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The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation

Eddie Jones' England weren't far away from making the grade.

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'We withdrew report': Row diffused over 14-second Toulouse gaffe

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

A row over Toulouse playing 14 seconds of a Top 14 match with an extra player has been diffused after Brive withdrew its report on the issue following last weekend’s 26-8 home defeat by the defending champions. Jeremy Davidson’s strugglers took issue with a 72nd-minute incident in the loss that leaves them just three points clear of Perpignan and the relegation zone with just one regular-season match remaining

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Toulouse, who are in the sixth and last playoff spot in the title race, were leading 23-8 when  Cyril Baille, Zach Holmes and Martin Page-Relo all entered the game as late replacements at Stade Amedee-Domenech. 

Only two players came off the field, however,  Dorian Aldegheri and Pita Ahki, and it left Toulouse, who had Charlie Faumuina red-carded on 18 minutes, briefly taking on Brive with 15 players when they should only have had 14. 

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Joel Kpoku | Le French Rugby Podcast | EP 30
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Joel Kpoku | Le French Rugby Podcast | EP 30

The error had no direct consequence on the score and the result of the match and it only took 14 seconds until the next stoppage of play which resulted in Romain Ntamack coming off to give Brive back their numerical advantage. In the aftermath, Brive boss Davidson said: “We have to see what we are going to do with the club.”

Something similar had taken place in a Nationale level game in 2020 between Nice and Narbonne. Nice unwittingly played 30 seconds with an extra player and despite this fleeting advantage having no impact on the result, the match had to be replayed. But that won’t happen with Brive and Toulouse and a line was drawn under the matter on Sunday morning. 

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Brive president Simon Gilham explained in the French media: “What happened is that we reported this numerical superiority to the LNR on Saturday evening, as a precaution. We had to do it at that time. We followed a certain procedure, you even had to pay for it. Afterwards, we went to bed and on Sunday morning, we examined the situation and we realised that there was nothing to say.

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“Toulouse’s superiority was obvious, so we decided not to do anything – we withdrew our report. We could only admire the performance of Toulouse, who were better than us on the pitch. I called Didier Lacroix who thanked me.”

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