Lamaison pleads not guilty to charge: Rugby Union

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The Independent Online
Scotland are pushing ahead with their attempt to call Christophe Lamaison to account for his damaging shoulder-charge on Craig Chalmers during Saturday's Five Nations international in Paris, but the French centre is on such a roll that when he defends himself at this week's disciplinary meeting, the tribunal will probably end up awarding him compensation for the slight on his character.

Lamaison, the Brive goalkicker who made a decisive contribution to his country's Grand Slam, was cited by the Scots in the latest outbreak of trial by video. Footage showed him clattering a fraction late into Chalmers, Scotland's outside-half, who left the field on a stretcher before collapsing in the changing room and was diagnosed as suffering from severe concussion.

"I don't have the impression that I fouled him," said Lamaison yesterday and he won support from Jo Maso, one of the French coaches, who insisted: "It was just one of those injuries you get in rugby. Lamaison did catch him late, but he was going very fast into the tackle."

The French have proved more ready than anyone to discipline their own players of late - Olivier Merle, Richard Dourthe, Franck Tournaire and Christian Califano have all received bans in recent years - but they look ready to fight their man's corner this time.

Meanwhile, leading Welsh officials moved quickly yesterday to distance themselves from reports that they would make a temporary home for themselves at Twickenham next season. As demolition work continued at Cardiff Arms Park in preparation for a new pounds 14m stadium, Glanmor Griffiths, the Welsh Rugby Union treasurer, identified Wembley as the most obvious stand-in venue for the internationals with New Zealand, Scotland and France.

"We've considered Twickenham, but we wouldn't be able to play one of our Five Nations matches there next season because it clashes with an England date," Griffiths said. "We've looked at a number of possibilities, including Old Trafford and Villa Park, but we have to take into account the interests of our supporters and it is so easy to get to London from Wales. Wembley is the likely choice."

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