Tuesday 20 February 2018

Furious Clermont release statement accusing Rory Best of eye gouging

Rory Best has been accused of eye gouging Davit Zirakashvili (inset)
Rory Best has been accused of eye gouging Davit Zirakashvili (inset)

Harry Clarke

Clermont Auvergne have released a damning statement accusing Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best of eye gouging.

In quotes reported on Clermont's official website, their Sporting Director Franck Azéma accused the Disciplinary Committee of double standards after Clermont's Etienne Falgoux received a seven-week ban for eye gouging Luke Marshall in France last week.

Azéma claims that the Disciplinary Committee acknowledged that Falgoux's contact with Marshall was "unintentional" but feels his side have been unfairly treated because they had brought a similar incident to the attention of the committee the previous week.

According to Azéma, they approached the Disciplinary Committe about an alleged eye gouge by Best on Davit Zirakashvili in the first fixture between the two clubs at Ravenhill but no action was taken because it was "unintentional".

"We have a real feeling of injustice because last week we asked the Disciplinary Commission on a similar gesture of Rory Best, the Ulster captain who visibly touched the eye area of ​​Dato (Davit Zirakashvili)," said Azéma.

"He did not do this by scratching his eyes in a ruck or by making a bottom of his eye! We were told that the gesture was 'unintentional' and did not deserve to go through the Disciplinary Committee, when the same arguments were put forward to sanction Etienne.

"There are two weights, two measures, because Best is an icon of European rugby and Etienne a young player. It is unacceptable. The people change, but the drifts remain the same and the French clubs always charge in the same way while the Anglo-Saxons remain untouchable.

"There is no equity in sanctions and this is very detrimental to Etienne who has always been exemplary in his behavior and who always works with this attention to detail. I understand that for him, it is humiliating and vexing to start his career with a disciplinary record of this type. He does not deserve that."

The French side also released a picture of Zirakashvili's eye alongside the statement.

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