Tuesday, 15 December 2009

What's the Difference between Rugby and Facebook?

The answer is that poking is fun on Facebook but not in a game of rugby.

Yes Julien Dupuy and David Attoub of Stade Francais, I am talking to you.

Poor Stephen Ferris of Ulster was singled out for a disgusting spot of eye-gouging by this dispicable duo during the Ulster vs Stade Francais Heineken Cup Round 3 game, and the pair will now face a disciplinary hearing this Thursday.

Dupuy and Attoub released a joint statement, which says:
"..We apologise to the players and the Ulster club. Our actions were neither premeditated nor intentional.

"We also want to apologise to our club, players and staff for the negative image we've created."

So your actions weren't premeditated eh?  Let's look at the evidence.

First up, scrum-half Julien Dupuy:

"The pictures aren't really in my favour but I really didn't mean to put my fingers in his eyes," Dupuy told a French radio station. "I don't think I'm a dirty player."


Next up, David Attoub:

Yep, I can see some definite finger to eye contact in both cases.

So what should the punishment be for this pair of pokers?

Schalk Burger got off lightly with an eight week ban for poking his finger right into the eye socket of Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald this summer.  Then a couple of months ago, Shane Jennings was banned for twelve weeks after "making contact with the eye area of Nick Kennedy", even though the disciplinary panel said it was on the "lower end of the scale of seriousness for this type of offence."

So what options do the disciplinary panel have?  Well with the Shane Jennings case as a precedent I'd say Dupuy and Attoub are both looking down the barrel of a minimum 3 month ban if they are found guilty of eye-gouging, but the panel can dish out a ban of up to three years if they see fit.

I'm not saying that Dupuy and Attoub should be made examples of, but surely the only way to deter players from indulging in this disgusting and dangerous tactic which has no place in the game of rugby is to start handing out bans of 6 - 12 months or more.

I will be keeping my eye on this story...


  1. I'm afraid I wouldn't be as generous as you - in my opinion any case of eye gouging should carry a lifetime ban - nothing less - somewhat draconian maybe but far less severe than losing your sight!

  2. I agree with you Anne but I don't think this will ever happen.

    The panel now has to decide whether Dupuy and Attoub's actions were 100% intentional when deciding on whether to hit them with a lengthy ban. If they do decide this (and to be honest, the way Dupuy goes back for a second go at Ferris's eyes once he sees the ref looking the other way) I think Dupuy will probably be in line for a lengthy ban wheras Attoub will probably get off more lightly as he was at the bottom of a pile of bodies and it could be classed as "unintentional".

    If Dupuy gets anything less than 12 months then a strong enough message is not being sent out with regards to interfering with another player's eyes and I think there will be uproar.

  3. Am I the only one distracted by how pink their outfits are?

    Kate xx

  4. Erm, Stade Francais are well known for their 'colourful' kits, but I think that is the least of their worries in these circumstances Kate...

  5. Re: The Pink Uniforms...are a really unfortunate Stade Français tradition. While I was watching Ulster-Stade, both my wife and daughter commented how hideous those jumpers are. In rugby country in the south of France, the pink jumpers are not really looked up favorably, either.

    The Dupuy eye-gouge was particularly awful. I agree with Anne, the punishement should be really severe. The eye gouge, or as the French call it: La fourchette(the fork) is a really nasty part of the game in France.I think that untill the ERC or IRB really start dishing out severe punishements, we are going to continue to see these vile displays.

  6. So the outcome is a 6 month ban for Dupuy (meaning that he will miss the 6 Nations) and an interim suspension for Attoub with the panel reconvening to determine his fate (with more evidence) in January.

    I'm glad Dupuy got slapped with a 6 month ban, but with his offence classed as being "at the top end in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type" by the disciplinary panel, I think that his ban is too short.

  7. Bamberio, I think on the one hand, a six month ban is a good start-it could have only been 12 weeks, but it was blatant eye gouging-Dupuy's excuses notwithstanding. One has to ask what would be a worse case of eye -gouging? Surgical instruments on the pitch?

  8. So I think you're happy now with the 70-week ban for Attoub... Based on a picture... Very fair compared to the poor british players who got banned 12 weeks for the same foul. wonder why we french people (I'm from Toulouse) still participate to this competition.

  9. Anonymous, I sense that you are beating the well worn 'Anti-French' drum over Attoub's 70 week ban which I find disappointing.

    You are correct in thinking that I am very pleased that Attoub has been given a 70 week ban, as I would be pleased if ANY player was given such a ban after committing such a heinous offence. Don't forget this was classed as being at the worst level of seriousness for an offence of this type. Read the disciplinary panel's findings and Ferris' testimony if you don't believe it. Put it this way, would YOU like Attoub to poke around in your eye socket when you're lying defenseless on the floor? No, I thought not.

    Schalk Burger should have been given a much longer ban and Jennings' offence was at the "lower end of seriousness' for an offence of this type. He was given 12 weeks to Burger's scandalously short 6 weeks. I'm not defending these players (and please note neither of them are British as you state), but Attoub played dirty, was caught and has been suitably punished. Please don't start whinging about the length of the ban and it being a different state of affairs for French players as this will bring the game of rugby into even more disrepute.

  10. Interesting evolution of this thread with Hartley's case...
    Attoub 70 weeks
    Dupuy 23 weeks
    Burger 12 weeks
    Hartley 1 more cap.