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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tom James suspended for headbutt on Olivier Azam

Cardiff Blues winger Tom James has been suspended for two weeks following the red card he received against Gloucester on Sunday.

Referee Alan Lewis dismissed James for headbutting Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam in the 27th minute, after Azam had given him a push in the back.

The Blues held on to claim a famous 16-12 victory, despite being a man down for the majority of the match at Kingsholm.

Following the sending off, the ERC disciplinary hearing in Dublin saw a threee-man independent panel determining that the offence was at the low-end of the level of seriousness for a strike with the head.

Having taken into account any mitigating and aggravating factors which would have been the aggressive manner in which Azam approached James, the committee suspended James for two weeks from the date of the match up to Sunday, February 1.

James will then only miss one match, the European clash against Calvisano at the Arms Park on Friday evening.

This clip includes a short interview with coach Dai Young after the match, who clearly saw the reaction of the victim as an influencing factor for the red card.

Time: 01:50



  • Completely deserved to be sent off, no two ways about it. Tom James is an absolute numpty and needs to grow up a bit before he makes any real contention for a Welsh spot - and I'm a huge Cardiff Blues fan.

    However, Azam's reaction was totally OTT; Didier Drogba couldn't have done it better himself. Inexcusable from both players and, on both accounts, something that needs to be eradicated from the game.

    By Blogger Luke, at January 23, 2009 12:06 am  

  • What Luke said. Azam has been watching to much football (soccer).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 12:09 am  

  • it was an obvious movement from james and it deserved the red card however little force behind it just for the intention and right in front of the ref. on the other hand azam went down like a sack of spuds i know a lot of hooker friends who would be embarresed to be dropped by a wing with such a light tap. i think the two week ban is a fair deal nd about the right level for the severity of the butt

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 12:13 am  

  • What is ridiculous is that he's been banned for the same amount of time as Malcolm O'Kelly! One is a reckless headbutt, fair enough, but a red card and a match ban would do. O'Kelly was incredibly lucky to only get a yellow against Wasps, and he's only been giving a two match ban for deliberatly stamping on a prone players head, no where near the ball! The whole system seems very arbitrary, to be honest. Neil Best is still serving his ban incurred over two months ago

    By Anonymous Peej, at January 23, 2009 12:14 am  

  • oh my good...
    is that a hooker?
    a man crashed by a butthead of a wing...
    it's too similar at football...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 12:18 am  

  • never like azam he is always getting away with murder and it is about time that some1 give him a proper punch in the game!! that headbutt was nothing in it but at least he try to make the effort to hurt azam the bloody puff!! we dont need this in rugby!

    By Anonymous peter, at January 23, 2009 12:20 am  

  • Azam is a joke.

    By Anonymous gfhmon, at January 23, 2009 12:24 am  

  • so tom james got banned for 3 weeks, ok. but azam should het at least a one week ban!

    By Anonymous minstrel boy, at January 23, 2009 12:37 am  

  • if you look they both go for the same head movement, it happens every time people square off. No way does it deserve a red, not even a yellow i have seen people do this and then throw a punch and not been even yellowed

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 12:43 am  

  • Opps im on Footballdump.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 12:59 am  

  • that's an absolute disgrace, Azam should definitely get a ban for at least a match for unsportsman like conduct. rugby needs to take a tough stance on diving so that the sport doesn't end up being as laughable as football. Tom James did headbutt him so to the letter of the law should be punished, however it was more of a love-tap than an intent to injure.

    By Anonymous sergeant stu, at January 23, 2009 1:21 am  

  • that worrys me greatly!! i hope this isnt going to be a trend of people play acting like this!! a hooker acting like that?? its just stupid!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 2:15 am  

  • yellow at max, azam was carrying on like a clown anyways trying to shape up, so yellow at max, and i cant believe the match review committee gave him 3 weeks!!! what a joke


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 2:47 am  

  • i hope everyone doesnt follow this diving idiot!! Tom James must of been psyched up for this game!! i think 2 week ban is enough.. 2 weeks for the stupid dive.

    I hope this won't cost tom his place at the blues, because he is a nice guy!!

    By Anonymous Abs7, at January 23, 2009 2:50 am  

  • What a bitch.
    Shitty sportsmanship...if he had actually head butted him...now Zidane, that! Was a head butt. This, not so much

    By Blogger keithxv, at January 23, 2009 4:08 am  

  • azam the footballer..

    he ruins rugby

    2weeks sound bout right though

    By Anonymous Cheis, at January 23, 2009 4:37 am  

  • azam should be suspended two games for footballing the head butt.You cant confront somebody and then act like a panzy

    By Blogger handson, at January 23, 2009 6:55 am  

  • That headbutt was unnecessary..a red card well deserved.

    The reaction though...lol...in the words of some commentator "Come on...get up...footballer"

    By Blogger Don, at January 23, 2009 7:23 am  

  • Did somebody shoot Azam at the same time James squared up to him? I didn't know Nani played rugby...

    By Anonymous MiloCav, at January 23, 2009 9:32 am  

  • Azam should have been red carded for acting like a footballer!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 9:47 am  

  • Pretty soft, there really wasn't much in it. I think a penalty would be about right maybe a Yellow. A red is too much for that and a suspension is ridiculous. Azam comes in with as much force as Tom James.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 10:48 am  

  • why is everyone calling it a head butt when both players squared up to each other and 'locked horns' Azam was smat enough to take a dive and avoid a yellow and promote tom's to a red.
    but a what price he is probably the least respected player in rugby now.
    i wish Brian moore was commentating he wouldn't like to see hookers behaving like that

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 10:49 am  

  • He deserved to get sent off.Azam started it and got what he deserved though.Fell like a sack of shit,thats what happens when you bring these foreigners over.Rugby will start being full of Ronaldos and Drogbas before long!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 10:51 am  

  • i agree with the comment about arbitary bans though it probably because he's welsh, for some reason they always get longer than everyone else, i remember when henson was giver 12 weeks for pushing a player off the ball, it was a token punishment because he was flavour of the month back then.
    the stamping by o kelly should be a much longer ban that was very nasty indeed!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 10:53 am  

  • Since when was a winger able to 'knock out' a prop?

    As others have said Azam needs to grown up.

    Or start playing football.

    By Blogger thedannyclayton, at January 23, 2009 11:20 am  

  • i think the red card is deserved because james really did a head movement.

    But azam diving reaction is not excusable, i hate footballing in rugby. it recalls me Quinlan vs pelous in Hcup final

    By Blogger Flooz, at January 23, 2009 11:26 am  

  • there is God! and that is why gloucester lost this game :)

    By Anonymous minstrel boy, at January 23, 2009 11:56 am  

  • Got to agree with Luke here it was a very stupid thing to do and a red card was warranted but i do think some action should be taken against the hooker.

    Its creeping into the game. Remember Quinlan in the HC final last year ?

    By Anonymous Third Centre, at January 23, 2009 12:50 pm  

  • deserved red by letter of law stupid to lead with head as he did. Azam should also be ashamed of that football dive.
    Agree with previous comment too. How on earth did James get two weeks if o'kellys frankly disgraceful an deliberate (he looked for vickerys head) stamp got only two weeks!?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 12:53 pm  

  • Azam the Footballer

    By Anonymous Azam the Footballer, at January 23, 2009 1:36 pm  

  • Incredible performance from the Blues in this game, Martyn Williams was everywhere and Roberts resiliance was great.

    A Blues win was Karma in full effect for Azam's gayness, someone should plant a full on head to him and give the softie a reason to be rolling on the ground like a girl!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 2:23 pm  

  • Watching a hoocker, fucking front rower doing the little pain act makes me sick....

    By Anonymous Eric, at January 23, 2009 2:46 pm  

  • made and absolute meal of that. but still a red for the headbutt. no wonder wales ignore him

    By Anonymous turkster, at January 23, 2009 3:44 pm  

  • im a glos fan, an i hate the azams gone down like that, but everyone sayin he should get a ban aswell,
    made himself look like a nonse yes but he did actually do anything wrong, james broke the rules you cant headbut after that azams done nothing wrong,
    the problem with football is when people like ronaldo create a foul that wasnt there,
    theres a line between gamesmanship and cheating.

    By Anonymous jeppy89, at January 23, 2009 3:55 pm  

  • omg the hooker dived better than the italian in 2006

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 3:58 pm  

  • jesus people saying its a headbutt, they simply squared up... Azam is just a freak, and it wouldnt suprise me if any player respects him now!

    as someone already said i'd love to see what brian more says, i bet if he got head butted he wouldnt fall over like panzy!!

    By Anonymous Abs7, at January 23, 2009 4:32 pm  

  • the winger is big dude though!
    azam was probably shi**in his pants and laid down so he could avoid the punch-out

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 4:44 pm  

  • You are not a football player!!!!

    By Blogger pazzocroc, at January 23, 2009 4:51 pm  

  • Azam's a joke no need for that. Thought the comment from the interviewer was hilarious 'if i kissed my wife like that...' Jeez she must be a right tough son of a bitch! maybe get her on for Azam next game!!

    By Anonymous RoddyMac, at January 23, 2009 5:06 pm  

  • Going to have to agree with the majority here, red card was warranted, but that face-holding act was absolutely ridiculous.

    By Anonymous Bill, at January 23, 2009 5:45 pm  

  • Im a fan of neither teams specifically, but that was truly pathetic from azam, its what id expect from christiano ronaldo. In light of it being a headbutt, a yellow at the most for the attempt????
    it disgusts me that players would go so far just to get a man sent off and have the game swing their way without having to play fairly

    By Anonymous Westi, at January 23, 2009 5:58 pm  




    By Blogger joachim, at January 23, 2009 6:09 pm  

  • Dai Young was spot on their in what he said, not much in the headbutt but he did deserve to be sent off for the incident. But Oliver Azam, absolutley pathetic he should be embarassed!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 6:10 pm  

  • a bit too Hollywood from Azam really....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 6:11 pm  

  • Yea, you can't argue with the red card and ban from a technical standpoint, also a player shouldn't be seen to be getting away with a headbutt, but we all know that there wasn't very much in that headbutt and it certainly wasn't dangerous.
    Another stupid thing about Azam is that his reaction was delayed, so it's obvious he took the time to decide that his team would get an advantage (which didn't do them any good in the end) if he fell over like a girl.
    I think that Gloucester should put Azam through some kind of disciplinary process, because if Gloucester had won that match they would not exactly have been able to claim that they did it fairly or deserved to or could have done it against a full 15 man opposition. I know that Gloucester are a professional club and they have to worry about winning things, but the values of rugby are at stake here and they could go a long way to stop rugby going down the path of soccer where players don't care about earning goals through their hard work. - This is one of the things which rugby is about, earning what you have achieved through hard work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 6:11 pm  

  • Perhaps Azam's own club should suspend him or bench him for bringing the game into disrepute.

    Red card deserved by James though.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at January 23, 2009 6:35 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at January 23, 2009 6:36 pm  

  • Never seen a man go down so easily in British Rugby...

    Well, unless you are Danni Cipriani.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at January 23, 2009 6:38 pm  

  • terrible terrible terrible
    no doubt it was a red card but azam's reaction was horendous! , modern rugby is catching up with the pro football world now with these stupid hollywood's !

    By Anonymous welshno7, at January 23, 2009 6:46 pm  

  • It wasn't really(italics) a headbut.

    By technicallity yes. But he didn't make a real effort. If anything they were simply locking horns, getting nose to nose, and Azam took the dive.

    12 month suspension for Azam, for bringing the game into disrispute(sp?)

    By Anonymous rancid, at January 23, 2009 7:49 pm  

  • what a pussy man, alrite he got headbutted but he shouldn't have gone to the ground like that, that's called acting, I hate fucking actors. Take it like a man

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 8:16 pm  

  • elv's and now diving. i hate to say it but this game is certainly gettin worse. why can't anyone play good old fashoned rugby anymore?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2009 8:35 pm  

  • good old fashioned rugby ended a long time ago when the slightest hint of a powerful tackle results in a ban and you cant get a mans hands off the ball or your in the bin, its not exactly like Azam has softened the game completely on his own. im a glos fan n what he did was pretty gay, surprised as well because hes usually the stupid one that punches people. o well, tom james is an arrogant shaft so dont really feel for him

    By Anonymous caucau's no.1 fan, at January 23, 2009 9:20 pm  

  • It's got to be a red for the headbutt, and you can't blame the ref. However, I think we can all agree the dive was deplorable, and should be punished to discourage similar actions.

    By Anonymous USA scrumhalf, at January 24, 2009 12:46 am  

  • Two fucking weeks for that!?
    Thats outrageous!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 3:07 am  

  • Worrying how these things are starting to crop up in rugby - and if players aren't cited for diving this could explode in the sort of diving on the soccer scene. shameful...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 3:22 am  

  • First of all, it's obviously not alright to headbut players, and he deserved at least to be binned and miss a gmae or two.
    Azam milked that though, and I hate to see that kind of thing in rugby, it's gotta be the influence of soccer.
    You're supposed to stand up in rugby, not back down from any challenge, and if someone headbuts ya, you should really just fight back or at least try not to let it show that they hurt ya.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 7:29 am  

  • thats not a headbutt, its a headbump
    He obviously milked it of course and it worked

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 7:58 am  

  • Red card is totally deserved! But Azam has done something very stupid!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 10:44 am  

  • red card was deserved.. but rules should punish also players reacting this way.. it wasn't a so hard hit,
    if you can't stand on that tou couldn't manage to escape alive frmo a rugby match.. that's unfair, i think gloucester player deserve a yellow too

    By Anonymous Mager, at January 24, 2009 1:32 pm  

  • totally agree with Mager....
    Rugby doesn't need 2 things:
    1-Headbutting and other cowardly stuff
    2- fancy pants being footballers.

    By Anonymous italianscrummy, at January 24, 2009 3:48 pm  

  • Gosh, play football man

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 8:11 pm  

  • Azam should get a ban, rugby is definitely going the way of football.

    If you love rugby, support:
    1) salary caps for all clubs.
    2) giving players like Corry a red card everytime he tries to tell the referee how to do his job.
    3) cutting out crap like this from the game.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 8:32 pm  

  • "Completely deserved to be sent off, no two ways about it. Tom James is an absolute numpty and needs to grow up a bit before he makes any real contention for a Welsh spot - and I'm a huge Cardiff Blues fan.

    However, Azam's reaction was totally OTT; Didier Drogba couldn't have done it better himself. Inexcusable from both players and, on both accounts, something that needs to be eradicated from the game."

    agreed, i'm at every blues game and i love tom james but that was a bit much..

    i do find it funny now looking back, that Azam looked all agressive but dived like a pansy.. shameful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 9:04 pm  

    for Azam, not James
    for James I'd say 10 minutes in the bin?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 9:42 pm  

  • Anonymous said...

    What Luke said. Azam has been watching to much football (soccer).

    HAHAHAHA.. TOTALLY AGREE! too dramatic !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2009 10:18 am  

  • i'm a Glos fan, and was at the game, even watching it live i thought Olly had taken a dive. Olly gives them out semi regularly during front row 'discussions' and felt he play acted a bit.
    anyway, we still lost, so maybe justice was done!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2009 11:12 am  

  • Azam. . . tsk tsk tsk what a wozzy. . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2009 5:04 pm  

  • shame on the coach for not condeming it...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2009 5:18 pm  

  • the punishment in rugby is so random eg
    o kelly - 2 weeks for stamping on phils head
    ellis- six weeks for a high tackle ?
    last week two players were landing punches, (possible munster game, not sure) and the ref said calm down, then tom gets red for squaring up to azam?
    could someone explain where the consistency is

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2009 9:49 pm  

  • He has disgraced the term front row!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2009 11:43 pm  

  • Oliver Azam is a vagina!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 26, 2009 6:10 pm  

  • Yeah, perhaps Azam got hit in his mangina.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 27, 2009 3:15 am  

  • I think Azam's actions are something that is becoming an epidemic in the game. As far as I am concerned, he too should have been carded (yellow) for behaving the way he did. It is tantamount to cheating the way some players will carry on after an incident. Of course there are circumstances where serious damage is done, but it is up to referee's and officials to get this out of the game now. Rather send off some players in error and get the message across that rugby is not going to end up on the same road as soccer.

    By Anonymous Stuart, at January 27, 2009 2:39 pm  

  • FLOOOOOOOOP. Is this rugby or what!?! This is microcosmic of everyones attitude these days. Were raising or kids to be pussys. HE HAD A SCRUM CAP ON!!! What a flop. Azam should be embarrased. That doesnt even classify as a headbutt in my book. whos with me?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 27, 2009 7:52 pm  

  • This would never, ever happen in the S14 or the tri-nations. The second a bloke did what Jones did, it'd be on for young and old, anyone in Azam's position would at least try to wrestle the other guy to the ground, if not just give him a belt in the face. This slight headbutting thing comes from soccer and is not in the game down here in the SH. look at Rocky Elsom and his reaction to it, I think it was against Connacht. He would have been shocked the guy tried it, and he straight away ran after him and gave him a punch in the head. It's just stupid petulent soccer faggotry, but even worse is the faggotry from Azam to go one better and soccer it up by falling down and rolling around like a nancy boy. It's the influence of soccer up there in Europe and it's a blight on the NH game. It's gotta go, or we'll all think you're a bunch of pooftas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 28, 2009 2:13 am  

  • Azam is a disgrace to the game. I still don't think it was an intentional headbutt, more likely some hearty posturing. While it was silly play from James to even get involved in that, I think it was a wrong decision to send him off, and the wrong decision to ban him for so long.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 28, 2009 11:02 am  

  • That was one of the pussiest headbutts I've ever seen. That said, it didn't quite look like he was even going for a headbutt; more of an MMA style pre-fight stare down with heads touching. Olivier is clearly in the worng sport if that's going to send him to the ground.

    By Anonymous BrickFight, at January 30, 2009 4:20 am  

  • Both players were gay. Supergay.
    James with his poofy little pretend headbut, I mean if you've really got an issue with a player, punch the shite out of him, you're gonna get suspended either way.
    And Azam, my God, that's sickening. Rolling around like a little fairy soccer player. Disgraceful, should be ashamed to walk on another rugby field.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 30, 2009 8:10 am  

  • the ref was right in sending him off, but the reaction from Azam was not needed. you dont put someone that big down like that. hope rugby doesnt aquire football traits like this one

    By Anonymous Stag, at February 28, 2011 4:40 pm  

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