Rugby Bad Boys

by admin on September 30, 2016


Chris Ashton banned

With the recent revelation that flawed Rugby star Chris Ashton is set to spend 13 weeks on the sidelines, we take a look at some of the longest bans handed out in Rugby.

At the 2014 football World Cup there was an outcry as the villain of the soccer world, Uruguayan Luis Suarez, was seen sinking his front teeth into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. No one wants to see that in any sport, certainly, no one wants to see it in Rugby… and most certainly not from a supremely talented English man.

Unfortunately for England fans, and for Chris Ashton, that is exactly what happened during a Saracens victory over Northampton earlier this month, as the fullback connected his incisors with the arm of Saints Prop Alex Waller twice in under sixty seconds.

Ashton denied any wrongdoing so there was no soft treatment from the RFU as they handed down their 13 game ban, one more than the 12 indicated due to a previous 10 game ban in January for Rugby’s ‘bad boy’.  However, considering Luis Suarez was banned from setting foot in a sports stadium for four months as well as 9 international games, it doesn’t seem quite so severe.

With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the sports darker moments and take a glance at the longest bans Rugby players have had to serve. Luckily for Chris Ashton, his punishment isn’t a touch on these guys!

5) Julien Caminati – 33 months

It was evident from an early age that this French non-conformist would get himself into trouble in the daunting world of professional Rugby. At the young age of just 18 Caminati was banned for spitting at a ref during a French fourth tier fixture.  It appears the 26 month suspension didn’t teach him the error of his ways because it wasn’t too long until he was in for further disciplinary.  Having failed a drugs test Caminati was handed a 33 month playing ban, effectively tarnishing him as one of the dark artists of professional Rugby. If that wasn’t enough the aggressive centre is also infamous in his homeland for a series of red cards and a brutal punch on Dmitri Yachvili.

4) Dean Richards – 3 Years

Although not a player, Dean Richards was the ‘mastermind’ (in the loosest possible sense) behind the infamous ‘bloodgate’ scandal that rocked English Rugby back in 2009.  Harlequins were in the midst of a tightly-fought Heineken Cup quarter final in which they trailed 6-5, when Richards wanted to reintroduce a potential match winner in Nick Evans.  Given that in Rugby rules a player can be reintroduced in the event of a blood injury, Richards orchestrated a disgraceful act that saw Tom Williams exit the pitch with blood flowing from his mouth. At the time no one was wise to the act but soon after the ERC became suspicious and handed Richards a three year ban for his role in the farce.

3) Trevor Brennan – 5 years

Trevor Brennan was a much loved, no-nonsense second-row until the 21st January 2007 when an altercation that took place that would leave the Irishman with a 5 year ban and a tarnished reputation.

Playing for Toulouse at the time, Brennan threw himself into the end of the stadium housing the Ulster fans and repeatedly punched a fan named Patrick Bamford.  Brennan stated that, similarly to the infamous Zinedine Zidane incident, his mother had been abused in the build up to the altercation.  Nevertheless, this didn’t stop the hard-hitting punishment heading his way. Brennan was initially banned from playing Rugby for life, although this was later reduced to 5 years, demanded to pay £3,000 compensation to his victim as well as being fined £17,000.  Upon reflection Brennan has been remorseful of his actions stating, “Of course I have regrets about what happened that day, I reacted without thinking of the consequences.”

2) Dean Colclough – 8 Years

Dean Colclough’s 8-year ban is the longest given out for a first offence in the UK.  In 2007 injury got the better of the then 34-year-old which forced him to retire having most recently represented Morriston RFC.  Colclough’s love of the game kept him thoroughly involved in the sport and he set-up his own business that produced and distributed muscle-building substances.

Fast-forward and Sam Chalmers, an exciting 19-year-old bursting onto the scene, was handed down a two-year ban for testing positive for anabolic steroids whilst with the Scotland under 20 squad.  It didn’t take long to find out where said drugs had come from… Step forward Dean Colclough.  An eight-year ban from being involved in any sport was dished out and it’ll be another five years before he can get involved in any sporting activity.

1) Michael Palmie – Life

We’re throwing back to 1978 for our final bad boy on the list.  Belziers and France international Michael Palmie served the ultimate punishment for his heinous crimes as he was banned for life for his repeated offences.  Renowned for years for punching and eye-gouging his way through his career, the hard hand of the law finally caught up with him when his punishment was served for partially blinding Racing Club’s Armand Clerc during an on-pitch brawl.

That finishes off our round-up of Rugby’s naughty men, Chris Ashton might count himself lucky his ban is a mere blip in comparison to these guys!

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