Rugby Union: Bath unable to identify player guilty of biting

Bath 24 London Scottish 23
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The Independent Online
David Llewellyn

Bath 24

London Scottish 23

Tony Swift, the Bath chief executive, has launched an investigation in an attempt to uncover the player guilty of biting off a chunk from the left ear of the London Scottish flanker Simon Fenn, shortly before half-time in their Tetley's Bitter Cup fourth-round tie at The Recreation Ground on Saturday, a match only won in injury time thanks to a Jon Callard penalty.

Bath have told the Exiles that the identity of the player involved cannot be ascertained at the moment. A statement from the club added that they are taking the matter seriously - but so are London Scottish. They have called for a lengthy ban, for a minimum of 12 months, and would like financial compensation for the club and for Fenn, an Australian who was making his debut for the club.

Fenn went to Queen Mary's hospital in Roehampton yesterday, where he had 28 stitches inserted into the wound in the lower part of his left ear and he will have to return later to assess whether he needs a graft. The 26-year-old's main concern is the risk of infection after the incident, which was quickly identified as a bite by the referee, Ashley Rowden.

London Scottish said: "We are very disappointed no Bath player is willing to admit responsibility." It is still not known whether the Exiles will cite anyone, assuming the player can be identified. They have seven days in which to do it, since the incident took place in a domestic match.

In the match itself, Bath fell well short of their usual high standards. The Cup is a competition they had virtually made their own, winning 10 finals in 14 years. They were a shadow of their former glorious selves.

It was not a pleasant match to watch. Too many players appeared to be more interested in private duels. Bath were lacklustre, unimaginative, slow-witted and their handling was at best inept, at worst appalling.

It was not just Bath's sporting image which was tarnished; their reputation as Cup winners has also been dented. They will have much work to do to restore their credibility and good name.

Bath: Tries Kayson, Webster; Conversion Callard; Penalties Catt, Callard 2; Drop goal Callard. London Scottish: Tries Johnstone, Morley; Conversions Lee 2; Penalties Lee 2, McAusland.

Bath: J Callard; M Kayson, M Perry, M Catt (P de Glanville, 40), A Adebayo (I Balshaw, 51); R Butland, A Nicol (capt); K Yates, F Mendez (A Long, 52), V Ubogu (J Mallett, 75), N Redman, G Llanes, N Thomas, R Earnshaw (R Webster, 40), D Lyle.

London Scottish: D Lee; G Thompson, J Bonney, R Davies, C Sharman; I McAusland, C Morley (S Cook, 80); P Johnstone, J Allan (G French, 65), J Kelly (P Burnell, 40), R Hunter, M Watson, S Fenn (T Davies, 65), S Holmes (capt), C Tarbuck.

Referee: A Rowden (Reading).