Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra has been suspended for two weeks for head-butting Montpellier’s Rene Ranger in their Top 14 clash at the weekend. He has only just been called into the France squad, but will miss their next match, against Scotland.
In what was a strange sequence of play, Parra took a quick tap penalty behind the referees back after Montpellier infringed at a ruck. Ranger, who had his back turned, caught what was happening in the corner of his eye so casually inserted his gumguard, then smashed the fiesty Frenchman.
Ranger clearly wasn’t ten meters away so while Parra had a right to be less than pleased, his way of dealing with it – by charging with his head – is what got him in trouble.
A yellow card for Ranger followed, before a shocked home crowd watched as referee Sébastien Minery showed Parra red, leaving Clermont with just 14 men for the rest of the match.
“I feel deep frustration and anger over the red card for Morgan Parra,” said Clermont’s Kiwi coach, Vern Cotter. “I hope that at the disciplinary hearing there will be reasonable and intelligent people who will see it was not deserved.”
The LNR (Top 14’s governing body) ruled that Parra is suspended for two consecutive matches on the grounds of ‘excitability’. Parra and Clermont have opted not to appeal the decision.
He will miss their match against Bordeaux-Begles, and then France’s clash with Scotland on the 8th March. He will however be available to face Ireland at the Stade De France a week later.
Despite being a man down, Montpellier’s Francois Trinh-Duc was yellow carded shortly before Ranger returned, giving Clermont a lifeline that they duly accepted, and went on to win 42-16. That takes their Stade Marcel Michelin record to 73 matches in a row unbeaten, dating back to 2009.