieu Acebes…
Después nos llenamos la boca con la influencia, la motivación y los valores del rugby… pic.twitter.com/gi3KaouSmW
— Javier Señarís Senra (@RutgerBlume) January 1, 2023
Fans were incensed by the incident, with Josh Gardener tweeting “SEND HIM OFF, SEND THE DIRTY GET OFF”.
Others were of the same opinion, with some discussing the options of lifetime bans, and others labelling it as simply “despicable”.
In a tweet, Acebes apologised for his actions, saying: ““I play with passion. Unfortunately this weekend I lost control of my emotions,” wrote Acebes. “Jonathan Danty is a player I respect a lot and I strongly regret my move and I apologised immediately after the game. I will face the consequences of this unfortunate move. Judging me on my values and integrity in this single gesture is regrettable. I don’t want to give that bad image.”
This apology was not accepted by an understandably annoyed Danty: “You do not regret your gesture and I do not excuse it. It was premeditated. Two minutes before you had warned me that you would take care of me, before headbutting me when I was talking on the ground with one of your teammates. Your apologies are intended for the disciplinary committee. You do not regret your gesture and I do not excuse it.”
As if receiving a flying headbutt wasn’t bad enough, Danty was then removed from the field later on after suffering a rupture to the posterior cruciate ligament, an injury that is expected to recover over a period of 3 months. This will likely cause the French international to miss the upcoming Six Nations.