Bizarre scenes played out in France’s second-tier Pro D2 on Friday when a player was red carded for celebrating his side’s win by lifting the referee into the air.
The incident played out in the dying stages of Nevers’ 30-25 victory over hosts Beziers, when referee Laurent Millotte blew full-time on the match.
Beziers wing Josaia Raisuqe celebrated his side’s win immediately after the full-time whistle sounded by grabbing Millotte by the waist and lifting him into the air.
Raisuqe was promptly sent off by Millotte, even though the incident took place after the match had finished, leaving the former Fijian sevens representative with an automatic suspension as per Pro D2 rules.
Le joueur Josaia Raisuqe célèbre la victoire en mode "Roi Lion" en soulevant l'arbitre du match ??
Une célébration sanctionnée d'un carton rouge ? pic.twitter.com/acpsQdRFnT
— Rugby PRO D2 (@rugbyprod2) January 8, 2021
Reactions to Raisuqe’s celebration were mixed, with Nevers head coach Xavier Pemeja labelling the act as unacceptable.
“It’s intolerable. He’ll be punished by the league’s disciplinary committee,” Pemeja told Canal+ television.
“I’ll deal with him. I can’t accept it. What happened at the end there it’s going to be very bad,” he added.
Others found the funny side of the Lion King-esque gesture, while some thought Raisuqe’s actions were “ridiculous” as many taking to Twitter to share their thoughts.
Funniest red card ever in French second division rugby tonight as Nevers player shared his joy at the final whistle with the referee https://t.co/GKsVnPeKl8
— Mark Rodden (@MRodden) January 8, 2021
What a daft thing to do, emotions running high in a winning outcome. Red card and game ban. Sufficient, no harm was intended, but appreciate player just shouldn't tough ref. Nothing more.
— Maurice Sweeney (@Mossy1671) January 8, 2021
This is, insanity pic.twitter.com/oux4Rjs0m9
— springbokbabyyy (@springbokbabyyy) January 8, 2021
This isn’t the first time Raisuqe has courted controversy in his career, as the 26-year-old was sacked from Stade Francais in 2017 for “gross misconduct” after he was accused of sexual assault.
The victory keeps Nevers in sixth-place on the Pro D2 standings at the halfway stage of the competition, which would be enough to qualify for the play-offs.
However, both seventh-placed Provence and ninth-placed Montauban could overtake Raisuqe’s side in the coming weeks with games in hand.
Beziers, meanwhile, remain in eighth place, trailing Nevers by four points.
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