Worcester have hit back in the rumbling Siale Piutau row, director of rugby Alan Solomons taking issue with Pat Lam’s version of last Friday’s Gallagher Premiership fight at Sixways. Warriors’ second row Andrew Kitchener was red-carded for the incident and the three-match ban he was given was the same as the suspension dished out to Piutau after he was cited by match commissioner Tony Diprose.

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Lam was incensed by the punishment, voicing his frustration on live TV following Bristol’s Tuesday night win over Northampton and later appealing the judiciary ruling. That appeal will be heard on Thursday night. Worcester boss Solomons, though, can’t see the grounds for their allegations, insisting instead that Piutau was the instigator of last Friday’s fight and that the Bristol midfielder wasn’t acting in self-defence, as alleged by Lam. 

Speaking on BT Sport prior to the Wednesday night Worcester loss at Bath, Solomons, a former lawyer who specialised in litigation before coaching rugby professionally, said: “One has got to look at the facts of the matter and if you look at the facts of the matter and view the footage, Siale Piutau was in the initiator of the incident (see it here). 

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“He tackled Ted Hill, straddled Ted Hill post the tackle, grabbed him at the top of his jersey and started screaming and shouting at him. That comes through, you can hear that on the ref’s mic, you can hear that he is saying to him there is no need to scream and shout. So that started the entire incident and it’s interesting if you ever look at the judgment, that’s exactly what they found, that the incident started with Siale Piutau, so that’s the first fact. 

“Then young Andrew Kitchener, who obviously like Ted Hill is a young homegrown player, come through our academy, goes to support his teammate. Ted Hill at this stage has no involvement in the second part of this incident. None. He is not involved at all.

 

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“Andrew comes across to Siale Piutau. Siale Piutau is a strong, experienced, seasoned player. He immediately seizes the initiative and grabs Andrew Kitchener around the top of his jersey, around the neck area. Andrew then reacts and throws a punch which actually misses completely. 

“Then two players, one from each side, restrain Andrew. You have still got Piutau holding him like that and then Siale Piutau throws a punch which connects and that punch is clearly thrown in retaliation. There is no defending himself, there was nothing to defend himself from. 

“Having said that, Andrew Kitchener is a really tremendous young lad who has got a good future ahead of him. He has got an unblemished record, he’s a really decent lad from a decent home. He was clearly provoked by what had happened. He has learnt his lesson. 

“He has been punished and rightly so because in the melee that took place subsequently he obviously threw one or two punches being in the state that he was. But to be honest, if you look at it, the punishment meted out by the judiciary committee to both players I thought was appropriate. You’ve got to a judicial process, you have to respect the judicial process. It is integral to the game. It is critical for the game and you can’t in any shape or form seek to undermine it. 

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“You know there were further comments made about Melani Nanai taking cheap shots. Well, there is a citing commissioner who looks at it, you’re entitled to refer matters to the citing commissioner. Nothing has been referred from what I have seen of the citing commissioner’s report. 

“So, all in all, you have got to look at the facts of this particular matter objectively and what is interesting is the judgment that was handed down, when it comes to the punch by Siale Piutau, the judgement says clearly that it is retaliatory and there was no defence in the case. That is what it seems like to me.”

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