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Red-carded Latu learns fate after 'abusive' chat with Wayne Barnes

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Stade Francais hooker Tolu Latu has been suspended for one week following his red-carding by referee Wayne Barnes during last Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup match versus Connacht in Paris. Latu was sent off in the 46th minute of the match after being shown a second yellow card for directing abusive language at Barnes in contravention of law 9.28.

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The 28-year-old, 19-cap Wallabies player was shown a first yellow card when he committed an act of foul play by dangerously clearing out the Connacht hooker Shane Delahunt at a 34th-minute ruck. 

An EPCR statement read: “The independent disciplinary committee comprising John Carroll (Ireland, chair), Mitchell Read (England) and Olly Kohn (Wales) considered video imagery of the incidents and heard evidence and submissions from the player, who accepted the red card decision, from the Stade Francais director general Thomas Lombard, from the Stade Francais head coach Gonzalo Quesada, and from Liam McTiernan, the EPCR disciplinary officer.

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“The committee upheld the red decision, finding that on each occasion Latu had committed an act of foul play that warranted a yellow card. It then determined that the offending was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and two weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

“As there were no aggravating factors, it was decided to grant the full 50 per cent mitigation and the committee reduced the sanction by one week before imposing a one-week suspension. Latu is free to play next Monday, January 31.”

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While Latu’s comments weren’t directly picked up by the ref mic that Barnes was wearing at the time, the aftermath was audible on live TV when the official had Stade skipper Tala Gray speak with him once the red card had been shown.

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“I penalised him for going off his feet. That is my decision. He has looked at me and said, ‘F***ing hell’,” explained Barnes to the Stade captain, who tongue-in-cheek replied: ‘You spoke French. Maybe he didn’t understand that properly’. Barnes was having none of that, ending the discussion by saying: “Stop. He said, ‘I got the f***ing ball’. Very clearly. Very much at me. Yellow card, red’.”

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