Donnybrook in south o’ France
January 30, 2007
We've seen athletes attacking spectators before. Manchester United superstar Éric Cantona kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace supporter. Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi laying out a Philadelphia Flyer fan who fell into his penalty box. The Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal coming unglued and picking fights with Piston fans rows above courtside...
Now it's rugby's turn. Rugby Planet reports:
Toulouse duo Trevor Brennan and Gareth Thomas have been summoned to appear before an independent Disciplinary Committee to answer misconduct complaints following the French side's controversial Heineken Cup clash against Ulster in France on Sunday.
The move comes following an initial investigation by European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary officer Roger O'Connor.
Brennan, a former Ireland lock, allegedly assaulted Ulster supporter Patrick Bamford after leaving the playing area at Stade Ernest Wallon and climbing into a seated area.
Thomas, the former captain of Wales and the Lions, is alleged to have engaged in what ERC term "aggressive exchanges with spectators" and/or "aggressively attempted to enter one of the seating areas" and/or "made an offensive hand gesture towards spectators."
While Brennan is no longer part of the Irish set-up, Thomas remains an integral part of Wales's Six Nations plans, with their tournament opener just ten days away.
If the complaints are proved, both players could expect a ban and fine.
Brennan allegedly delivered six punches to Bamford's head.
[Ulster fan] Bamford is said to have chanted 'your mother is a whore' several times at Brennan.
Sadly, no Youtube link yet. Still searchin'...
It'll be fascinating to see if-and-how the new IRB Regulation 17 disciplinary rule changes might apply to players assaulting spectators.