Castres hooker Marc-Antoine Rallier can consider himself a very lucky player after only coming away with a three-week ban for a heinous clear-out on Racing 92’s Antonie Claassen. 

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In the most recent round of Top 14 action, the 31-year-old saw red for a hit that was simply despicable in the modern game and No8 Claassen was fortunate he did not suffer a serious injury. 

The disciplinary commission handed Rallier the ban on Wednesday, which is extraordinarily short given how reckless the collision was. 

Not only was this a shoulder charge, as the hooker clearly made no attempt to wrap his arms, but it was to the back of his opponent’s head and neck. Claassen had no opportunity to brace himself after making the tackle, as he was blindsided by Rallier. 

This was the offence, as shared by Tom May on Twitter: 

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While there have been complaints in recent times about how frivolously referees hand out cards, this was inexcusable and a three-week suspension is very lenient from the Ligue Nationale de Rugby. 

The point of banning a player is partly to punish them, but also to serve as a deterrent to other players doing the same in future. 

A three-week ban does not correlate to how dangerous Rallier’s challenge was. French rugby, who this week handed centre Geoffrey Doumayrou a five-week suspended ban and a €1,000 fine feigning injury, must surely have to look into making bans for tackles like Rallier’s more severe in future. 

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