Monday, June 03, 2013

Schalk Brits suspended for three weeks for striking Owen Farrell

After being cited for his punch on Owen Farrell at the weekend, Schalk Brits was suspended for three weeks by an International Rugby Board disciplinary panel. Saracens teammate Farrell has played down the incident. Here is another look at it.

After lashing out at Farrell because he was holding him back, Brits was yellow carded by referee Steve Walsh, who hinted that it could have been worse if it weren't for the occasion.

Brits will serve a three-week ban that will commence at the start of next season. Farell has said that he holds no grudge after being on the receiving end of the swinging arm punch.

"I was trying to hold him into a ruck, and he reacted to that," said Farrell post match.

"Things happen in rugby. There's no dramas there. It is a reminder of how vital it is to keep cool and not respond to provocation. I shook Schalk's hand after the game, and he apologised when he came back on to the field.

"When someone reacts to you, you try not to take a backward step, not just in this occasion but in every occasion. I just grabbed him. There was nothing nasty in it."

There has been a lot of talk about Farrell's temperament and fiery edge, and while he has been criticised for reacting to Brits, others could say he did well not to retaliate further.

"Sometimes it is hard when someone lays a punch squarely on the side of your jaw not to react," said coach Warren Gatland. "But we are going to emphasise from the start of this tour the importance of keeping our discipline.

"It is a nice reminder that sometimes things happen and you need to take one for the team. If you get whacked and respond, the consequences for the team can be severe. We might find a similar situation in Australia if someone is grabbed off the ball and we have to make sure we don't react."

Brits apologised publicly on Twitter too, saying "Lions played very well tonight. sorry for the over reaction brother @owen_faz, took it too far. hope you have a great tour. enjoy aus!"

The incident was included in the match highlights, but here it is again if you missed it.

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:36 pm | View Comments (48)

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013, Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 48 comments

Goulix June 03, 2013 9:39 pm

You can see international class with Wilkinson and his totally opposite with Farrell!!!
Schalk Brits is a hero!

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Ottawa Rugger June 03, 2013 9:57 pm

Can't say I blame Farrell. I'm pretty sure literally anyone who has played Rugby as long as either of those players have has been guilty of holding on at the ruck. It was a nothing ruck, too. But for his troubles he gets clocked in the jaw. You ought to think a little harder if you think you'd act saintly if that happened to you in the middle of a match like that.

But of course we all have to hop on the Farrell hate train don't we. That guy could save a kitten from a burning tree and someone would find reason to be mad about it

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DanKnapp June 04, 2013 8:19 am

Bet he set the tree on fire...

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DrG June 04, 2013 12:46 pm

Wait a second... What you're saying is lets all tongue Farrells balls because he got punched by Brits, and that we would react the same way Farrell did??? As Dan said below, Farrell started the whole thing!!!! We can't all feel sorry for Farrell considering it was his fault in the first instance!! I personally HATE it when players are held at rucks, it is rarely picked up by referees and its hugely disruptive!!

I can't say I'm on a hate Farrell band wagon, I dislike the guy sure, and he isn't (in my worthless opinion) a Lion, but there we have it..

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DanKnapp June 04, 2013 1:46 pm

But the claim was that he lost his head, not that he held someone at the ruck. He held someone - fine, cheating, but very common and not something Brits should have felt the need to lash out for - and then got twatted on the jaw. Fair enough. The issue is that while he reacted, I don't think his reaction warranted further punishment, and therefore surely isn't 'losing his cool'. Nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and showing you're not going to be pushed around.

My issue is Farrell is simply that I don't think he offers enough of an attacking game. I'd rather see Sexton start and Wilkinson as backup, for that reason. Farrell at the moment is the best England 10, because Wilko won't last until the next world cup, but I await a more exciting 10 with anticipation.

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DrG June 04, 2013 10:03 pm

I understand that, the point is you cannot say "wow what a good boy Farrell is for not fighting too much" when he started that s**t!!

If I play around and hold my dogs tail he'll try and bite me, I can hardly smack him and tell him off if he does bite me for doing it... An I'd hardly be a saint for not smacking him if he did catch me..

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DanKnapp June 05, 2013 8:10 am

Aw, c'mon. It's gamesmanship (aka cheating), but loads of players do it. Yes, it's annoying, especially when it's done to you, but rugby is all about playing right up to the edge in internationals. Farrell drew a response from Brits which got him sent off. I wasn't impressed with the shove back, but he wouldn't go to the bin for it.

I'd happily see him do it again.

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DrG June 05, 2013 12:37 pm

I suppose I'm a bit hypocritical, I am definitely one for the "dark arts" but that just blatant obstruction really pisses me off, especially when there is no punishment for the instigator, and normally an OTT punishment for the player reacting...

See Grewcock stamp (I say step) on Ferris:
Hines on Byrne:
etc etc etc

It's not so much the actions of Farrell, (the holding) it's the reactions from the crowds (us lot) which is saying what a good boy Farrell is...

I can do it too, "Wow, Ferris was such a saint for not getting up and trying to smash Grewcock, give him a medal"
"Lee Byrne, what a wonderful player, I am amazed by the restraint he showed by just lying on the ground like a footballer, what a champion"

Davies said it perfectly at around the 50 second onwards mark in the Hines video...

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HowardTheDuck June 03, 2013 10:26 pm

I do not blame Farrell either, anybody in rugby would take exception to being clocked in the jaw, holding on or not.

I am a bit surprised at Brits, I thought his playing experience would've taught him not to fall in these little bait traps. To his defense though, that wasn't a nothing ruck for him. If you look at it again you'll see he was in great position to try and charge down Phillips' kick, and being held on in those cases is just plain frustrating.
With Steve Walsh there he could've done anything to make him notice the foul, just start banging on Farrell's forearm or call out to the ref!

Perfect call by Walsh, important game or not. As the commentator said, it's not a red card offense.

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DrG June 04, 2013 10:05 pm

Howard, the problem is, it WAS a red card offence, at least the 3 week ban says so...

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browner June 05, 2013 6:13 pm

Yes it was RC - why because it was a cheap shot [virtually blindsided him] & the provocation was minor.

SW admitted it in his "for the sake of the game" or suchlike comment

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DaRabman June 03, 2013 11:09 pm

I'm okay with Owen Farrell. What's clear though is how Brits completely psyched him out.

Seems to be the case with Faz, if you get in his face then he flusters. I think there'll be a few Aussie wind-up merchants trying to get under his skin this tour.

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DanKnapp June 04, 2013 8:22 am

I don't agree with that. Sure Farrell scrapped back, but he didn't punch him, and if Walsh had decided to give Brits the red, I would have been surprised had Farrell got even a yellow. It was just handbags in response to a good punch to the jaw.

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matt June 04, 2013 7:46 pm

The risk is though that an Aussie might have more of a go at Farrel, and if he's going to react then he could end up getting banned as well. Not that I think he did much wrong here, but it does show the Aussies a way to disrupt the lions tour party a little bit. It's more than possible one of the pre test players could be willing to take a few weeks ban if it disrupts the lion's preparation.

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John June 04, 2013 11:05 pm

If australia 'has more of a go' at farrell then brits did then that will definitely be a red card, happy for that to happen all day long. Can't see that punching lions players during the game will be a particularly successful tactic bro

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DanKnapp June 05, 2013 8:11 am

At least, not during the tests. Warm-up games, wait and see. Hopefully they'll be feisty.

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Nick01 June 04, 2013 10:31 am

Well, Owen first provoked Brits and Brits surely overreacted, Owen in retalation ... anyway I would had been fair if Walsh gave yellow to Owen as well

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matt June 04, 2013 7:47 pm

I'm tempted to agree, the replay Walsh saw showed a clear and cynical foul by Farrel, although it doesn't warrant a punch, yellow cards are there for a reason, and IMO anything cynical should be carded, that's how you stop people from doing it.

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ConnachtMan June 04, 2013 10:51 am

What is it with the Baba capt Parisse touching the ref!? Feck sakes, yet another soccer element creeping into our game, leave the ref alone and get on with it.

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HowardTheDuck June 04, 2013 6:27 pm

I'm sure Sergio Parisse, one of the best players in the world at the number 8 position and since 2008 captain to Italy's team, knows how to deal and speak with refs. And I doubt a light graze on the shoulder can be called a "soccer element".

Hartley on the other hand....but hey, that's OT

Moving on? What's next?...

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Barry June 04, 2013 11:22 pm

Parisse got sent off for verbally abusing a ref earlier this year. Nice to see you know what you're talking about though (that was sarcasm by the way)

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HowardTheDuck June 05, 2013 11:00 am

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I still have serious doubts on that incident. No video evidence, ref was having a shocker of a game, and 6N interests.
Parisse also didn't play the remorse card in front of the citing commission (which usually plays pretty well in trying to reduce a ban), but he appealed the decision twice and always vehemently denied insulting the official.

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kadova June 19, 2013 10:58 pm

The french referee was wrong, at least because he accused Parisse of saying f*** to him while Parisse was clearly speaking italian, although it was not understandable.
Parisse didn't say a single word in english. He spoke italian to him spontaneously and then he spoke in french while walking away.
I watched the video, which should be on youtube.
It's why Parisse was confident he would be cleared.

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vannrugby June 04, 2013 11:18 am

Very smart between two teammates. It's gonna be nice next season.

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DanKnapp June 04, 2013 1:48 pm

Pfff, it'll be fine. I bet it was fine five minutes after he came back on. They're both big boys.

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tc June 04, 2013 11:32 am

everyone thinks farrell will be the target of aussie abuse, yet who instigated this incident? - farrell has drew the reaction from brits and not the other way round. i know everyone hates farrell for many different reasons, but give him some credit as the gamesmanship comes from him and not brits here.

once you have wound a player up and got a reaction, do you just let it go and hope the officials spot it, or do you react and draw attention. walsh wouldnt have seen the punch had farrell not reacted

id be happy for any of the aussie teams to be distracted into winding him up, as long as he can keep his composure.

why do we have to pretend that the lions cant engage in any gamesmanship, because the aussies will sure as hell do anything they can get away with

also nice judo throw on brits - watch his leg get behind brits

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stroudos June 04, 2013 12:30 pm

Ko soto gari, if I'm not mistaken?

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Guy June 04, 2013 12:14 pm

At least Farell takes the punch like a man. He's definitely not a French scrumhalf.

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Yug June 04, 2013 12:31 pm

No, he takes the punch like a little boy not an adult. What a french would do is not the point.

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WelshOsprey June 04, 2013 1:01 pm

Brits should have just smashed Farrells arm instead of his face. Felt bad for Farrell though because everyone claimed he lost his cool. He got punched in the face, what do people expect?

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Stubby June 04, 2013 1:52 pm

the better response would have been to grab a finger and pull real hard.
Oops I broke it? So sorry old chap.

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HowardTheDuck June 04, 2013 6:40 pm

Right Stubby, really mature. That's what we need, another Callum Clark but at higher and more prestigious level. Way to promote rugby's image around the world.

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Scott Ingham June 04, 2013 3:41 pm

Holding at a ruck is fine. I've been playing for twenty five years the game is a lot softer than it used to be, even though the blokes a bigger and fitter. This is Thanks to all the health and safety mumbo jumbo, yes some good and some bad. But incidents like this get blown way out of proportion.
I'm not saying we should go all the way back to the good old days. A little punch like that, yellow card and shake hands and buy him a pint after in the bar, finished job done.
The thing that really gets my goat, is that complete gibbon Stuart Barnes who was lucky to play at the level he played as knows next to nothing about rugby gets paid to commentate, complete waist of money.
As for Farrell nowt wrong with him, he has a lot to learn, he is just the future beckham of the rugby world. He will get better and better, and we will all love him eventually!

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lilolme June 04, 2013 6:31 pm

I don't care if it's a typo... describing Stuart Barnes as a "complete waist" is perfect!

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Leadbitter June 04, 2013 5:37 pm

For me it was not really the punch or the physical reaction back from Farrell that was a problem. I don't think any the less of either player for what physically happened.
However; Farrell's clapping alongside his snidely, smirking, grinning face as Brits left the park was massively disappointing. Yes, he could go on to be a really good player. But he is not good enough yet in my opinion, to stop people thinking much less of him when he acts like that. We want our rugby players to conduct themselves in a way that reflects sportsmanship and respect. Farrell displayed none of those things and this has been another example of top level players getting all too close to their football counterparts.

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tc June 04, 2013 6:46 pm

put it to context. if you had just been punched in the face and then penalised, youd be pretty pleased if the referee corrects the mistake and justice prevails

i agree, its quite childish and unsporting but id be quite pleased if i were in his boots

as for stuart barnes. he's reached the same point with farrell that he reached with wilkinson, hodgson and cipriani i.e. they are the best thing ever until they reach 10 caps when they surpass his total

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Leadbitter June 04, 2013 10:57 pm

I would be pleased. I would not show it. I'm a rugby player.

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Sydney Subby June 05, 2013 6:00 am

That is absolutely ridiculous. Being a rugby player has nothing to do with having the self control of a monk. If someone punches me in the head you bet your ass I'm gonna give him a cheeky grin and a wave as he's sent off the pitch. I'd be surprised if you've ever spent long enough outside your ivory tower to play any rugby.

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browner June 05, 2013 6:20 pm

Give him some sarcastic verbals, like ....see you in 10 , or ha ha you fell for it muppet , bye bye dork,

but don't make it obvious with pathetic football style clapping

its the thin end of the wedge ........

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DrG June 07, 2013 2:47 pm

"bye bye dork" ??? LOL

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Pipo June 04, 2013 6:51 pm

@ Rugbydump: could you include a video of Farrell's clapping, please? Would be nice to have it along the punch video.

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Pipo June 04, 2013 11:32 pm

@ Rugbydump: could you include a video of Farrell's clapping, please? Would be nice to have it along the punch video.

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stroudos June 05, 2013 11:00 am

I'd appreciate that too. Didn't see the game live and haven't seen Farrell clapping. Looks like a cheeky juxtapositioning in the photoshopped image at the top of this page. Unlikely for normal Rugbydump standards, but it does look as though it's been done to provoke the Farrell-haters...

I heard that the Farrell clapping scene was actually at a different moment of the match, but was replayed on TV just after a replay of the Brits incident...

If Farrell did clap and grin Brits off the pitch, then I'm with the group of people who think that shows a real lack of class.

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Calon Lan June 05, 2013 1:43 am

Brits was clearly wrong in what he did but him being wrong in what he did doesn't in any way make Farrell's behaviour acceptable.

He's a shadow of his dad in all areas and Andy Farrell will surely be embarrassed by the way his son acts on the pitch.

Farrell junior is a liability to the team as he has the temperament of a child which you can't afford to have in such a physical sport. He also played as poorly as he did against Wales so I just don't understand why he's there.

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Guest June 05, 2013 4:08 am

Am I the only one on this forum actually thinking that to hold back a player (whether it's around a ruck or anywhere on the pitch for that matter) when the ref can't see you definitely warrants a retaliation? Be it a punch like this one...
I personnally despise people who do that kind of stuff way more than the agressive players that will stick one in your nose at the first chance they get. The first category are quite simply a bunch of cheats that don't deserve to tread on a rugby pitch while the latter ones might have anger management issues but at least their lack of sportsmanship does not usually result in unfair tries or unfair yards gained...
I reckon that instead of trying to ban every single "dangerous" tackle they can in order to make rugby "safer", they might want to issue a few weeks of ban for cheats of the sort. I actually liked Farrell when he first got into the England side, but the more I see of him, the less I appreciate the person. Looks like an arrogant Daddy's boy. And as some people said, he doesn't seem to have enough skills yet to compensate for his unappealing personnality.

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Sydney Subby June 05, 2013 6:03 am

While I do think Brits was stupid for punching Farrell in the face, I just can't stand people holding at rucks. It is starting to really ruin games as there are dozens of pick and drive tries scored due to defensive players being held back and the refs seem completely oblivious to it.

When this happens to me during a game I usually give the bloke a few punches on the forearm/wrist as hard as I can. That usually gets them to let go pretty quick smart and refs don't seem to mind it.

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stroudos June 05, 2013 11:19 am

Yep, have always found that perfectly effective myself.

Also, this simple trick, which you can demonstrate while sitting at your computer: grab one wrist with the opposite hand, grip round the entire circumference and squeeze very hard, paying particular attention to the ligaments on the underside of the forearm. You'll find all the fingers on that hand immediately relax and it becomes difficult to clench a fist.

An extremely simple but effective way to get someone to release their grip on you. And even if it doesn't, you've got a decent grip on his arm to rip it away from your shirt.

I don't necessarily object to punching in rugby, but have never felt the need to punch anyone on the pitch myself - there always seems to be a more effective option available. And surely you're wasting both energy and aggression in punching that could be channelled into more useful, legitimate violence (ie tackling, rucking, fending).

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browner June 05, 2013 6:08 pm

Subby me ol mucker..... that's exactly what \brits should have done.

Don't blame referees though, this problem has evolved - If referees started penalising every biot of gamesmanship in matches then the players would be stood still for 75% of the match watching someone else kick the ball to touch or at the sticks !

Then you and every other watcher would soon start complaining.

Brits had lots of alternatives to the punch - I think it was a bit of Club Hierarcy coming home, young pup v tough forward ............. Farrell handled it just about right IMO, stood up, but not uncontrolled enough to also get YC - well played that 21 yr old !

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