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Agen issue update on investigation into coin assault on assistant referee

Top 14 club Agen have been fined following a coin-throwing incident last month (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Under-fire Agen are still trying to identify the supporter who controversially struck assistant referee Thomas Charabas with a coin following their 13-28 Top 14 loss to Clermont on Saturday. 

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The club, which risks a hefty E80,000 fine and the threat of playing two home matches behind closed doors as a punishment, has condemned the incident and promised to heavily punish the culprit if caught after the hooligan-like behaviour soured a match that had been refereed by Mathieu Raynal in front on an attendance of 9,896. 

The contest was a tightly fought affair until a 57th minute yellow card for Agen captain Mathieu Lamoulie allowed Clermont, who had only been winning 15-13, to pull away and secure a far more comfortable victory. 

Morgan Parra pounced for the key try six minutes after the temporary exit of the home team’s full-back to the sin bin. 

Agen president Jean-François Fontenau said: “Agen condemns in the strongest terms the incident that occurred at the end of the match that saw Thomas Charabas hit by a coin thrown by a spectator.

(Continue reading below…)

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“Even if the intention of the spectator was not to hurt the referee, this gesture is in complete opposition to the values of our sport, of our club, and our supporters.

“I therefore condemn it unambiguously. This act is unacceptable from both a moral and ethical point of view.

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“Agen will make every effort to identify and punish the person heavily, and will also further improve the security conditions.

“I would like to salute the work of our security services, which, as Mr Charabas pointed out in his recent interview, have been irreproachable in their mission to protect referees,” continued Fontenau in a statement issued on his club’s website. 

Agen are currently 12th in the TOP 14, nine points clear of next-best Grenoble near the bottom of the table with six rounds of fixtures remaining.

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Jon 5 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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