Two of the union game's more colourful characters the England hooker Mark Regan and the Wales midfielder Gavin Henson found themselves in some trouble and strife yesterday, one for playing against the wishes of his club and the other for allegedly playing up against the wishes of a carriage full of rail passengers.
Regan was "sanctioned" by Bristol fined, in other words for defying the dictates of the top-flight clubs' umbrella organisation, Premier Rugby, in turning out for the Barbarians at Twickenham last Saturday. Henson, meanwhile, faces an internal investigation into accusations of loutish behaviour on the way back to the Principality following Ospreys' victory over Harlequins.
Kevin Hopkins, the Welsh club's director of rugby, confirmed that the claims against Henson were being investigated. The centre, who returned home from London by train with a group of friends after scoring all Ospreys' points in a 19-8 victory that earned the regional side a place in the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals, was one of four men quizzed by British Transport Police following complaints from fellow travellers. All are expected to be questioned further by the same officers.
An Ospreys spokesman said: "Spirits were high given the nature of the victory, and the group apologises for any inconvenience caused to fellow passengers." Reports in Wales suggested that Henson acted to calm the situation once people tired of the "high spirits" and started confronting those responsible.
It seems Regan has put his spat with authority behind him. Having accepted an invitation to lead the Baa-Baas against the Springboks a fixture that caused considerable anger amongst the Premiership fraternity, who resented it being scheduled as a rival attraction to the club programme he found himself in an awkward situation once the elite clubs made their anti-Barbarian position clear. He described himself as a "reluctant rebel" but decided to play, knowing full well he would be punished.
Regan is expected to return to the Bristol front row for this weekend's big Heineken Cup match at Harlequins, of all places. However, he is not expected to catch the train home.
l Ben Cohen, who left Northampton after being overlooked for the captaincy, has signed an 18-month deal with Brive, who are bottom of the French league.