Umaga in the dock
8 Apr 2008
Toulon coach Tana Umaga will face a disciplinary committee on Friday for a red card he received in an ill-tempered match a fortnight ago.
The incident occurred on 29 March in their 24-23 defeat to Pau. Reports suggest a mass brawl broke out between the sides and lasted for around five minutes. After the fight ended, Umaga, under the guise of water boy, stepped onto the field for what appeared to be a tactical discussion with his forwards.
The referee told Umaga to leave the field but the coach ignored his instructions, forcing the official to issue a red card. Prop Saimone Taumoepeau was also red-carded for allegedly kicking a Pau player, while former Wallaby captain and Toulon scrumhalf George Gregan received a yellow card.
Millionaire club president Mourad Boujellal defended Umaga, and has called for an investigation into the standard of refereeing in the Pro Division 2.
“The referees are below par. They are not competent to referee a Toulon match,” Boudjellal said.
“They’re amateurs. Their level of refereeing is catastrophic. I demand that we be refereed by professionals that have already officiated in the Top 14. What happened is disgraceful.
“He [the referee] gave a red card to Tana Umaga and a yellow to George Gregan. That’s great for his collection. If rugby wants to be professional, it needs to think seriously about the refereeing. It’s a real problem.”
Toulon were involved in a similar incident in March against Tarbes, and were subsequently fined 10 000 Euros (about R120 000).
Despite having lost four of their last seven matches, Toulon are currently top of the French Pro Division 2, seven points clear of the second placed Stade Montois and Racing Metro with eight matches remaining.