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Monday Oct 12, 2015

Sean O'Brien cited for punching Pascal Pape in opening minute of Cardiff clash

Sean O'Brien cited for punching Pascal Pape in opening minute of Cardiff clash
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While injuries are a concern for Ireland, it could get worse as flanker Sean O’Brien has now been cited. The punch happened just seconds into the clash with France, a game that Ireland won 24-9, topping the pool and setting up a meeting with Argentina in the quarter finals.

O’Brien lashed out at French lock Pascal Pape within seconds of kick off, and while Pape stayed down for a while and needed medical attention and to catch his breath for quite some time, neither one of the three officials on the field, nor the TMO and his Hawkeye team spotted it.

“It was an assault 23 seconds into the game,” said a dismayed Philippe Saint-Andre during his media debrief today. “Why was it not acted on during the game? The players have an idea, so do I and I imagine you the media also have an idea.

“I hope that next time the TMO will really do his job. Since the beginning of the World Cup, there has been a review of the images for all sorts of matters, not just tries, but in this case they did no such thing.”

The powerhouse loose forward actually got Man of the Match, so if this was picked up by the officials at the time and perhaps he’d seen red – which isn’t too much of a stretch – it could have been an entirely different match altogether.

The incident was spotted and discussed by various TV stations, as you can see here.

News this evening confirmed that he has now been cited, so will face a disciplinary hearing in London tomorrow (Tuesday). At this stage you’d think that his World Cup might be over, or certainly his quarter final at least.

You can view two videos of it below. We’ll get better quality organised if and when possible

UPDATE: O’Brien has been banned for 1 week. It was reduced from two to one for good behaviour.

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46 Comments

  • oliver
    1:44 PM 16/10/2015

    May I remind you that: 1 - this is the second act of violent foul play from an Irish player that goes mysteriously unpunished during an Ireland-France game, in 2 years. This was the first one, in case you have a selective memory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifEvDBfZe0w 2 - the Irish staff blatantly lied about the extent of Heaslip's injury to get Pape a longer ban. No one recovers from fractured vertebrae in 4 weeks..... So who's the whining cheats now? And on a final note, about the AB's, don't be jealous! One day, your team will beat them. Maybe, just maybe, keep hoping.......

    Reply
  • drg
    10:10 AM 16/10/2015

    Precisely... a telling off right there and a yellow to O'Brien would have been sufficient: Nigel Owens to Both: "You're both behaaving like a couple of children, this is nottt a plaayground and I won't stand for it!" Nigel Owens to Pape "He hit yoou because yoou woouldn't leeave him alone, keep your haands to yourself otherwise I'll be making you sit down for 10 minutes." Nigel Owens to SOB: "I understand hee was in-tu-feeering with yoou, but you caaaannott take the law into your own haands, it's a yellow caaard." In fact... can't we just get Nigel Owens to ref every single game of rugby... it would make life some much easier..

    Reply
  • drg
    10:05 AM 16/10/2015

    I don't disagree with you, however whispering in someones ear is one thing, but blatantly breaking the laws of the game and receiving no punishment; as is the case in ALL holding on situations just grinds my gears! McCaw might get some punishment, but occasionally when he gets abused the referee will say something like "Penalty against 7 Black for not releasing the tackler (or whatever), however you cannot take the law into your own hands, so I'm reversing the penalty against you"... so yeh, ok, McCaw escapes punishment, but it's been recognised and we as onlookers (and perhaps even players) understand that the referee has now got 7 Black in his mind... ...Naturally in the real world this never happens as McCaw wears his invisibility cloak so no referees ever see him playing dubiously!

    Reply
  • drg
    10:00 AM 16/10/2015

    No point correcting yourself Stroudos.. youtubers wouldn't notice the difference anyway...

    Reply
  • amadahn
    9:42 PM 15/10/2015

    Double standards??!! Now there's a thing.....double standards? let me think.....mmmmm...... aaaah that's it! QUESTION - What did the FFR do with Huget's little assassination attempt last March when he stamped all over a prone Jan Andre Marais? ANSWER - sweet eff all! Pour-quai? Parce que he plays for "Toulouse" and Marais plays for "Bordeaux" and T'lose make a hell of a lot more money for the Top 14 and FFR than Bordeaux. So there's your tier 1 and tier 2 conspiracy reality? And then huget does a "simulation" stunt at Bath a few weeks before! Seems like he and Pape have been sharing notes - even Habana was at it!!. Feel sorry for French rugby - great tradition being destroyed by current crap team, crap attitude and playing culture. And the european champions Toulon made up of ex-pats. Soon it will be franchises in France.....

    Reply
  • amadahn
    9:03 PM 15/10/2015

    Pape is a cheat, O'Brien is stupid. that should have been the end of it and the ban was warranted, and maybe more. But the hypocrisy of the French? I seem to remember last March the FFR officials letting Huget away with a cynical and dangerous foul without any punishment??!! Selective morality and judgement to be sure - . And then during SOB's hearing the whining that poor old Pape was having man flu as a result and the French trying to get a longer ban??!!. FFS give me a break from the political bull! Anyway - I've made up my mind and France has one less supporter this weekend. Looking forward to the ABs blowing France away. I really do hope it is a complete wipe-out so France can have a collective rethink and get back to basics because right now it's embarrassing..

    Reply
  • vladimir
    2:28 PM 15/10/2015

    I refuse to consider a 'punch' (especially from a pro-player nowadays) as non-dangerous play. It is dangerous ; a punch is always aiming at hurting the guy in front of you - otherwise you would react differently. Sure it is not as dangerous as a tip tackle, but it is. You could see like that. Step 1, 'dangerous play', if you want : punch : 2 weeks. A step 10, dangerous play : tip tackle : 10 weeks. But in no world I would a player getting away with punching a guy on the field, this should not be tolerated at all on a rugby field. And agreed, referees should start pinning the players cooking up incidents like Pape, McCaw, Heaslip, Healy, Hartley etc. Big task, but they need to start somewhere.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:39 AM 15/10/2015

    It's an illegal part of the game that you'd be outraged by if it cost your team a ticket or indeed the world cup trophy. Spear tackling is illegal, part of the game? Stop being an amateur? Believe me, I've tried, it's just the moving all the way across the world to play international rugby for Somalia or some other desperate country isn't really high on my agenda... Didn't realise I was replying to a pro...

    Reply
  • oliver
    8:22 AM 15/10/2015

    Beyond all the drama and controversy, if you think only of the players and not the ref, TMO, staff bla bla, it's quite funny how old school that whole thing still is: - player A winds up player B - player B punches player A full force in the stomach, without even thinking of the consequences, in the first minute of a WC game. - player A goes down hard, play continues and player A's team does not say anything to the ref. I guess forwards will always be forwards, regardless of their being paid or not....

    Reply
  • badge
    10:36 PM 14/10/2015

    He wasn't being held as much as he was snatching at some bait that Pape threw out there. I'd love to punch someones bellybutton out their arse for holding, but the fact of the matter is that it reinforces that behavior! How many times has McCaw flirted with the law and had his head stood on, slapped, punched, kicked, and he continues to do the same thing because those reactions get players in trouble. You have to be a professional in this situation and return the favor, he whispered in your ear and grabbed your ass? Block him on Facebook and be down with it.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    5:37 PM 14/10/2015

    A 'fist slap', nice euphemism. I surely would not want to be at the receiving end of a commited punch from O'Brien. And again, rugby is not about what's can hurt and what cannot. It is about controlled violence (and self-commitment). If you hurt someone with a perfectly legal tackle, it is unfortunate but within the rules of rugby. If you hurt someone illegaly or if you cannot control your rage (and hence punch someone), even if you do not hurt him, you fail at controlling your violence : it is not what rugby is about and you should get out of the field. This is why rugby is not the same as a brawl and why players can cheer the opponents up and share a pint afterwards : you challenge and get challenged fairly on the field, then you share.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:41 PM 14/10/2015

    Actually, on paper that side doesn't look too shabby, does it!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:39 PM 14/10/2015

    *mean

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:38 PM 14/10/2015

    Did you meant to post this to someone on youtube?

    Reply
  • ali22
    11:54 AM 14/10/2015

    Mariano Galarza has been suspended for 9 weeks!!!!!! Tuilagi 5 weeks O'Brien 1!!! ?????

    Reply
  • drg
    11:40 AM 14/10/2015

    Well done Max, another perfect example of a cheat getting his comeuppance... I seriously have no idea how you clowns are defending those who hold people at rucks and mauls and scrums.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:36 AM 14/10/2015

    Tomas Castignede (spelling) didn't have a problem with the Lawes/Plisson tackle and neither do I...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:33 AM 14/10/2015

    If he punched him hard enough in the stomach to damage his kidneys, then I'd suspect his kidneys would be the least of his worries...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:37 AM 14/10/2015

    Re the marathon 7 hour hearing - I reckon this is a major factor in securing lenient decisions. The Irish ability to tie your opponent in conversational knots is unsurpassed. I've tried debating with Irish people in the pub and there is simply no winning. You lot just manage to either find new and imaginative ways of reiterating a point from an inconceivable number of perspectives eventually hammering home a consistent point, or alternatively just blather on and on until the interlocutor just can't take it any more. I love the way you put it in your reply to Oliver too - definitely recognise a lot of what you're saying there.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    10:17 AM 14/10/2015

    I love that you use a detailed wine analogy. You, sir, are magnificently French.

    Reply
  • oliver
    8:00 AM 14/10/2015

    1 week is just laughable. The punishment should take into account the fact it was not spotted (mysteriously....) and not taken into account during the game. Also, seeing the hypocrisy of some reactions even here, I understand much better how World Rugby can still be so prejudiced in 2015. An Old Boys Club for sure. Us non-english speakers are just tolerated, like the islanders. Some people talk about NH/SH.... My solidarity goes to Italia and Argentina honestly, other Latin countries. Right I'm done talking about this, it's just infuriating.

    Reply
  • colombes
    7:01 AM 14/10/2015

    As it was much anticipated, just 1 week ban. Dont count on me to polemic, this is enough tragic. Ireland will miss a player, world rugby... some credibility. I just imagine tuilagi reading the decision and thinking "so it's better to punch somebody than run hard on a rugby pitch."

    Reply
  • mise
    10:13 PM 13/10/2015

    2 weeks reduced to one. As an Irish fan, I have to say I'm relieved. I was expecting more. Apparently it was reduced to one - after a marathon 7 hour hearing (how?!?) - for previous good behaviour. Would be a shame for the tournament to loose a player in the form he's in, and of course it woudl have been a disaster for Ireland to loose him after loosing POC POM and possibly JS. But and notwithstanding whatever Pepe was doing behind his back and so on ,SOB was one lucky SOB :-) @Oliver: Irish fans have a small nation peculiarity. We are quite fair and level headed in general analysis - I reckon Irish commentators are more neutral than most - but when it gets weird or big and at the same time heated, we can go bananas. We all band together in a collective madness. So in situations like this, when the team is doing well, the more or less best player is possibly about to be banned, we think of anything and everything to hope against hope - blindly and naively - that he'll get off. Big issues are like this for small nations which are ok but not world beaters at any sport i reckon. If you are used to winning, you can brush it off; if you are used to loosing, or being ok, you can be objective; if you are getting to be quite good, are from a small island nation ,and then have that hope dashed...you go a bit bananas. The BOD Lions dropping was similar, and outside of rugby the Thierre Henry double hand ball was too, in 'football'/soccer. But for standard stuff, I'd maintain we're more neutral and level headed than most- in fact our commentators often over compensate to appear balanced.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    8:12 PM 13/10/2015

    A straight punch is a straight punch. This act has nothing to do in the game, whether it be on the face, the stomach or the butt. And I do not think a punch to the plexus, the liver or the kidney will not cause any internal damgage.

    Reply
  • oliver
    7:57 PM 13/10/2015

    The Guiness Goggles, that's pretty good! I must say I've had quite a few debates with fans from other countries on RD over the years, and while it was possible to have a more or less civilised exchange with most people (like with English fans about the Plisson/Lawes tackle this year, for instance), with the Irish and kiwi it's pretty much impossible. They'll deny the sky is blue if McCaw or Paul O'Connel said so.

    Reply
  • oliver
    6:11 PM 13/10/2015

    actually, I dont believe that at all. That was PR fed to the Commission to get Pape a long ban. Heaslip was back playing in the 6 nations 4 weeks later! Ask any doctor, fractures don't heal in 4 weeks....

    Reply
  • vladimir
    5:21 PM 13/10/2015

    What are you trying to say? Heaslip was 'right' to do so? Same response as below, Heaslip committed a serious assault : kneeing twice in the face. I thought one should not judge on the result of the action but on the action itself.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:41 PM 13/10/2015

    Yep. I think Irish have a terrific team, and Irish fans are some of the best on planet to enjoy a game with, but there's lot of supporters who never do themselves any favours with the way they react to things like this. I mean, you must have a screw loose if you can't see that what he did here would have gotten him carded had the officials seen it at the time. Definitely yellow, possibly red, but the ref would have been fully justified with either decision. It's a little redolent of when Gatland left O'Driscoll out of the final Lions test. The collective Irish reaction to that decision - one that any fair person could see was defendable call by the coach - was ludicrous. The whole country was ready to bury Gatland, and the result in the test became irrelevant. I have a half-Irish friend who calls this phenomenon the Guinness Goggles, but it's definitely a thing; the Irish fans will defend anything done by, or attack anything done to, an Irish player. It's remarkable, and a bit disturbing too.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:19 PM 13/10/2015

    He has a chance of avoiding a ban because these citing commissions are anything but consistent. Even more than a smart lawyer, this might help him. But I've no idea what mitigating factors he'll be able to point to. Maybe it was an open-hand rather than a punch, and perhaps Pape milked it. Even if true, that doesn't add up to much. And because he avoided any punishment during the game, and I think we all agree he would have gotten some punishment had the officials seen it, that counts against him. It's a shame when great players miss big games, but I can't see how he'll be available for Argentina - unless the citing guys do something insane, which they are known to do...

    Reply
  • vladimir
    2:55 PM 13/10/2015

    Typical french brainless play. What on earth is Pape thinking, throwing himself in the way of the fist of an Irish player when he intends to slam a passing fly? 8 weeks ban to learn when to clear the way. Same as this one. When one decides to dive and kiss the grass, do not stay in the way! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifEvDBfZe0w

    Reply
  • vladimir
    2:50 PM 13/10/2015

    Irrelevant. For instance, you punch someone in the face, you stamp on his head, you tackle him, drive through and land him on his head with force. The damages are nowhere to be compared, but it is a straight red in all cases.

    Reply
  • drg
    2:44 PM 13/10/2015

    I don't suggest that Pape was holding SOB as much as pulling him/distracting him, basically just not keeping his hands to himself. I personally have no issue with Pape, Grewcock was a player I quite liked, but what stresses me here is the intervention of fans, media, coaches etc, dreaming up of horrendous retribution.. I personally don't see the brutality of this incident, I'd rather not be on the end of a SOB punch or whack, but I suspect it caught Pape off guard and winded him, rather than being the worst incident known to man... I think we all agree it was stupid from SOB, but let's keep on the point here about two players farting about and one hitting the other, I cannot see deeper meanings to this and I'd rather this be dealt with by an off field yellow or some rubbish as clearly there was mitigation by Pape tickling, pulling, poking, fondling or whatever terminology you'd like to use... Defence? "I'm ticklish and it was an instinctive reaction"?

    Reply
  • katman
    2:10 PM 13/10/2015

    But on the evidence in these videos, Pape didn't pull him back. If O'Brien claims he did, he can kiss a large chunk of his credibility goodbye. Holding back is very common in rugby these days, but that's not what happened here.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:04 PM 13/10/2015

    I quite enjoyed Brian Moore's take on all of this: "I remember blowing a kiss at Pierre Berbizier once; next ruck Phillippe Dintrans knee-dropped me & blew me a kiss as he got up. Fair enough" https://twitter.com/brianmoore666/status/653873308962787328

    Reply
  • weejockmcplop
    1:29 PM 13/10/2015

    Can we have Pape cited for deliberately pulling back Sean O'Brien. Agree that he shouldn't have lashed out but when there is blatant cheating being missed by the officials it is up to the citing officer to step in

    Reply
  • katman
    12:11 PM 13/10/2015

    There's always something going on that we can't see. Every single punch is a retaliation to something else. You have to deal with what you can see, even if it is some kind of on-field justice. You can't decide to overlook a known punch just because there may or may not be a whole series of prior transgressions that led to it.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:09 PM 13/10/2015

    Nah mate, there's no "holding on" here. He was deliberately trying to wind O'Brien up (with some success). Pape didn't prevent him from getting to the ruck or anything; in any case O'Brien was just standing guard anyway. No, this is just textbook wind-up merchant stuff. First there's the stroke of the arse, then - according to refuronlyabollix (hilarious user name sir, by the way) - there's a tweak of the armpit, and I reckon he must have said something in his ear too, just to really get under his skin. Colombes had an excellent theory, further up the page; I reckon something more on a "Materazzi v Zidane" level. I can only imagine Pape's disappointment when all that effort, including rolling about on the ground a bit, didn't even get SOB a yellow card...

    Reply
  • mozz87
    12:02 PM 13/10/2015

    Typical dirty French player, attempting to break O'Brien's knuckles with his abs. Filthy behaviour, deserves a 6 week ban minimum.

    Reply
  • mise
    11:21 AM 13/10/2015

    bans based on the number of weeks are especailly tough in a tournament run over a few weeks eh? Hate the holding on and whatever else is going on behind the back that we can't see. Its likely that there was some sort of a dig - ie more than we see form the front - to generate that sort of reaction from SOB. Wonder if a back angle will materalise before 1 o clock?!? But it was 100% a silly reaction by SOB and he will get some sort of a ban, and even missing one match is serious in this tournament at this stage. He was just back in proper form, played immense, and now this. Along with the rest of the injuries. Much tuffer for Ireland now.

    Reply
  • katman
    11:01 AM 13/10/2015

    I disagree. If the ref had seen this in the game, I suspect it would have been a straight red. I think the citing commissioner will see it the same way. It's a clear punch that lands hard. No grappling and shoving and what-what. I think O'Brien will get at least one week off, regardless of the lawyer. Maybe even two or three. Which is a pity, as he really brings a lot to this team. And I'm sure he's not the first guy to have wanted to punch that infuriating manchild, Pape.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:17 AM 13/10/2015

    It was stupid and it will cost O'Brien, however it'll go down in my list of "players holding on and receiving no punishment'. I've got the play acting list going pretty well. Soft decisions is painful to watch, but I find the 'players holding on and receiving no punishment' list is probably the more painful one to watch purely because of the blatant cheating that is going unpunished. Sure Sean O'Brien will get his ban, Danny Grewcock got his red and probably ban, Paul O'Connell got his red, Nathan Hines etc, but the antagonists and blatant cheaters won't get theirs (other than the swatting, punching and stepping on, that they received). What if SOB had thrown his arms up in the air and rolled onto the ground, would we all prefer that? The initial foul play may have been spotted and Pape would have been punished... but we'd be going down the slippery slope of simulation; which I believe we all hate, and then instead of this, I'd be adding SOB to my list of play acting.... So for the record, I don't think what SOB did was within the laws of the game, however if Pape kept his hands to himself in the first place then we wouldn't be in this situation would we...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:00 AM 13/10/2015

    Completely agree on the way French and Islanders are treated - in this world cup in particular some of the decisions have been laughably prejudiced. I think we can give benefit of the doubt to the ref and assistants here, if you look at where the ref was positioned and the likely view that the touchies would have had. TMOs however have been picking up on all manner of random and insignificant events in other games and insisting on holding up the game while we all watch replays of minor indiscretions. You'd certainly expect this to have been spotted. I reckon with it being this early in the game, the TMO was still finishing up in the toilet and hadn't yet taken his seat at the TV monitor.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:51 AM 13/10/2015

    Brilliant! What a horrible advert. How did you come across that?

    Reply
  • oliver
    8:05 AM 13/10/2015

    The only thing I am happy about is that Saint Andre complained officially. I am just so tired of these things happening... In the 2014 6 N, when Cian Healy did that flying headbutt thing into Picamoles, it was exactly the same: no card, not even a penalty, no citing. And we were right on the try line! I can live with the defeat, it's part of sports, but the double standards for French/island/argentina players are just killing my enjoyment of the games.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:24 PM 12/10/2015

    Haha! Wonder what Pape said as he was walking round stroking O'Brien's arse!? Must have been fairly outrageous to get that reaction! Ireland are "proper ****ed" now, with O'Connell, O'Mahoney and now surely O'Brien all out. Whether Sexton misses next game too or not, their cup run must be over now?

    Reply
  • katman
    8:24 PM 12/10/2015

    Guilty and deserving of a ban, for sure. The only mitigating factor here is that it was the solar plexus of Pascal Pape and not of someone nice.

    Reply
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Sean O'Brien cited for punching Pascal Pape in opening minute of Cardiff clash | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos