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.
6 weeks for that and Addison get 4 weeks for slightly poor tackle technique…joke
— Chris Walkingshaw (@cwalkingshaw) November 28, 2019
He got 50% reduction because he pleaded guilty (couldn't really deny it). Its a joke the disciplinary process needs looked at addison got 4 weeks for poor technique and this deliberate act got 6 the system doesn't work.
— Adrian Mc kinney (@adrian_kinney32) November 28, 2019
In comparison Pierre Bourgarit who intentionally gouged Tom Curry's eyes got a 6 week ban. Consistency?
— Peter scott (@Pete330v2) November 27, 2019
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.
To get 6 for that, a deliberate eye gouge, and Addison got 4 for his is ridiculous.
— Ryan Cullen (@RDC_87) November 27, 2019
@lukefitz11 @RuaidhriOC @gerrythornley 4 weeks for Addison for a tackle that was mistimed by a fraction of a section and 6 weeks for Bourgarit for deliberate and obvious contact with the eyes/face of an opponent! What is going on with EPRC?? Doesn’t Bourgarit deserve more??
— Michael (@mikekerrypdx) November 27, 2019
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.
@WorldRugby How can you justify the length of ban for the Pierre Bourgarit's eye gouge incident compared to Will Addison's dangerous tackle? The system is broken.
— W Johnston-Edwards (@WJohnstonEdward) November 27, 2019
Pierre Bourgarit gets 6 weeks for deliberately sticking his finger in Tom Curry's eye. Will Addison got four weeks for a badly timed tackle. How is a eye gouge only 2 weeks worse? #championscup #Rugby
— Matt Cassidy (@Cass_maitias) November 27, 2019
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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