French Baby slapped with four-week ban

17th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, March 16 (AFP) - France rugby centre Benoit Baby has been handed a four-week ban by the Six Nations disciplinary commission here on Thursday for an infraction during the Ireland v France match in Dublin last weekend.

LONDON, March 16 (AFP) - France rugby centre Benoit Baby has been handed a four-week ban by the Six Nations disciplinary commission here on Thursday for an infraction during the Ireland v France match in Dublin last weekend.

Baby was given a verbal warning by referee Tony Spreadbury and Ireland were awarded a penalty after the 21-year-old Toulouse centre headbutted Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll.

Baby had scored a try in the first half of his international debut and was France's man-of-the-match.

But he ended it by being cited by Bill Scott, the disciplinary commission's independent adviser.

Ireland lost 26-19 to the French to concede their first defeat of the Six Nations campaign, which ended their hopes of a Grand Slam.

France team manager Jo Maso defended Baby after the match, and will be satisfied with the length of the ban given that under rule 17 of the International Rugby Board (IRB) the Frenchman could have been banned for up to a year.

"It's a real shame because it was Benoit's first international match and it was a success," Maso said after the game.

"We saw him do that gesture and it's something you should never see in rugby, but on a sporting level I will defend him, this was a young person's mistake.

"We will plead for leniency, he is only 21. He was surprised by his own action."

Baby will not be able to play for either club or country until April 14, meaning he will miss France's final Six Nations match against Italy in Rome this weekend as well as Stade Toulouse's European Cup quarter-final tie at home to Northampton on April 1.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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