Unpunished Premiership eye-gouge 'a lot worse' than Paul Willemse incident claims Blackett
Wasps boss Lee Blackett admits it is a “hard one to take” that Newcastle wing Mateo Carreras was not spotted allegedly gouging wing Josh Bassett and believes it was worse than the offence which saw French lock Paul Willemse sent off against Wales.
Although Wasps wing Bassett complained about the incident during their win over Newcastle at Kingston Park on Friday, it was not referred to the television match official and no action was taken. As yet, there is no indication that retrospective action is being considered.
Blackett addressed the incident today in the wake of Willemse’s sending off for gouging Welsh prop Wyn Jones and said: “I struggle with the amount of time they had for that not to be picked up live. The first time I saw it (played back) was in a BT interview and it is thrown on me and I was quite reserved. Josh Bassett claimed he spoke to the assistant referees and mentioned it a couple of times and its not looked at. I find that a bit of a hard one take especially as we are all about protecting our players.
“The French incident was completely different and it is hard to know what he (Carreras) was thinking against us but one looks a lot worse than the other for me.”
The incident was spotted by the BT Sports team at the game with former England international Austin Healey saying: “We can see exactly what you’ve done with your middle finger. You’ve had a little scratch there. Now that is naughty. It’s cheeky. That’s contact with the eye. People call it gouging.”
The player could face a big, big ban. https://t.co/Pyf2YJkyaA
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 20, 2021
Blackett has Paolo Odogwu back in camp after 11 weeks away with England during which he did not gain a first cap. The Wasps coach is hoping the win can recapture the form that saw him included in the England squad shortly after Italy showed interest in him. Blackett added: “If his confidence has been affected – and I don’t think it has – we will do our best to pick him up.
“He will come back hungry having learned a few things and I imagine he is a little frustrated and he wants to get out there and I hope 11 weeks without a game hasn’t taken anything away from the form he showed before he went away.
“Franco Smith (Italy coach) hasn’t be on but he probably should do!”
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