Wasps cite Biarritz's Betsen over leg break

18th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Jan 17 (AFP) - Wasps are to cite France flanker Serge Betsen for his part in the incident that saw England centre Stuart Abbott break his leg during last weekend's European Cup tie against Biarritz.

LONDON, Jan 17 (AFP) - Wasps are to cite France flanker Serge Betsen for his part in the incident that saw England centre Stuart Abbott break his leg during last weekend's European Cup tie against Biarritz.

The case will now be heard by a European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary committee and if found guilty of foul play Betsen could be handed a suspension that affects his participation in the Six Nations tournament, which starts next month.

Abbott is now out for the rest of the season.

"London Wasps wish to confirm that it has submitted to ERC the appropriate citing forms in relation to an incident in the 21st minute of the game involving Biarritz Olympique player Serge Betson and Stuart Abbott," read a statement from the reigning European and English champions Wasps.

"Abbott sustained a broken right tibia in the incident that will keep him out of competitive rugby for the remainder of the season.

"London Wasps will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter until the citing officer has determined the case and any subsequent disciplinary proceedings have been concluded."

Abbott was taken from the field after falling over Betsen's leg and landing awkwardly at Biarritz's Parc des Sports Aguilera.

The question the ERC will have to decide is whether the France international's actions constituted deliberate foul play or was simply a case of him being wrong-footed by Abbott in the build-up to the incident.

Biarritz won the match 18-15, a result that ended Wasps' defence of their title before the quarter-finals.

Biarritz president Marcel Martin said he was surprised that Wasps had gone ahead with the citing as they had said nothing immediately after the match but understood why they were doing so.

"You cannot blame them as they will want to pursue this matter for their player," he told AFP.

"However I am confident that Betsen will be cleared as both the coaches (Patrice Lagisquet and Jacques Delmas) and other people at the club have seen the video and said that he didn't want to break the player's leg."

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper accused Betsen of a "cynical trip" in the headline accompanying its match report of the game.

But French giants Biarritz could have grounds for complaint after their captain Thomas Lievremont was the victim of a stamping incident, with television pictures suggesting Wasps prop Tim Payne was the man putting the boot in.

However tournament regulations state that initiating the citing procedure, which is the responsibility of clubs during the European Cup, must be done within 50 hours of kick-off and Martin said he would not be doing so.

"I cannot cite the English player even if I wanted to because it has already been dealt with on the pitch by the referee," said Martin.

Grand Slam holders France begin their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on February 5.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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