Rugby Union: Veil over Vale victory

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The Independent Online
Ebbw Vale 19

Toulouse 11

THERE will be an official inquiry after violence on and off the field marred the remarkable victory of Ebbw Vale over former European Cup champions Toulouse.

Toulouse had the prop-forward Cyrille Vencheri sent off for kicking on the stroke of half-time but that, plus other sporadic outbursts of violence among the players, were put in the shade by unseemly events that took place on the touch-line at the final whistle.

As the dejected French side left the field, another prop, Franck Tournaire, seemed to jostle and attack one of the touch judges, Ken McCartney, an incident which obliged a policeman and security guard to go to his aid. In their effort to protect the official they in turn were attacked by other Toulouse players in a melee right in front of the stands, with punches being exchanged on both sides.

Fortunately, from the home club's point of view, none of the Ebbw Vale players were involved. They had remained behind in the middle of the pitch celebrating a victory that was totally unexpected after they had lost by a record 108-16 earlier in the season to Toulouse, who are under not threat as leaders of the pool.

A police spokesman said they had received no official complaint, adding he understood the club would conduct an inquiry after watching video evidence of what occurred."

The Scottish international referee Ed Murray deserves sympathy. He had his work cut out to quell the violence that marred the match. He yellow-carded three players, apart from the sending off and could have sent others to the dressing-room as tempers flares.

It took much of the glory from a stunning performance by the Welsh club. On their own admission they had played badly in their first season in the European Cup. "We were desperate to show we weren't as bad as our results have indicated," their coach Leigh Jones said.

He paid tribute to his side's passion and commitment as they wiped out the memory of that earlier 16-try humiliation in style. Jason Strange kicking four penalties and converting a penalty try there was not much for Toulouse, short of six first choice players, to celebrate. Their one try by Pierre Bondouy was a scrambling affair against the run of play and they scored only two other penalties through Christophe Deylaud.

In their scrum half David Llewellyn, their captain of the day Richie Collins and stand-in No 8 Nathan Budgett Ebbw Vale had real heroes in a match in which violence overshadowed much quality play both sides.

Ebbw Vale: S Taumalolo; L Olsen, J Hawker, G Williams, D Manley; J Strange, D Llewellyn; A Phillips, R Campbell, A Metcalfe, L Banks, K Faletau, G Green, R Collins (capt), N Budgett.

Toulouse: S Ougier (capt); X Garbajosa, R Paillat, P Bondouy, M Marfaing; C Deylaud, J Tilloles; C Vanchiri, M Mafutuna, F Tournaire, F Pelous, N Spanghero, M Lievremont, D Lacroix, S Dospagne.

Referee: E Murray (Scotland).

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