Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

French Rugby Mayhem & Tana Umaga Red Card

It was quite an eventful day for French Pro D2 rugby this past Saturday. Not one, but two huge on field fights in different matches resulted in yellow and red cards, one fan being taken to hospital, and a further tarnished image of the French second division.

The two games in question were Toulon vs Pau and Agen vs Mont de Marsan.

In the Toulon match, an inexperienced amateur referee contributed to the players frustrations, which started with a bad penalty try decision. He then sin binned George Gregan for talking too much.

The Pau side were desperate for a win, and played well until just before half-time, when flanker Costanzo had a go at Toulon’s hooker Philip Fitzgerald. That ignited the mass brawl, with 3 minutes of wild punching, including the benches joining the fray.

When waterboy for the day (and coach!), All Black legend Tana Umaga came on to calm matters down, the ref asked Umaga to leave, and when he didn't he was promply red carded.

So, two yellow cards and two red cards were the result of a game in which the ref clearly lost control.

The Agen game was also madness, with another amateur referee struggling to maintain control. The fans got involved on the field afterwards, one was taken to hospital, and one of the Mont de Marsan players came out with a badly injured eye.

Shocking scenes that should never be seen on the rugby field.

Extra: French fighting, particularly in Pro D2, is something that we're all getting quite used to. If you want to share your thoughts on the matter, or just read what others say, have a look at the thread on the forum especially for French fighting.



  • What an unbelievable disgrace.

    The French have a reputation for these kinds of fights, but surely referees should control the game better. How can amateur referees be in control of such matches?

    It seems like the dutch refereeing standard, which sadly, is extremely poor in a lot of cases. I understand these referees probably sacrifice a lot, but an incapable referee can lead to so much frustration.

    This is, however, not an excuse for these ridiculous brawls, with players seemingly really hurt/injured.
    The FFR must take severe measures, even if that means banning several players for a prolonged period of time.

    By Blogger Sander, at April 03, 2008 2:42 pm  

  • I love this site, but with all due respect I believe it's unfair to blame the ref for these scenes of violence. Because (a) George Gregan does talk too much, always have, (b) French Div 2 Club Rugby, especially matches involving Toulon, involves ex-internationals who will always be the target of some niggle from their opponents and (c) most French are punks or pikeys! Harsh but fair!

    Go the Boks!!!!

    By Anonymous Stellenboer, at April 03, 2008 2:44 pm  

  • How the hell can u red a coach.

    By Anonymous Angus, at April 03, 2008 2:45 pm  

  • Bit Ridiculous all of that, i mean sure tempers flare every now and again. But it should be between the two, when team mates come in with swinging fists instead of trying to separate the offenders.... well, you can see what happens.

    By Anonymous Rich W, at April 03, 2008 2:46 pm  

  • it would actually be awesome to play in that league!its my lifetime ambition

    By Anonymous pistolplatt, at April 03, 2008 2:50 pm  

  • I think it's more about the facts than blaming the ref. Amateur ref = mayhem. In this case, considering the bad decisions and lack of discipline, players get frustrated.

    That said, terrible behaviour. Bizarre thing is that they get away with it over there!! I don't know of any other professional league in the world that this would happen. Everywhere else a punch is a straight red card, and normally a suspension!

    By Anonymous Sharky, at April 03, 2008 2:54 pm  

  • i just love the way Tana just laughs at the ref, as if to say "do you know who I am?! Stop being ridiculous!"

    you cant send a player off for talking too much, unless its dissent, i would love to send Gregan off every match but you just cant do it!

    By Anonymous keelerugby, at April 03, 2008 2:55 pm  

  • A couple of points (while we're at it, I'm French so unmistakably biased):

    First, I do not believe that French player (not talking about politics here...) are particularly incline to fight anymore.Sorry, sander & stellenboer, you're really making outdated shortcuts (and slightly outrageous but that's good sports :-)) here. Just have a look at the Top 14 (1st Div) and the national team. A huge work has been done since the beginning of the professionalism. Gone are the days when the French players were indeed fighting a lot and, more importantly for the score, were ill disciplined. Obviously, some teams (including Toulon) seem more involved in fights (it's always been the case, at any level) but I reckon it is an unsatisfactory shortcut to bound the causes exclusively to the players.

    Now, I believe you say it all when you mention the refereeing. Referee's quality in Pro D2 (2nd Div) is far from satisfactory as a whole (no offense to the few actually doing a good job). In this particular case, he totally lost control of the game (you have to be, to red card a coach who's also trying to calm his players!!!!). It is becoming a serious issue in the Pro D2.
    I wonder whether any other country has similar refereeing issue outside the 1st Div? Info anyone?

    Quick apart from that, I laughed my head off to Tana's superb reaction to the ref's red card: "yeah,whatever,,,,". Classic.

    And nice one with the soundtrack (Muse -- Hysteria)!

    By Anonymous Nico, at April 03, 2008 3:17 pm  

  • "Angus said...
    How the hell can u red a coach"

    You can actually red card a supporter....(so i have been led to believe) im not sure whether it entails him being told to leave the stadium or whether he has to go to the RFU and be torn a new one!....

    I know it doesnt belong on the field, but you have to admit its always a good watch! and anyway, if it wasnt for this kind of behaviour rugby dump would have lost a good half of its videos!

    Thanks for the videos anyway!

    By Blogger No.7, at April 03, 2008 3:38 pm  

  • For sure, this should not happen on a rugby pitch, but one thing is outstanding: they do not leave their teammates alone

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 3:41 pm  

  • What a bunch of fuckups. By the way, is it just me, or does someone try and mace the opposition guy with deep heat or similar at about 2:22?

    By Anonymous hamish m, at April 03, 2008 3:44 pm  

  • the amateur ref should be blamed
    he redcarded gregan because the ex-aussie captain said "fuck me"

    sorry forgot my name

    By Anonymous scot, at April 03, 2008 3:47 pm  

  • I would not blame the ref. These players are the ones that need to think for themselves and decide not to steam in from 30 yards and start pounding someones skull in.

    By Anonymous Tafu, at April 03, 2008 3:48 pm  

  • Sorry to post anomynous, but I can't figure out this google account thing, it was not a coach red carded but Tana Umaga, handing out water bottles.

    You can Red card a sub, which prevents them from playing later on in the game.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 3:57 pm  

  • To be honest i think Umaga should be setting an example to his players, so whether the ref is sh*te or not if he tells you to leave the field then you leave. Who gives a toss if he's put in a few illegal tackles for the All Blacks, no matter what standard you're playing at you need to respect the ref.

    Also if you're being mouthy with the ref then expect a yellow. no complaints.

    By Anonymous Andy, at April 03, 2008 4:02 pm  

  • a bit pathetic, they obviously consider trashing each other more important than the game...
    Tana's like "yeah in a second mate" to the red card :D

    By Anonymous David, at April 03, 2008 4:11 pm  

  • Tana's reaction has to be the best!! HAHA... lol!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 4:20 pm  

  • why did gregan said "fuck me" to the ref anyway? thats just another proof that hes gay ( remember the gregan field ballet )

    By Anonymous flanker 6, at April 03, 2008 6:13 pm  

  • lol...

    didn't know the ref could red card the water boy, no less the coach

    tana's nonchalant reaction is hilarious

    By Anonymous kvt, at April 03, 2008 6:28 pm  

  • Wow...that's all I have to say.

    By Blogger Don, at April 03, 2008 6:35 pm  

  • to be honest if i was the ref i'd rather like tana to be between me and 30 angry rugby players

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 7:58 pm  

  • stellenboer, most French are punks or pikeys? it's funny coming from a south african... in french top 14 those kind of fights don't happen, second division it's something else...it's special, french rugby folklore...but as a french i think it's really really a shame!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 7:59 pm  

  • Before seeing this video I thought that Scottish refs were the worst, now I'm starting to think that French amateur refs might be on a par. It would be a bit worrying for the rest of the rugby world if this type of behaviour inspired a new generation of French forwards who didnt take any nonsense from the opposition and would rather fight then lose a game.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 8:11 pm  

  • You guys do know that half of the players (if not more) on the pitch are foreigners, do you ? It's not just French players.
    How's the SA 2nd Div btw ? No Fights at all ? What about Argentina ? Australia ?

    By Anonymous Charles, at April 03, 2008 8:40 pm  

  • As some people have said, Why the fuck the referee red cards Tana when he is giving water to the players after he is uncapable of keeping control of the game???It is true that the referee is not to blame about the massive brawl and the players' attitude, but, is the solution to red card the waterboy??The referee should have the guts to red card the involving players and not fucking Tana!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 9:11 pm  

  • This is pathetic .... french rugby is becoming a mockery!

    one thing is to have a bit of a punch up at your local game, but at pro level?!

    ridiculous ...

    By Anonymous Pedro Fleury, at April 03, 2008 10:57 pm  

  • why the fuck did they give the coach a red card!?

    By Anonymous Dave, at April 03, 2008 11:16 pm  

  • Umaga is the best waterboy i have ever seen :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2008 11:53 pm  

  • this was a rather sad movie :(
    But I guess every sport has a downside.

    By Blogger Christian, at April 03, 2008 11:53 pm  

  • Thats just ridiculous. Tana Umaga getting a red card for calming players down and giving them water. Thats bad refereeing no what way you look at it.The ref may be able to do it if he wants, but i see no good reason for doing so.Not a huge fan of Umaga but his reaction was priceless

    By Anonymous Daire, at April 04, 2008 1:08 am  

  • "How's the SA 2nd Div btw ? No Fights at all ? What about Argentina ? Australia ? "

    dont kno about the others, but australias 2nd div comp is no more. the arc got ditched. In australia i t goes natonal (wallabies), super14, club level. Too much competition from league and afl unfortunatly

    gezz i hate afl.

    By Anonymous chris, at April 04, 2008 1:09 am  

  • that stuff is a shame to happen on the rugby pitch. no need for it, just play the game and get on with it. Thats a bunch of B.S. that umaga got red carded for calming the players down.

    By Anonymous chris, at April 04, 2008 3:39 am  

  • yeah, not good to see.
    the old ice-hockey addage could be made here:
    'i went to a fight and a rugby game broke out'

    By Blogger boomshanka, at April 04, 2008 4:53 am  

  • The thing is it is not heat of the moment stuff, there are guys on that field looking to really damage each other. If someone is still looking to twat someone minutes after the event ban them for life.

    Why are class acts like Umaga and Greegan even bothering with these oafs.

    By Anonymous Richard, at April 04, 2008 10:07 am  

  • Barbaric.

    By Anonymous Ilamuku, at April 04, 2008 10:52 am  

  • "fuck me" was apparently to him and not the ref. But the ref heard "fuck" and thought it was for him...

    As for the fights, it has to do a lot with the culture I think.
    Latin = not well disciplined compared to anglo saxons. Look at the 80's, the French had great rugby but usually came along wit a lot of "explanations" around the game.
    I think France just like Argentina loves rugby but along with that comes a lot of little extras here and there (look at the world cup games between both sides ^^).

    Finally as someone said it, you have a lot of ex-international players and I think it's even a bigger motivation for some to try and show that they could also claim for the national team.
    Ex : the new french internationals have been focused on ever since they came back from the 6 nations (ouedraogo / picamole etc...)

    By Blogger jay, at April 04, 2008 12:50 pm  

  • Don't think it happens everyweek in every match! (for those who seem to think it...and who never looked at a french top14 or proD2 rugby match!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 04, 2008 12:57 pm  

  • Bleedin' French!!!!!

    Seriously though that is sadly very common. Both parties have to take some blame for what happened though i think it would be hard for any ref to keep a lid on matches like these. I have seen some bad refs but most were at school level.

    By Anonymous AbbyNo7, at April 04, 2008 2:04 pm  

  • @ jay: Please. Enough with the "latin" stereotypes. Things have changed. Just watch TOP 14. This kind of things is rare, EVEN in France. By the way, one of the teams with the worst reputation for fighting in the old amateur french rugby was...Toulon. And this won't go unpunished. An investigation is underway.

    By Anonymous bert, at April 04, 2008 3:12 pm  

  • i have to say i was a bit surprised that sort of thing still goes on in the professional era. i mean even lower division clubs in england don't have huge brawls like that. there may be a punch thrown but that is dealt with straight away with a red card.
    i think the only way for the D2 to resolve the problem is to get decent refs and make sure the players know that there will be huge repurcussions.

    Ps. Tana was absolutely hilarious!!!

    By Anonymous yousef1490, at April 04, 2008 4:40 pm  

  • @bert : I don't think it is a stereotype, a generalisation surely but as I am french and have had the chance to play in different anglo-saxons countries, I experienced it as well
    TOP 14 :
    Biarritz - Toulouse a week ago : Servat knocked down by Couzinet ?
    Auch-Montauban a week before that ?
    Let's wait to see what happens this week-end.
    The tendency to... is just higher I think.

    By Blogger jay, at April 04, 2008 6:48 pm  

  • Get it straight guys.
    Umaga was red carded for coming off the sideline and not immediately leaving the pitch. The rules are clear in fights -- nobody comes onto the pitch that isn't already on.

    Granted, all of us the real world know that Umaga is not out there to dust it up. But it one team's "good guy" walks onto the pitch, who is to say the opposition doesn't send out a Duncan McRae, DeWet Barry, or some other meathead?

    As for the referee red carding him and ignoring the other stuff, sheer bush league.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at April 04, 2008 6:54 pm  

  • @ Jay: Fair enough then mate. I just hope perpignan can keep its discipline this afternoon. If they do they have a good chance.

    By Anonymous Bert, at April 05, 2008 11:05 am  

  • Hmmm when i see rugby fights i dont really know what to think. Yes yes they are a disgrace and need to be stamped out (excuse the pun) but i think people need to learn that fights will happen, rugby, hell all contact sports are aggressive, and more often than not fights occur from the forwards who build most of their game on being aggressive, so people need to understand that fights will happen, and even if not directly involved other players will fight alongside their team mates. so really fighting is always going to be apart of rugby and there is no way we can remove it entirely. and refs always seem to be the fuel to the fire of the players frustration

    By Blogger BedfordBlue, at April 05, 2008 2:33 pm  

  • Shocking and a bloody disgrace!

    A second division with professional players deserves better refereeing.

    A pity that the ref was so frustrated that he vented on Tana, who was doing nothing but keeping his players under control.

    After that mess I would expect the disciplinary body of the FFR to take serious action, citing and punishing those involved in the violence.

    By Blogger Gato, at April 06, 2008 5:00 am  

  • No.7 said...
    "Angus said...
    How the hell can u red a coach"

    You can actually red card a supporter....(so i have been led to believe)

    Yeah, I was playing and a supported got red carded, he was asked to leave the stand and the club was fined for his behaviour. Not a popular guy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 06, 2008 12:39 pm  

  • Way to spit on the guy. Real manly and cheap.

    By Anonymous Christopher, at April 06, 2008 9:43 pm  

  • I would love to know if the players or clubs are fined or docked points etc. In the english soccer leauge players are given bans for up to a year for disorderly conduct, why not apply the same rules for rugby.

    But at least all the players stuck up for their teammates.......

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 08, 2008 9:30 pm  

  • The red card for Umaga is because in France (I don't know if it's the same elsewhere) it's forbidden for a coach to go on the field. however, in these circumstances and seeing that Umaga was cooling down the guys, the decision was kinda stupid...

    By Blogger Tom, at April 10, 2008 2:16 am  

  • Ridiculous that goes on in pro rugby, but how good was that punch by the 12 in the second game?
    A little cheap shot by the forward then WHAMMO. Goodnight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 10, 2008 6:14 pm  

  • Well, thats steroids for you.

    By Blogger Anthony, at April 13, 2008 6:25 am  

  • Well lets face it, we all like watching a funkin good punch up dont we??

    Wouldnt wana play against a bunch of hot-headed steroid abusing orks myself mind. That'd be scary.

    Hilarious and embarassing in equal measure.

    By Anonymous awesomeno7, at April 19, 2008 1:19 am  

  • I remember reading an interview of an old Toulon coach in the 1950s, when he asked his pack of forwards if they wanted to be a rugby team or a horde of barbarians, they all cried out "a horde of barbarians of course!!!"
    The values of combat and village spirit will always be present in French rugby I say...
    These brawls are just the result of the game played with intense passion. When did punch ups like this stop being part of the sport?

    By Anonymous seb, at April 19, 2008 5:13 pm  

  • what kind of referee sends the coach off for trying to stop a fight? the ref had no control of that game and should have been thankful. i love the way tana just stood there, ignored the ref and carried on till his team were sorted.

    go the AB's. it's redemption year (again)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 01, 2008 2:41 am  

  • if the french had fought like that in world war 2, they'd not have surrendered Paris to the third reich!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 13, 2008 2:59 am  

  • tana just brought water on how can you get sent off for that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 7:40 pm  

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