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Wales vs England 1999

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Michael Brial's assault on Frank Bunce in 1996

Not too long ago we featured the 1996 classic Bledisloe Cup match between the Wallabies and the All Blacks from Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Frank Bunce scored the late winning try, but it was Michael Brial’s malicious attack on him early on that had many people talking.

Six minutes into the crucial Tri Nations match big Jonah Lomu was superbly tackled by the much smaller Ben Tune. As the ball was recycled, All Black center Bunce picked up, but was confronted by the uncompromising Wallaby number eight, Michael Brial.

Brial unleashed a barrage of seemingly unprovoked strikes as Bunce played punching bag for what seemed like ages. Not too many of the shots actually landed, but the incident sparked outrage in the New Zealand camp.

Astonishingly, referee Jim Fleming chose not to send Brial from the field, instead only reversing the penalty that was originally awarded to the Wallabies.

New Zealand coach John Hart was outraged at Fleming’s ruling of the incident, with Bunce, the man on the wrong end of it, being equally surprised.

"I couldn't believe it – he went right over the top," Bunce said afterwards.

It later emerged that Brial may still have held a grudge about the way Bunce flew into him at a maul, injuring him, four years earlier.



  • typical aussie criminal! at least do some damage if you going to assault someone in front of thousands of members of the public and on live TV. This incident is the only thing this vagina is remembered for - nice one muppet. Haha at Cullen too for trying to run in and getting boshed out of the way by Roff LOL

    By Anonymous peterborough, at November 06, 2008 1:47 pm  

  • How did he not get sent off?

    "So should I send him off?"
    "No I don't think he quite landed all 10 but if you see him punch one more time then maybe?"

    Haha what more could he have done to get the red!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 1:52 pm  

  • well, i wonder what got him so pissed? i mean, i doubt something like that is unprovoked.

    Anyway, that was a definate red. Unacceptable behavior from a rugger.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 1:58 pm  

  • typical aussie...Duncan McRae on O'Gara comes to mind.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 2:03 pm  

  • why the all black man doesn't drop the ball?

    By Anonymous T., at November 06, 2008 2:03 pm  

  • What a twat. Nuff said.

    By Anonymous hamish, at November 06, 2008 2:12 pm  

  • yeah nice vidal sassoon hair too. I'm sure the new zealand forwards were glad he stayed on, i'm sure by then end of the match the oz prick had a few bruises on him! Deserved everything he got.

    By Anonymous roddymac, at November 06, 2008 2:31 pm  

  • Loving Buncey chucking the ball at the end, nice touch!

    By Anonymous EnglishScott, at November 06, 2008 2:44 pm  

  • I know this is international Rugby, not school rugby, but a decent coach would have taken this guy out of the field. What a looser.

    By Anonymous portuguese_fan, at November 06, 2008 2:49 pm  

  • pretty lame punching....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 3:08 pm  

  • whoa guys find that video that injured micheal brial!

    By Blogger M, at November 06, 2008 3:15 pm  

  • Haha...I remember that...handbags out and about but on a serious note...

    It just goes to show how far the game has come since then. He would have been sent off and banned for a few weeks for play like that today...and rightly so...

    By Blogger durrie, at November 06, 2008 3:41 pm  

  • It was Bunce's elbow he brought up as he picked the ball; Brial even imitates it once the dust settles. Still a red all the way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 4:21 pm  

  • One of the worst refereeing decisions I have ever seen. How there is any doubt in that not beeing a red card is beyond me. I'm shocked that an international referee did that.

    By Anonymous MiloCav, at November 06, 2008 4:23 pm  

  • Lamest bunch of punches I have ever seen on a Rugby pitch. If you throw a punch, make sure it hurts, otherwise don't bother because you'll look like a idiot.
    I think he was lucky Bunce held on to the ball because Bunce was a more than average boxer.
    Tune's tackle on Lomu is considerably more impressive than Brial trying to give Bunce a bit of TLC...

    By Anonymous Bart, at November 06, 2008 4:34 pm  

  • Yeah, you can see Bunce putting is elbow in front. Maybe the aussie 8 found it provocative.

    This was the kind of punches Brian Moore would refere the way he did in 2004.

    By Anonymous portuguese_fan, at November 06, 2008 4:43 pm  

  • That is just so.... red card...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 4:56 pm  

  • I agree on the vidal sassoon comment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 6:36 pm  

  • disgusting!!!

    By Anonymous joe mc, at November 06, 2008 6:41 pm  

  • Hes right that commentator ten pinches exactly.

    By Anonymous hahaha, at November 06, 2008 6:44 pm  

  • Unacceptable red red red lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 7:19 pm  

  • Bunce protects himself with his elbow, hitting (barely) nº8 face. No justification, but that's the trigger.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 8:14 pm  

  • Nice job, elbow in the face, Bunce just got what he deserved, too bad Brial missed him really....
    Kiwis are always the victims, just annoying really, grow up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 8:18 pm  

  • I think that if Bunce had hit the deck (not dived but actually been hit with one punch that had any force behind it) then the referee would surely have sent him off then. that's the only thing I can think of that kept him on the pitch: the ineptitude and complete lack of power of his punches. Brial should have been sent off in disgrace and furthermore, in abject embarrassment.

    Bunce should be commended for not retaliating but he really didn't have to as he wasn't hurt by one single shot. I seem to recall an incident involving Martin Bayfield and an Italian about 10 years ago where Bayfield just stood and took a few punches, kept his nerve and then the Italian was sent off. He was shrugging his shoulders towards the referee mid-assault.

    By Anonymous Zavala, at November 06, 2008 8:18 pm  

  • Nice hair, but he's no Ulysses Everett McGill.

    To get true hold, it HAS to be Dapper Dan Hair Pomade.


    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at November 06, 2008 8:26 pm  

  • thought it was funny that bunce's only retaliation was pegging the aussie no. 13 in the head with the ball. should have aimed it at brial.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 9:52 pm  

  • some of the most pitiful punches ever thrown by a rugby player. ever.

    By Anonymous banterboy, at November 06, 2008 10:16 pm  

  • The forearm/elbow to the face in the tackle may have SOMETHING to do with it. But I'd wait and take his ear off with my boot the next time he was at the bottom of a ruck. You lead with the elbow you get your ass kicked, twat kiwis!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2008 10:27 pm  

  • guys i think we have found a candidate for wanker of the century, he was holding on to the guy for gods sake and he still missed all the punches....good work you idiot. i hope this guy gets reminded of this all the time. quite surprised that no NZ players reacted, everyone just seemed to stop

    By Anonymous caucau's no.1 fan, at November 07, 2008 12:26 am  

  • why do people have to bring nationalities into this, i mean yes what he did was pathetic but dosent mean all of australia is pathetic or a "typical aussie criminal","oz prick" or "gay aussie". call him what u want but dont insult australia, grow up.

    By Anonymous Sean, at November 07, 2008 6:26 am  

  • good on the ref for not sending him off. Brial copped an elbow, throws a few, no damage done and if I remember correctly the game was a cracker with NZ scoring late to win at the old Lang Park. A lot better than these days where the Assistant referees as they are now called, use every possible opportunity to get on TV, waste everyones time and end up ruining games.
    These are grown men expected to go out there and rip into each other for 80 minutes, occasionally things will get heated and punches will get thrown. Let off some steam and get back into it. If the idiots keep going at then sit them down and let them cool off but otherwise, I don't see a problem with it.

    By Anonymous Red, at November 07, 2008 6:28 am  

  • Pffft 10 punches and didnt even drop him.... PISS WEAK!

    By Anonymous Hahaha, at November 07, 2008 9:24 am  

  • OMG! The man is not red carded???!!! What a fool!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 07, 2008 12:47 pm  

  • i can't believe Brial wasn't sent off.

    U see some players sent off for one uppercut and here, he punched 10 times...

    recalls me agression of o'gara during lions tour

    By Blogger Flooz, at November 07, 2008 1:10 pm  

  • shocking really.. to see such a shameful act. To set the record straight, I'm a wallaby fan myself. To those who said bunce deserved it, i really think you need a good long look at yourself mate, and i hope you never take to the field. Rugby ain't for you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 07, 2008 1:55 pm  

  • fuckin' referee, didn't send him off, fuckin' australian second centre, didn't move to do something

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 07, 2008 5:52 pm  

  • fuckin' referee, didn't send him off, fuckin' australian second centre, didn't move to do something

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 07, 2008 5:52 pm  

  • Amazing how he even tried to defend himself to the ref!! LOL. What, like, "yeah but he smashed me back in '03 ref, the bastard had it comin!".

    By Anonymous Muzza, at November 09, 2008 11:56 am  

  • Typical aussie criminal.....typical aussie twat!

    LOL @ RODDYMAC, "vidal sassoon hair"...classic!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 09, 2008 5:55 pm  

  • haha,
    crap punches too :P


    By Anonymous Huw, at November 09, 2008 6:03 pm  

  • it was deffinitely a YELLOW card but not red. The reason bunce doesn't drop the ball is coz to drop the ball he would have to lower or raise his arm which would leave him more open to punches.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 12, 2008 6:37 am  

  • Flemming lists that as the worst decision of his reffing career. He didn't see the incident so was purely going on the touch judges recommendation. When he watched the match no telly that night the first thing he did was phone up the touch judge and complain about being dropped in the merde.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 12, 2008 11:37 am  

  • That is mad. How did he not get a red???

    By Blogger bloodsweatandbeers, at November 12, 2008 12:36 pm  

  • Brial-creem

    A Little Dab'll Do Ya

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at November 12, 2008 10:53 pm  

  • he punches like a B*TCH!!! hahaha.. he must've felt like a douche after seeing the replay

    By Anonymous islestyle, at November 14, 2008 11:18 pm  

  • Some interesting reading here in the comments, most of it highly idiotic (take a bow peterborough)....

    Go back and watch the video (it would seem that most of you have only listened to the one-eyed Kiwi commentary), pause it at the 8 second mark, and watch as Bunce, ball tucked under his left arm, looks up to see Brial 4 feet away. He then consciously lifts his right elbow directly into the face of the oncoming Brial. How can anyone be surprised at Brials reaction? This is after all Rugby Union, NOT netball.

    Bunce was a great player, but always had a nasty tendency to fly head/shoulder first, without the use of either arm, into opposition players in obvious attempt to maim someone.

    Perhaps some of you overly opinionated Northern Hemisphere ingrates should play a bit more of the game, rather than watching it on the net....

    PS - McRae / O'Gara video is my favourite of all time, have very fond memories of seeing the Lions put back in their place on that tour. Evening better to know you clowns are STILL crying about it.

    Richard - Sydney

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 15, 2008 1:07 am  

  • brial was elbowed, thats why he puched bunce, biased nz commentary makes it out as thought its all brials fault

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 16, 2008 6:23 am  

  • Thoroughly deserved...

    Bunce was a prick. So is O'Gara. Even O'Gara's national team mates barely speak to him.

    By Blogger murph, at December 05, 2008 1:01 am  

  • Watched it in slow motion.... Yes.. Frank used his elbow... with intent... so I can understand Brails' reaction..
    Brail was lucky to stay on the field

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 02, 2009 1:36 am  

  • esta loco!!!, encima no le pusieron amarilla

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 12, 2010 5:49 pm  

  • Yes Richard some 'highly idiotic' comments..

    "Perhaps some of you overly opinionated Northern Hemisphere ingrates should play a bit more of the game, rather than watching it on the net....

    PS - McRae / O'Gara video is my favourite of all time, have very fond memories of seeing the Lions put back in their place on that tour. Evening better to know you clowns are STILL crying about it."

    .. I was expecting mature class from you after that. Well I wish you good luck in the 2010 3N's you're going to get stuffed.

    By Anonymous H, at July 13, 2010 11:19 am  

  • This was the old days, when wowsers didn't hyperventilate about a bit of a punch up.
    Bunce intentionally elbowed Brial when he came in for the tackle, so Brial punched him a bunch of times.
    All good.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 15, 2010 7:50 am  

  • sick! what is with aussies doing horrible cheap assaults like that first michael brial then duncan macrae the sick thing is both of there victems were innocent people that hadent agravated them.

    By Anonymous geordie, at July 15, 2010 4:06 pm  

  • the ref probably didnt red card him because those punches were so weak the ref felt the guy throwing the punches embarrassed himself enough

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 15, 2010 9:46 pm  

  • Bunce clearly elbowed Brial during the tackle.
    The two players had history (Bunce had illegally tackled Brial a year or two before that and injured him).
    When Bunce saw Vrial coming in for the tackle, he intentionally elbows Brial in the face.
    Brial, obviously still pissed off about Bunce's ilegal tackle and not happy about getting elbowed by a bloke he hated, loses it and punches Bunce a bunch of time.
    You need to remember this is a time before everyone cut their nuts off in the interests of PC, and this kind of thing happened fairly frequently.
    This is just the kind of old school sorting out that was always part of rugby.
    It's only recently (last 10-15 years) that this kind of thing has faded from the game.
    I personally miss it.

    By Anonymous Jono, at July 19, 2010 4:50 am  

  • In the light of current 2010 Tri-Nations sendings off this is extreme but anyway exciting. Why has the modern game become so policed - so nanny stateish. Bring on the punches and some streakers too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2010 2:07 pm  

  • What terrible form. Half his punches hit the ball; maybe he was trying to strip it? I honestly can't think of what you could do more if you were trying to get a red card...

    By Anonymous Jake, at August 05, 2010 5:15 pm  

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