Rugby Union: Toulouse verdict angers Vale

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The Independent Online
TOULOUSE AND their international prop, Franck Tournaire, effectively walked free from yesterday's European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing in Dublin.

The French side were ordered to pay costs of pounds 2,600 and were reprimanded for Tournaire's threatening behaviour towards the touch judge Rob Dickson as well as the parts played by other Toulouse players and officials following their surprise 19-11 Pool C defeat at Ebbw Vale on 7 November.

Violence marred the encounter, culminating with the Scottish referee Ed Murray sending off the Toulouse forward Cyrille Vancheri, and there were ugly scenes outside the match commissioner's room.

A policeman's helmet was knocked off as Toulouse players remonstrated with match officials, while police also attended an incident in the Ebbw Vale clubhouse later that evening.

"Toulouse have got away with it," said the Ebbw Vale chief executive, Ray Harris. "From our point of view, it was a wasted journey. I am disappointed and dumbfounded."

A statement from ERC said: "In the case of the complaint against Franck Tournaire, the committee considered he had made unnecessary contact with the touch judge. The committee did not, however, consider this contact to be threatening, but they emphasised strongly that no contact should ever be made with a match official."

Anthony Sullivan hopes to make his comeback from injury for Cardiff in Saturday's friendly against Richmond. The Great Britain rugby league wing suffered a shoulder injury in Wales A's defeat by Argentina last month. He is rated a 50-50 chance for the weekend.

London Irish have confirmed that preliminary discussions have taken place with the financially-troubled Oxford United about a ground share next season. Irish, whose plans to build a 15,000 all-seater stadium at their Sunbury home have been rejected by councillors, could become tenants of Oxford's new Minchery Farm site. But the Allied Dunbar Premiership club say it is only one of several options currently being explored.

Bath were given their second tough draw of the season with a trip to Saracens in the second round of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup. The European champions also face a testing Tetley's Bitter Cup fourth-round trip to Newcastle on 9 January.

CHELTENHAM & GLOUCESTER CUP Second-round draw: Bristol v Moseley or Northampton, Leicester or Rugby v Bedford or Coventry, Waterloo v Exeter, London Scottish v Orrell or Sale, Saracens v Bath, Newcastle v London Welsh or Richmond, best loser one v best loser two, Gloucester v Leeds. (Ties to be played between 17 and 24 February).

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