Dupuy out of Six Nations after gouge ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dupuy out of Six Nations after gouge ban

19/12/2009 11:14:30 AM Comments (0)

Stade Francais angrily denounced the six-month eye-gouging ban handed down to scrum-half Julien Dupuy on Friday as "anti-French" and "excessive".

French international Dupuy received the season-ending, 24-week ban for eye-gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during the Irish province's 23-13 European Cup win over the Paris-based club in Belfast last Saturday.

But the decision by the Dublin-based European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary hearing was slammed by Stade president Max Guazzini.

"It's excessive, very political and anti-French," Guazzini told AFP from Brussels where the two sides meet again in the reverse fixture on Saturday.

"The ERC wanted to make an example of a symbolic player of Stade Francais and of the French team which has never had a disciplinary problem.

"It's not normal that a private organisation in Ireland prevents a club employee from working, from playing. It is we who pay him."

French national coach Marc Lievremont wants Stade to appeal the ban.

"We expected the worse and the worse thing has happened to Julien because six months is huge," he said.

"I hope there is an appeal and that the ban is replaced by something more reasonable."

Although Dupuy and his club apologised for his actions, officials decided to hand down a severe punishment for what is regarded as one of the worst offences a player can commit and which carries a maximum three-year ban.

Dupuy, whose ban will end on June 3, 2010, has the right to appeal the sanction which will also rule him out of the Six Nations.

Stade replacement prop David Attoub was also cited for gouging Ferris, but his case was adjourned. An interim suspension, however, was imposed on Attoub until the outcome of the hearing.

Dupuy's ban indicated rugby chiefs are at last making good on their promise to crack down on gouging after some high-profile cases.

There was widespread surprise among many sections of the worldwide rugby community when South Africa flanker Schalk Burger received just an eight-week ban for gouging Ireland wing Luke Fitzgerald during June's second Test against the British and Irish Lions.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse was also suspended for eight weeks in June for an eye-gouging incident in his team's 27-6 loss to New Zealand.

Stade Francais and Ulster, the 1999 European Cup champions, are due to meet in a return Pool Four fixture in Brussels this Saturday.

A statement issued by Stade on Tuesday said: "The club deeply regrets this situation, which is detrimental to its image in the United Kingdom, and wishes to apologise to the Irish province of Ulster.

Dupuy and Attoub also offered their apologies.

"It is normal that the club penalises players for actions which are idiotic and stupid," they said in a joint statement published on the Stade website.

"Again we apologise to the players and the Ulster club. Our actions were neither premeditated nor intentional.

"We also want to apologise to our club, players and staff for the negative image we have created."

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