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Uproar after Bourgarit's eye-gouging gets ban just two weeks worse than Addison's badly-timed tackle

By Josh Raisey
La Rochelle's Pierre Bourgarit (No2) is sent off by referee Andrew Brace at Sale last Sunday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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La Rochelle’s Pierre Bourgarit, Ulster’s Will Addison and Montpellier’s Jacques du Plessis were all handed various bans on Wednesday after last weekend’s round two of the Champions Cup, punishments that have caused yet more contention. 


Du Plessis received a five-week ban for a Sebastien Vahaamahina-esque strike to Gloucester’s Gerbrandt Grobler face in a maul, but the bans for the France and Ireland internationals have proven more controversial. 

Addison was suspended for a tackle on Clermont lock Paul Jedrasiak in their Champions Cup encounter. It was a dangerous tackle and worthy of punishment, but it was simply down to poor technique and timing which led to a clash of heads and the second row leaving the field. He was given a six-week ban reduced to four due to his disciplinary record. 

Four weeks would seem fair for what happened, but it is the fact that Bourgarit only received six for eye-gouging Tom Curry that has caused an uproar. The hooker flagrantly committed one of the worst offences conceivable in rugby and his ban has caused a great deal of confusion. 


The offence was adjudicated to be at the top end of World Rugby’s sanctions for contact with the eye area, which carries a minimum twelve-week ban. However, that was reduced to six due to the 23-year-old’s disciplinary record and his expression of remorse, which seems to be the popular thing to do if a player wants their ban reduced. 


The way in which bans for a mistimed tackle and eye-gouging only carry a two-week difference has left many people questioning the citing process. 

While it is not the worst case of gouging seen on a pitch, the prevailing majority of fans felt this was worthy of a far longer ban as Bourgarit will return to rugby in early January. 

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