Bath fear multiple citing after mass Falcons brawl
Tuesday 14 September 2004
Miserable and pointless at the foot of the Premiership, Bath face an anxious 24 hours on the personnel front as a result of the brawl that disfigured the last rites of their weekend defeat by Newcastle at the Recreation Ground.
Half the West Country club's pack were involved in an incident that saw Phil Dowson, the visiting No 8, receive a red card from the referee, Steve Lander, and Tom May, the Falcons' wing, sent to the sin-bin. A Rugby Football Union citing officer must now decide if further action is necessary.
Rob Andrew, Newcastle's director of rugby, is adamant that Dowson was a victim of mistaken identity, and will put forward a case to that effect when his player appears before an RFU tribunal in Coventry next Tuesday night. He is not, however, thought likely to intervene on behalf of May, and any temptation he might feel to draw the citing officer's attention to misdemeanours committed by Bath players will probably be resisted. Mass dust-ups tend to be a two-way street, and there would be nothing to prevent Bath from pointing the finger at Newcastle in retaliation.
Under this season's disciplinary procedure, an independently recorded video of each Premiership game is sent to the RFU within 48 hours of the final whistle. Citing officials then have 36 hours from receipt of the tape to make recommendations to the disciplinary officer, Jeff Blackett. Action can be taken against players for any incident, irrespective of whether it was dealt with at the time by the match officials.
Two of Bath's outstanding forwards, the lock Steve Borthwick and the flanker Andy Beattie, were involved in the fight on Saturday, and would be serious losses to last season's Premiership runners-up as they attempt to recover from two heavy reverses.
"A couple of defeats at the start of a season can be written off as ring-rust," said John Connolly, the head coach, who has seen his side leak eight tries in 160 minutes of competitive rugby after losing the services of Brian Smith, the architect of the unprecedentedly successful defensive system that took Bath to the Grand Final four months ago. "Three defeats would suggest losing has become as much of a habit as winning was last season." Bath play Worcester at Sixways this weekend.
There is contrasting news from the southern hemisphere. Jonah Lomu, the New Zealand wing, has started running following his kidney transplant operation in July. However, the former Wallaby lock David Giffin, appointed assistant coach of Australia only last week, will miss his team's tour of Britain and France in November because of the condition of his two-year-old son Joseph, who is suffering from cancer.
Tom Cleverley criticism condemned by Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who labels petition against Manchester United midfielder 'aggressive'
Michael Schumacher: Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo admits he is still in shock over ski accident
Is this the cutest pitch invasion ever? Brazil squad embrace young South African fan in heartwarming scenes after friendly match
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
World Cup 2014: Sam Wallace picks his England squad - is there a place for Andy Carroll, and who wins the battle between Luke Shaw and Ashley Cole?
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast