Hazell sees red amid gouge claims
Rugby:Former England flanker Andy Hazell was sent off as Gloucester launched their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign with an 11-6 victory over Mont de Marsan in an ill-tempered clash at Stade Guy Boniface last night.
Hazell received a red card midway through the second period after he aimed a flurry of punches at an opponent on the floor and used his knee. His back-row colleague Matt Cox was sin-binned for an off-the-ball challenge in the same incident that meant Gloucester were temporarily reduced to 13 men.
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies later inferred that Hazell had been the victim of gouging and that it had provoked him to lose control. Davies admitted that his player’s eye was “severely sore and very red,” before adding, “we’ll speak to the citing commissioner, and there will be something done there.
“We can’t condone what was done from a Gloucester view, but that was a reaction to what went on before. We will take our punishment, but I think they (Mont de Marsan) need to take their punishment too. We’ll look at the video, and from what I’ve seen already I’m sure we will make a complaint.
“The doctor’s had a look at Andy’s eye. It was severely sore and very red. And we took some pictures of that, because that was damning evidence in its own right. He’s disappointed with himself, but I think there were three incidents before that with the same player and he’s caught him off the ball again, and unfortunately Andy snapped.”
Hazell admitetd through his twitter account his morning: "Never had a red in 12 years, extremely embarrassed by my actions. It was the third time someone tried to severely injury (sic) me, and I reacted.”
Mont-de-Marsan, bottom of the French Top 14, did not help themselves as their former Scotland international lock Scott Murray and substitute hooker Ephraim Taukafa collected yellow cards in each half. And with torrential rain making handling a hazard for both teams, Gloucester will be relieved to head home with four Pool One points in the bag.
Wing Charlie Sharples looked lively on his first game back after four weeks’ sidelined recovering from shoulder trouble, while Gloucester skipper Mike Tindall also showed some neat touches. But Gloucester’s star performers proved to be the young and inexperienced front-row unit of Yann Thomas, Koree Britton and Shaun Knight, who dominated the scrums throughout.