Brive’s Ugalde facing possible ban for alleged gouge against Grenoble

BRIVE OUT-HALF MATTHIEU Ugalde is waiting to learn if he will be cited by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby [LNR] for an alleged eye gouge in yesterday’s Top 14 defeat to Grenoble.

The governing body of the French league has not made any statement on the incident yet, although there are a number of disciplinary matters to be reviewed from the hot-tempered Top 14 clash.

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Ugalde may face a charge for eye gouging.

There were three red cards and three yellow cards during Grenoble’s 36-23 victory, which took place in midday temperatures of around 35°C and required water breaks midway through in each half of play.

A full-on brawl erupted between the teams just before half time, leading to the three red cards, and it seems likely that there will be citings from that incident too.

It is Ugalde’s actions that are bringing far more attention, however, after the Brive playmaker allegedly attempted to gouge Grenoble wing Armand Batlle as he scored a try.

Under World Rugby’s Law 10.4 (m), “contact with the eye(s) or eye area” of an opposition player can bring a sanction of 12 weeks at the low end, 18 weeks in the mid range, and 24+ weeks at the top end.

The maximum sanction is 208 weeks.

Ugalde has defended himself in an interview with French newspaper Sud Ouest, saying:

“Leaving the field, I did not remember this action. But my team-mates quickly asked me, ‘What have you done?’

“For me, it’s not a gouge. My fist was closed. I quickly went to talk to Armand Batlle and we saw each other at the post-match reception. He told me not to worry.”

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