Sports: ERC launches Toulouse-Ulster inquiry

23rd January 2007, Comments 0 comments

DUBLIN, Jan 22, 2007 (AFP) - European Rugby Cup (ERC) officials announced Monday they had a launched an inquiry into the fiery European Cup match between Toulouse and Ulster over the weekend.


DUBLIN, Jan 22, 2007 (AFP) - European Rugby Cup (ERC) officials announced Monday they had a launched an inquiry into the fiery European Cup match between Toulouse and Ulster over the weekend.

Ulster are unhappy with what they say was a "physical assault" by the French club's Irish lock Trevor Brennan on one of their supporters.

Brennan's Wales international team-mate Gareth Thomas could also be the subject of a report after it was claimed they were both involved in an altercation with Ulster fans behind the posts as they warmed up.

But Toulouse have come out strongly in support of Brennan - "a generous player who always respects his opponents and their supporters" - demanding that the ERC also launch a probe into the behaviour of the Ulster fans.

The former three-time European champions said a small group of Ulster fans had barracked Brennan, sang disparaging songs about his mother and then threw beer over him when he approached them.

While Brennan's actions were "inexcusable", Toulouse said, it was "humanly understandable... given the repeated and indefensible provocation" he received.

"Such supporters have no place in any sporting arena and even less so in a rugby stadium," the club said.

The ERC earlier said it had contacted both clubs asking them to supply full details of the incident and had also requested reports from the match officials and broadcasters at the game.

"A decision on any misconduct complaints to be brought against players or the clubs involved will be made following this investigation."

Ulster were also unhappy with former Ireland forward Brennan's role in a brawl with the Irish province's Australian second row Justin Harrison during the match itself.

The pair were sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes by English referee Tony Spreadbury when the scores were level at 13-13 in a match Toulouse went on to win 28-13.

After the match, Ulster coach Mark McCall, who was unhapppy with Spreadbury's handling of the incident, claimed it was "lucky that Justin wasn't seriously hurt".

"It was a red-card offence and his decision to yellow-card the victim of an assault only made things worse for us.

"The game was in the balance at that stage and the referee's decision changed everything."

Toulouse won the match but neither they nor Ulster qualified for the quarter-finals out of Pool Five where Welsh side Llanelli were the only club to make it through to the last eight.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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