Rugby Union: Prop banned for two years

Pontypridd 22 Colomiers 14
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COLOMIERS PAID for their sour approach when they finished this Heineken Cup Pool Four tie last night with 14 men after their replacement prop, Richard Nones, was sent off in injury time for gouging. He has been given a two-year ban.

Huw Lewis, the Welsh Rugby Union delegate who was acting as the match commissioner, handed down the 24-month penalty after a lengthy post-match disciplinary hearing.

Nones' victim was his opposite number, Sven Cronk, who was shown the yellow card for a retaliatory punch.

The last-minute scrap showed how much passionate Ponty had frustrated their French opponents in a match in which, by bouncing back from last weekend's defeat by Munster, they showed that talk of their demise after losing four international players and their coaching team in the summer was exaggerated.

Colomiers have a great pedigree. They won the European Shield two seasons ago, reached the final of this tournament last year and added the scalp of Saracens last weekend to a collection this season that includes Grenoble, Stade Francais and Brive.

Ponty just managed to hang on for a 32-27 home victory over "the other team from Toulouse" in the pool stages last season, but this was a far better performance. They conjured up a superb try for Gareth Wyatt, tackled like demons and showed the kind of commitment that had been slightly lacking in recent performances.

While the outside-half Lee Jarvis provided 17 points with his boot, his goalkicking was not of its usual high quality. He kicked five out of nine and had he been more accurate Ponty would have been out of sight.

As it was they had to hang on and put their bodies on the line for more than 80 minutes and when they managed to steal against the head a Colomiers scrum on their own line in the 56th minute you rather got the feeling that it was going to be the home side's night.

But they fully deserved the luck they had and Colomiers fully deserved the rough treatment they got from Jim Fleming. Their skipper, the French scrum-half Fabien Galthie, decided he would engage in a running battle with the Scottish referee and his side paid a high price.

Pontypridd: Try G Wyatt; Conversion L Jarvis; Penalties Jarvis 5. Colomiers: Try M Carre; Penalties D Skrela 3.

Pontypridd: B Davey; G Wyatt, J Lewis, S Parker, R Greenslade-Jones; L Jarvis, P John (capt); C Loader, A Lamerton, S Cronk, W James, I Gough (J Machacek, 40-46), M Lloyd, G P Lewis, D McIntosh.

Colomiers: J-L Sadourny; D Skrela, S Roque, J Sieurac, B Lhande; M Carre (M Biboulet, 17-28), F Galthie (capt); J-P Beyssen (R Nones, 58), M Dal Maso (G Laurent, 75), W Begarie, J-P Revaillier (G Moro, 69), J-M Lorenzi, P Tabacco, B De Giusti, S Peysson.

Referee: J Fleming (Sco)