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Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Perry Freshwater strikes Kieran Roche

England and Perpignan prop Perry Freshwater has been banned for one month following an outrageous swinging elbow/backhand that left London Irish flanker Kieran Roche with a fractured eye socket and blurred vision.

After a scrum collapsed and the ref had stopped play in order to reset it, Freshwater seemed to be leaning down on someone in the London Irish pack. Roche put his arm around Freshwater in an effort to pull him away seemingly, when out of the blue Freshwater lashed out, catching Roche square in the left eye, sending him to the turf clutching his face in agony.

Whether it was Freshwater's elbow, as reported, or the back of his hand, it certainly caused some damage with fears that surgery may be required on Roche's eye. As you can see by the top picture, the area around his eye certainly is a mess. Roche will be out of rugby for 4 weeks.

Opthalmologists in London have said that they would need the bruising and swelling to subside before determining the extent of the damage to the eye itself.

Neither ref nor touch judge saw the incident (that's their story anyway - not sure how the touch judge could miss it), so on the field a penalty was all that came of it. An independent citing commission has since ruled that "the offence was of mid-range in the level of seriousness". Whatever that means I don't know, but to receive only one month for this is pretty lenient I feel.

Then again, Phil Vickery has only received a two week suspension for trampling on Thibaut Privat's leg, so maybe they're trying to be consistent at least.

Consistently forgiving some might say.




  • I agree... that really was a disgrace that no red card was given.

    By Anonymous Pierre, at December 19, 2007 9:07 pm  

  • The video ref should surely be allowed to intervene in this case. The red card was obviously deserved, and going down to 14 men would have changed the game.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 19, 2007 9:14 pm  

  • The Italian ref wasn't even looking... What kindof ref is that in the first place?

    By Anonymous Prop, at December 19, 2007 9:21 pm  

  • jesussss, that swelled up a little bit! i agree, it should have definately been a red card especially when they should be trying to take these things out of matches

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 19, 2007 9:42 pm  

  • Agreed. Red card definitely deserved. How did the ref miss it? He was standing right there. No need for that type of rubbish.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 19, 2007 9:49 pm  

  • Agreed. Red card definitely deserved. How did the ref miss it? He was standing right there. No need for that type of rubbish.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 19, 2007 9:49 pm  

  • That was a cheap shot!! Blind siding a guy like that is cowardly and one month is way too soft on Freshwater!

    By Anonymous iain, at December 19, 2007 9:50 pm  

  • That was an absolute disgrace.

    If I was Roche, I would have Preshwater for GBH which is what this incident was. It wasn't accidental, it was deliberate, Freshwater knew what he was doing and did it to cause harm.

    He should be banned for Months, not just the one.

    By Anonymous Fridge, at December 19, 2007 10:16 pm  

  • Banned for months? That idea is bullshit. I hate to say it but rugby has become so lame these days when i read the opinions about ruggers here on this website...

    By Anonymous SuperP, at December 19, 2007 10:25 pm  

  • superp if you wanna do that go take up boxing. That has no place in rugby. Has nothing to do with being 'soft'. Talking like that is just ridiculous posturing

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 19, 2007 10:56 pm  

  • Fucking Nora!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 19, 2007 10:57 pm  

  • Doing what? I don't say he shouldnt be penalized but, banning a player for a month is yet another example of the new (but lame) rugby mentality

    By Anonymous superp, at December 19, 2007 11:04 pm  

  • superp. exactly how is banning a player for foul play evidence of any "new rugby mentality". Do you think that the game isnt tough enough anymore? Do cheap shot punches make it tougher?

    By Anonymous iain, at December 19, 2007 11:32 pm  

  • should of been red and alot more than 1 month ban. someone in my team got a 36 week ban for alot less than this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 12:10 am  

  • Wow, I cannot believe that wasn't a red. I don't know what kind of person would just walk away after doing that to someone.

    Superp you give a bad name to ruggers. Foul play should never take place in this, or any sport.

    By Anonymous Cory, at December 20, 2007 12:54 am  

  • superp, you don't have to be tough to kinghit someone, its like kicking someone in the groin... no honour it that.

    By Anonymous hangover, at December 20, 2007 1:45 am  

  • Superp...wut a jerk.

    By Blogger Don, at December 20, 2007 2:13 am  

  • not sure he meant to catch him in the face but a red for recklessness for sure

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 2:22 am  

  • what a son of a bitch

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 2:38 am  


    i think the commontater
    said it had some power behind
    (well he said it in english terms)

    it did have alot of power


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 2:59 am  

  • Nasty gives a bad name to rugby players ever where. Cheap shots like that have no place in rugby.

    By Blogger Hendrick, at December 20, 2007 4:04 am  

  • He should definitely have gotten a red for that one. The punch was just blatant thuggery that gives sport a bad name. I can see how the ref missed it, because if you look at the video his head was turned, but the touch judge was staring straight at the two of them. Freshwater got off lucky with just a month on ice, personally i think 6 or 7 weeks would have been more appropriate.

    In regards to the back and forth about whether or not punishments like these have made the sport lame, i would disagree, thuggery isn't sport, and the two should not mix. It's detrimental to the game to have players getting maimed and side-lined for recovery from injuries that came from punches and kicks.

    By Blogger Ryan, at December 20, 2007 4:34 am  

  • quit sayign it was a punch, it was an elbow clearly, a punch or a "back hand" wouldnt have done that without a huge wind up
    and although i dont see it as a good thing, a month is just right, sure it was a bad idea, doesnt mean the whole team should lose a good player liek that for that many games
    looks liek the england pack are a little mad about being pushed around haha, bet the feel tough as nails now
    too bad they are just goons haha

    By Anonymous Chris P, at December 20, 2007 5:47 am  

  • I used to work as an assistant to the RFU citing commissoner and what you guys have to realise is there are a number of factors regarding a players citing and ban.

    For example the players history. In this case Freshwater has what, say, a 15 year exemplary playing record where as far as I recall nothing like this has happened before. This would of been taken into account hence the shortened ban.

    Now im not condoning this type of play at all but its not as black and white as him just getting a straight 8 weeks.

    By Anonymous Kelevra, at December 20, 2007 6:26 am  

  • It wasn't even that big of a deal, to be honest.

    I see swinging arms like that various times in a game around the scrum area... Only difference is most of the time players don't go to ground and come up with a deranged eye.

    Its the same with late tackles... If you late tackle someone, but it doesn't really do anything, play will continue. But if you late tackle and hit them good, you'll be in the bin.

    Infact it's like that for most rulings in the game these days.

    Not that i have a problem with the ban or anything... Just pointing out the growing rates of hypocrisy in the game. Seems if you do something illegal and it has impact, you're punished, but if you do something illegal and it has little effect play continues.

    Example of this would be Sheridans late hit last week or so, he went to the bin because the hit he put on was aesthetically pleasing, the other guy went to ground. If the other guy stood up and shrugged off the tackle, the whistle wouldn't even of been blown.

    Point is if you're going to ban such illegal play, then be consistant, i can't blame people who do this sort of stuff and assume they'll get away with it, because 39 times out of 40 people do get away with the exact same thing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 8:43 am  

  • The Italian Referee System is a disgrace in its own country, having seen games in their domestic championship. They are quite happy to guess the offence and award penalties left right and centre. When it really counts though this ref lost his bottle and was scared of being criticised for dishing out a red card. He should be ashamed of himself, if he did not see it he surely must of heard the cracking sound of a breaking eye socket!! In any case Freshwater should be subject to the highest possible punishment for this offence. If you done that to someone in the street you would risk prison!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 11:42 am  

  • Superp.. what a wanker. The reason why rugby is a great game is because it’s controlled aggression, you only have to look at sports like football to realise why it is so strict, if the ref/rules were as soft as football the game would turn to shit. Any one can throw a punch/elbow. It takes a different sort of person to make a good clean hard tackle.

    As the for ref, specsavers might be a good idea, do like the idea of the video ref stepping in, would change the game. Would stop teams taking out key players, like Brain O’Driscoll on the Lions team.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 12:11 pm  

  • the way rugby used to be was one ref, he ran the game and kept order
    then they allowed touch judges to make calls (which they do just to be included it seems), now u want the video judge to be basically another ref
    if the ref doesnt see it it isnt illegal, thats how it usually is
    in many sports if the ref doesnt see it nothign happens, but rugby has the least amount of reffing on the pitch possible, but then there is 2-3 other people being back seat refs, it just kinda bugs me
    i agree with what was said before and i have always said the same thing, its penalized if somebody gets hurt, if not, it is forgoten by all withing a week or 2
    i mean just look up the punch thrown between the aussie and new zealand hookers, everyone seemed to love that punch, but now someone is hurt and everyone is freaking out, u wouldnt have cared this much if he got dumped and broke his arm, i know that for a fact cause nobody talked this much in the video of the guy breaking his femor
    the ruling has been handed down, thats it, its over, move on
    it was a solid elbow but probably wasnt meant to cause a serious injury
    and leave the italians alone, not they're fault they dont know a rugby pitch from a football pitch

    By Anonymous Chris P, at December 20, 2007 1:50 pm  

  • That Was a shocking punch and there is no place for that in rugby..

    By Anonymous Harvey!, at December 20, 2007 2:24 pm  

  • suspension should be longer. do it for the however long roache is injured x2. just to give him a lesson. red card too none the less.

    By Anonymous D-RED, at December 20, 2007 4:07 pm  

  • That was awful. However when you look at the replay the ruck is a mess and freshwater is getting up from it and roche goes to either pull him up or tug on his shirt and freshwater swings his elbow and connects with roche's eye. It should have been a red card but at the end of the day tempers where boiling over and im sure perry felt sorry for it even though he didn't show it. Its rugby..cmon thats standard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 20, 2007 4:41 pm  

  • wow....just, wow

    I think a month is a little easy considering the offence. A) there was obvious malace B)there is a big chance of lasting affects with an eye injury, he may never have the useof that eye again

    And what was with the ref...is he an Italian fütball ref?

    By Blogger keithxv, at December 20, 2007 9:13 pm  

  • Ridiculous. A month for something that could leave Roche with permenant vision impairment? There was no way that that elbow was accidental or just brushing Roche off; it was deliberate and vicious. I like a good barney as much as the next guy, but that was terrible. I'd give Freshwater eight weeks or so.

    By Anonymous Hamish M, at December 20, 2007 9:29 pm  

  • " In any case Freshwater should be subject to the highest possible punishment for this offence. If you done that to someone in the street you would risk prison!" The difference this isn't in the street, it's during a match of rugby, both players are professional rugby players & they know the risks of playing rugby...

    By Anonymous Joa ^^, at December 20, 2007 10:45 pm  

  • A flying elbow to the eye socket isnt normally a risk during rugby...

    By Blogger keithxv, at December 21, 2007 5:18 am  

  • I guess you've never been in a ruck then...

    By Anonymous Joa ^^, at December 21, 2007 12:49 pm  

  • haha, goood point

    But still...thats a little ridiculous

    By Blogger keithxv, at December 21, 2007 2:03 pm  

  • i don't like that we can see what was happening before the elbow...

    if a scrum collaspes the last thing any prop/hooker wants is some back row (esp. not his team mate) grabbing his shorts from behind (u see the L.Irish player has a handful) that's the only reason i can think he swung...the only people who should b allowed to comment are other props that have had scrums collaspe...previous comment about history etc being taken into account is prob the most valid but i do agree suspension for a month...

    the ref missed it cos he's human, i hate people slagging off refs that have never given it a go before. i have had my (many) disagreements in the past with refs but i always thank them after for all the sh*t they have to put up with. can't comment on the linesman cos we can't see what he sees.

    bringing in the vid ref would take too much control away from the ref.

    By Anonymous mattjames1980, at December 21, 2007 5:54 pm  

  • I'm a prop, and obviously I've been in scrums that collapse. Someone grabbing my shirt or shorts? Who cares? No defence for Freshwater here.

    By Anonymous hamish m, at December 21, 2007 9:15 pm  

  • he fell down like he plays for real madrid not london irish. 10 years ago he`d fight back and we`d have a nice massive brawl not this crying: "no place for that..." he punched him, red card end of story! no banning,especially not for months

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 21, 2007 10:05 pm  

  • rugby has gone soft in many ways, i cant speak for northern hemishpere rugby but refs penalise every minor high tackle, every minor late tackle etc etc....i think some things like a bit of a nudge on the kicker after he kicks it is not worth a penalty.......

    so we spend all this time being so strict on small niggle that should be a part of rugby, and they miss an obvious dog shot from some fat english loser, and the ref was right next to them?

    ive seen blokes cop 8 weeks for a pissy high tackle, and this tosser who thinks hes a hero by king hitting some gets 4??? and didnt even get sin binned?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 22, 2007 6:23 am  

  • Hopefully his england career is over after this- has he even apologised to roche?!

    Some of you say rugby has got softer but potentially blinding a guy in one eye is alot different to a few fisticuffs where only pride is hurt. No-one could laugh this off over a pint after.

    By Anonymous Daff, at December 22, 2007 7:25 pm  

  • i would hav had a lyf ban if i did that on m team

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 22, 2007 7:30 pm  

  • I think the people talking about Rugby going soft have missed one huge point and that is the size and strength of modern proffessionals. Back in the amateur days when players were normal size then you could get away with a bit of biff, these days you have really really big blokes putting it about and some one is going to get badly hurt. To be honest that is one of the nastiest take outs I have seen. The whistle is blown and people are getting up, smash Freshwater nails him with an elbow. I think elbows thrown like that can be far more destructive than a punch, look at Hensons elbow and that earned him 10+ weeks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 23, 2007 5:06 pm  

  • honestly that 2nd rower deserved that elbow from a prop. it's like an unwritten law, you _must_ hurt the other team's 2nd row. everyone who plays in the front row knows that

    By Anonymous chris p, at December 26, 2007 1:36 pm  

  • I can't understand why Roche's team mates didn't react to Freshwater agression.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 26, 2007 6:22 pm  

  • chris p, roche is flanker. but as a second row there is nothing i like more than getting up the nose of a big fat prop who's full of his own importance.
    to hell with freshwater's history, he could've ended roche's career there and deserves a longer ban. one month is nothing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 27, 2007 7:30 pm  

  • From that angle it looks as if Freshwater is trying to get him to let go of his shirt, it doesn't look too bad but he should have been in the bin for 10!

    By Anonymous Fordy, at December 28, 2007 11:27 am  

  • absolute disgrace... a month for that is crap.

    By Blogger Haz, at December 31, 2007 12:37 am  

  • hey superp.go fuck yourself it was a disgrace and perry freshwater should be banned for life after that little cowardly cheap shot.and if you don't agree how about i come to your house and give a taste of my elbow.if you think the game ain't hard enough go play sum other sport you little coward.

    By Anonymous evanz, at January 27, 2008 8:06 pm  

  • What do "Freshwater" and "Massengill" have in common?

    There both brand names for a douche.

    By Anonymous Cheyanquí, at January 28, 2008 4:22 am  

  • There is a guy that says he was an assistant citing commissioner or something like that, i agree in the way that it shouldnt be black and white but i think like the commentators said there was pure malice and i think with a clean record or no this should have been more than a month. i think when you look at the damage done and the clear fact it was totally uncalled for there should be a lot more than a month.

    By Anonymous No.7, at February 10, 2008 4:32 pm  

  • The ref should be suspended for not giving a card... thats absurd

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 20, 2008 11:41 pm  

  • It seems from watching the Guinness premiership it seems that referees are unwilling to take action against any English players during games. Citing comissions can't even be relied on to hand out appropriate punishments. The 1 week ban handed out to Haskell for head butting (which was well below the minimum recommended ban for such an offense) one can only assume because he is English. Best (an Irish player) was cited in the same game and was given a much lengthier ban. Its disgraceful.

    By Anonymous Dave, at October 23, 2008 2:05 pm  

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