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'Worst week of my life' - Teddy Thomas banned for incident with ex-teammate

By Ian Cameron
La Rochelle's French wing Teddy Thomas reacts during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Racing 92 and La Rochelle at the Paris La Defense Arena in Nanterre, north-west of Paris on November 26, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Former France winger Teddy Thomas has said he’s experienced one of the worst weeks of his life as he copped a hefty ban for a dangerous tackle on a former teammate.

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In a disciplinary decision stemming from the incident against Racing 92 on November 26, the La Rochelle winger was handed a five-week suspension. The tackle in question occurred during La Rochelle’s 32-10 defeat to the Parisians, where Thomas received a red card for his dangerous tackle on Nolann Le Garrec.

The committee gave him a ten-week suspension due to the gravity of the offence which was mitigated to five weeks due to Thomas’ acknowledgement of the incident, expression of remorse, his behaviour before and during the hearing, and a clean disciplinary record.

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The 30-year-old winger – who fell out of favour with France head coach Fabien Galthie in recent years – expressed regret for the challenge against his former teammate.

“Immediately, at the moment, I blamed myself,” Thomas stated in an interview with AFP. “Firstly, because he is a person (Le Garrec) that I really like and I played with him. And secondly, under no circumstances do I want to hurt anyone on the pitch.”

Thomas opened up about the challenging week leading up to the incident, citing personal and family issues. “I had family problems, my girlfriend too. So I wasn’t very present in La Rochelle because I had to go down to Biarritz during the week to sort all that out,” he explained. “Then, red on the weekend. It was really a shit week, I have no other words… if not the worst week of my life. Really.”

In response to the suspension, Thomas has also requested to benefit from the Head Contact Process, a mechanism that could potentially reduce his sanction by an additional week. As it stands, Thomas is suspended until his requalification on December 31.

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Notably, in the same encounter against Racing, La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara was handed a one-week suspension “for reasons of indiscipline and in particular nervousness.” O’Gara is set to be requalified on December 11.

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