Newcastle’s battle against Premiership relegation was given a massive boost with their 22-17 win over Sale on Saturday. However, they could have a serious disciplinary headache to deal with following a biting allegation against one of their players.
Sale were enjoying an early first-half lead in a feisty affair at St James’ Park when there was a collision between their hooker Rob Webber and Falcons second row Calum Green at the bottom off a ruck near the visitors’ try line.
Television footage showed Green getting his head caught in a neck roll-type squeeze and he reacted with what Webber complained to referee Craig Maxwell-Keys was a bite.
Following a scuffle between the pair and then an initial review of a try that wasn’t, Maxwell reviewed the unsavoury incident with Sean Davey, his television match official.
Here is their conversation as it unfolded live on BT Sport.
SD: Did you see that on the screen?
CMK: I’ve seen the angle from the main stand side.
SD: That is the only angle we have. There is obviously clearly contact with his face, therefore his arm is over his face and therefore lips. I can’t say there is a bite, but there is contact.
CMK: What we have basically got here is there is definitely an arm across the face and there is no clear evidence here that says he [Green] has done anything.
SD: From the video footage there is no clear evidence that there is a bite, but there was contact with arm and the face.
CMK: We can’t act on that live. So that is now in the hands of the citing officer (Andy Blyth) because after the game he has got access to potentially more angles that we don’t have now.
The match continued with a penalty to Sale for an offside against Newcastle, but live TV broadcaster BT Sport struck lucky as they had Sale director of rugby, Steve Diamond, already standing by for an in-game interview. Naturally, Diamond was immediately asked about the incident that had just been reviewed.
SD: Obviously it’s a long way away for me, but there is no clear evidence apparently apart from the bite mark! I don’t understand that one. If you are bitten, if you bite somebody then you get sent off. End of story. The clear evidence is the bite mark.
BT: What about the potential of the arms of Webber to be wrapped around the neck?
SD: Absolutely. Well, you discipline Webber as well, but we are on television. You don’t want to see a biting incident, do we? Let’s be honest.
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