A weekend derby encounter in Federale 1, the semi-professional level of France’s league system beneath Top 14 and PRO D2, has been described as a boxing match interspersed with some rugby after seven red cards were shown.
Last Saturday’s red-blooded collision between Tarbes and Lannemezan was won by the home side 36-3, but the rugby action wasn’t what was remembered in the aftermath.
Instead, it was the rare level of violence that was on show which resulted in seven red cards being shown – five at the very start of a match that was reportedly more like a boxing gala.
Only three yellow cards were shown when the sides met earlier in the season in a feisty encounter won 28-16 by Lannemezan, but it apparently left Tarbes complaining about being on the receiving end of some cheap shots.
As a result, they were out for revenge in last Saturday’s rematch and an incident in the first action of the game resulted in a seven-minute stoppage after players and management got involved in a terrible fight.
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Both coaches from each team were red-carded along with five players before the match resumed with 13 versus 12 and it eventually finished 12 versus 11 after two more red cards were brandished.
Tarbes’ South African hooker Ulrich Pretorius admitted to ladepeche.fr: “It must be said it is dangerous for everyone, things can turn very quickly.” Lannemezan’s Christophe Dulong added: “It is a fight which was much too far.”
The presidents of the two clubs will now hold a joint press conference on Tuesday night calling for appeasement after the president of the Ligue Occitanie de Rugby said their competition was now “the laughing stock of rugby”.
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