Gloucester's Andy Hazell smacked with 14-week ban for attack


Gloucester knew it was coming, and today it arrived – a long ban that will keep Andy Hazell, the long-serving flanker who commands the respect of supporters in the Kingsholm Shed, out of rugby until the new year. Hazell was handed a 14-week suspension for repeatedly punching Sebastien Ormaechea, a prop with the French club Mont-de-Marsan, during a fractious Amlin Challenge Cup pool match earlier this month.

Hazell also drove his knee into Ormaechea's head as the victim lay spreadeagled on the floor, leaving the match officials no option but to flourish a red card in his direction. For their part, Gloucester did not dispute that their player had lost all self-control – indeed, Hazell himself confessed as much – but they also indicated that he had been provoked by a bout of eye-gouging, perhaps the deadliest sin in the sport.

Unfortunately for Hazell, the club could not produce sufficient evidence to persuade disciplinary officials that one or more Mont-de-Marsan players might have played a part in the build-up to the incident.

He alone was charged, and yesterday the independent judicial officer Roger Morris removed him from the game until 21 January. Morris decided that Hazell's offence was of the "top-end" variety and would have dished out an 18-week suspension but for the player's guilty plea and his "exemplary conduct" during the hearing. However, 14 weeks is quite bad enough from Gloucester's perspective. Hazell may be 34 now, but he remains the most reliable breakaway forward available to the West Country club, who have started the season brightly and are chasing a top-four Premiership finish.

In another hearing, the 18-year-old Toulouse hooker Christoper Tolofua was suspended for six weeks after the player admitted hitting the Treviso scrum-half Fabien Semenzato with a dangerous tackle during a Heineken Cup match in Italy last weekend. The highly-rated forward broke into the French Test squad during the summer but will now miss next month's international programme.

Sale, meanwhile, have made nine changes to the side that lost the Heineken Cup pool match in Montpellier last weekend for tonight's important Premiership meeting with Worcester at Sixways. Danny Cipriani holds his place at outside-half but there are selectorial revisions in virtually every other area of the side as the northerners travel in search of a first Premiership victory of the campaign. Ross Harrison, the England Under-20 prop, makes a first start in the front row while Nick Macleod, who forced Cipriani on to the bench for a while, plays at full-back.

Worcester, who scored a rare attacking bonus point on their last Premiership appearance at home but drew a desperate blank at Wasps a week later, have relegated the captain Dean Schofield to the bench, thereby granting the line-out specialist Craig Gillies a first start of the season in the engine room. Matt Mullan, the loose-head prop, will lead a side featuring former London Irish and England scrum-half Paul Hodgson at No 9.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own