Ruck and Maul: Incident which blinded Quinnell in one eye is investigated by police and WRU
Sunday 10 October 2010
It is not clear yet whether the Welsh Rugby Union's investigation into Llanelli's citing of a stamp during the match at Cross Keys which cost the Scarlets' Gavin Quinnell the sight in his left eye will wait for Gwent police to complete their inquiries into an allegation of assault. In England, the Gravesend player Clarence Harding was blinded in one eye last January by what he alleged was a gouge while playing against Maidstone. Police took evidence but according to Maidstone RFC, who have not disciplined any player, the police concluded there was "insufficient evidence to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service". Nine months on, an RFU disciplinary hearing is pending.
Jock offers inspiration
It may be of consolation to Quinnell – whose father Derek, uncle Barry John and brothers Scott and Craig all played for Wales – to know that players unsighted in one eye have continued in international rugby. They include Jock Wemyss of Scotland and France's Marcel-Frédéric Lubin-Lebrere, who both played Tests in 1914 before each lost an eye in the First World War. The pair resumed their careers – winning 17 more caps between them – and propped against each other at Stade Colombes in 1922.
Pandy Park packed a punch
Cross Keys' Pandy Park was the venue the last time a Welsh rugby player was prosecuted for an incident in a match. Ten years ago, Cross Keys' full-back Ioan Bebb was forced to retire from the game after suffering a detached retina due to a punch. The Bridgend and Wales lock Chris Stephens was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to Bebb, a schoolteacher, and sentenced to 200 hours' community service.
Fijian eyes seventh heaven
The Fiji-born forward Isoa Damudamu is in England's squad for the two-day Commonwealth Games sevens which kick off in Delhi tomorrow. Fiji have a great sevens pedigree but the country is excluded from the Commonwealth. Kenya and Samoa are possible second-round opponents for England; the favourites are New Zealand, with All Blacks Zac Guildford, Hosea Gear and Liam Messam in their squad. Some of England's forward power comes from Chris Cracknell, who left Worcester under a cloud in July after the brawl involving his team-mate James Collins and their families following the final match of last season at Leeds.
Keen to pay tribute to Keane
Perhaps only an Irishman, or even a Munsterman, is properly qualified to eulogise Moss Keane, doyen of the second-row old school who passed away aged 62 last week. In Anthony Foley's autobiography, the recent Munster captain jovially recalled the difficulty his dad, Brendan, had holding a place in Ireland's engine room alongside the perennially present, hard-drinking Keane. "You'd better play well today or I'll be dropped," Foley Snr once told Moss. The man himself contributed an entertaining page to last year's book of rugby tales, Voices from the Back of the Bus, describing a Tio Pepe-soaked preamble to his Test debut in Paris too long to go into. In Keane's words: "We were unlucky to lose 9-6 but I must have played OK, as I subsequently made five further appearances at the same venue. Happy days."
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