Rugby Union: Benazzi may not turn the other cheek

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The Independent Online
ABDEL BENAZZI, the French forward laid out by a punch during South Africa's 20-15 first-Test win in Lyons, will ask for action to be taken against the perpetrator if an X-ray examination shows his cheek is broken, writes Steve Bale.

Benazzi, something of a reformed character after a chequered disciplinary history of his own, had just won a line-out when he was hit by the Springbok lock Adri Geldenhuys. The incident, drawn to the attention of the Australian referee, Brian Kinsey, by the English touch-judge, Tony Spreadbury, has been endlessly repeated on French television since the game.

The widespread feeling here, articulated before and after the match by Pierre Berbizier, France's coach, is that other countries' players escape with warnings for offences for which Frenchmen would be sent off, and the 6ft 5in Geldenhuys falls into this category.

Pending the X-ray, Benazzi is in an unchanged squad of 21 named yesterday for next Saturday's second Test in Paris. Fitness permitting, he is likely to be in the starting line-up to be finalised on Thursday.

FRANCE SQUAD (v South Africa, Paris, 24 October): J-B Lafond (Begles), J-L Sadourny (Colomiers); P Saint-Andre (Montferrand), C Deylaud (Toulouse), T Lacroix (Dax), F Mesnel (Racing Club), S Viars; A Penaud (Brive), F Galthie (Colomiers), A Hueber (Toulon); L Armary (Lourdes), J-M Gonzales (Bayonne), P Gallart (Beziers), S Graou (Auch), A Benazzi (Agen), J-M Cadieu (Toulouse), O Roumat (Dax), P Benetton (Agen), L Cabannes (Racing Club), J-F Tordo (Nice), M Cecillon (Bourgoin).