Watch: Aussie-on-aussie fire as Skelton gets red for belting compatriot
La Rochelle have quickly become one of the top French sides in the Top 14 under head coach Ronan O’Gara, with Will Skelton becoming one of the key players in a dominant La Rochelle pack.
Skelton joined the French club following the Saracens salary cap scandal which saw the English club shed big name players like the giant Wallaby lock from their books.
The Wallaby was sent from the field after a high shot on another Australian, former Brumby Richie Arnold. The Toulouse lock was falling in the tackle when Skelton got his trajectory horribly wrong, launching from the side into Arnold.
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Skelton’s swinging arm clocked Arnold across the chops, and after a review the referee had no option but to issue a red card for the contact to the head.
The red card changed the course of the match in the 57th minute, with La Rochelle commanding a 16-9 lead at the time. The penalty allowed Toulouse to close the gap to four through a goal to Thomas Ramos.
With their opponents down to 14-men, Toulouse were able to storm back in the final twenty minutes and win the game 20-16 with La Rochelle failing to register another point.
Star flyhalf Romain Ntamack was able to score the decisive try with a brilliant 60-metre effort from a set-piece scrum play. Wrapping around his midfielders, Ntamack ghosted through the line and was able to slide over in the tackle from five metres out.
The try gave the visitors the lead at 17-16 and a further penalty goal sealed the result for the defending champions.
The red card decision was not without debate, with former French enforcer Sébastien Chabal saying he was “embarrassed” by the decision and would have preferred a yellow card.
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