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Dragons staff member cops ban over incident with Ben Whitehouse

By Ian Cameron
Referee Ben Whitehouse during the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

A member of Dragons RFC’s back room staff has been given a touchline ban following an incident with URC referee Ben Whitehouse.

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Dragons RFC Head of Performance Dan Baugh found himself in the dock after an unsavoury incident with the Welsh referee, in which Whitehouse could be heard saying ‘Don’t touch me’.

During the Dragons RFC versus Ospreys Round 5 fixture last Saturday at Rodney Parade, Baugh touched the arm of Whitehouse “in a manner that was deemed to breach Championship Rule 4.13”, which relates to how match officials are communicated with. Baugh’s actions were deemed unsportsmanlike in nature.

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Baugh has now been banned for four games with three suspended across the course of the 2023/24 season. The Dragons have also been fined.

A URC statement reads: “As a result The ban means that Mr Baugh is prohibited from being in the Playing Enclosures (Pitch & Technical) areas but can sit in the stand, enter the dressing room and/or the coaches box during for this weekend’s fixture between Dragons RFC and Hollywood Bets Sharks in Durban.

“Should Mr Baugh repeat this offence or any other action deemed as misconduct throughout the rest of the season he will have to serve the remaining three games of the ban. A fine of £2,500 will also be incurred by Mr Baugh in such a situation.

“Additionally, Dragons RFC have been sanctioned with a suspended £5,000 fine under Disciplinary Rule 3.3.5 which refers to a club’s duty to exercise reasonable and proper control over their players and staff.

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“The United Rugby Championship has made it clear to its clubs and their match-day personnel and squads that unsporting or disrespectful behaviour towards match officials will not be tolerated. The league thanks Dragons RFC for their compliance and understanding during this process and believes that this is a rare and isolated incident that is out of character with the club’s positive reputation.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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