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London Irish 52-18 Gloucester, Aviva Premiership
Smith slams 'disgraceful' Hamilton
ESPN Staff
May 5, 2012
Gloucester's Jim Hamilton settles a dispute with London Irish's Sailosi Tagicakibau, London Irish v Gloucester, Aviva Premiership, Madejski Stadium, Reading, England, May 5, 2012
Gloucester's Jim Hamilton was at the heart of a fractious encounter at the Madejski Stadium. © Getty Images
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Brian Smith branded Jim Hamilton "a disgrace" after the Gloucester captain and London Irish hooker David Paice were sent off during the Exiles crushing 52-18 Aviva Premiership victory at the Madejski Stadium.

The pair saw red seven minutes into the second half after being involved in two confrontations. They were initially shown yellow cards by referee Dave Pearson after trading blows for the first time, but when they clashed again leaving the field it triggered an unseemly mass brawl near the touchline.

And Exiles' director of rugby Smith was in no doubt that the blame for the ugly scenes lay with the Scotland lock, and revealed that Paice had required a dozen stitches in a cut to his head. Smith said: "What happened was there was an off-the-ball incident where Jim Hamilton pushed David Paice in the back and knocked him to the ground. When you are not expecting to be pushed in the back you get a whiplash-type effect.

"It's not on, he instigated it. David Paice went to the next ruck and cleaned Jim Hamilton out off the ball, and Jim Hamilton started throwing punches from that ruck.

"Jim Hamilton was the instigator and then when they were both yellow carded Hamilton has punched David Paice twice in the head and split him open and he has a dozen stitches in his forehead, and the all-in started from there.

"Jim Hamilton has got a lot to answer for, it's not the 1970s. It was very disappointing, it was a blight on the game. Jim Hamilton was the instigator and we have David Paice possibly with concussion and a dozen stitches in his head.

"As a captain of the Gloucester team Jim Hamilton's behaviour was unacceptable. He is a Test player but I would be surprised if he plays any Test footy this summer, because it was a disgrace what he did today."

The incident overshadowed an excellent six-try win for Irish as they said farewell to England-bound attack coach Mike Catt, as well as the likes of captain Bob Casey and wing Delon Armitage in fine style.

The Exiles' tries came courtesy of Darren Allinson, Jonathan Joseph, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Marland Yarde and the departing Armitage, while fullback Tom Homer booted 22 points. And Smith backed the classy Joseph and Armitage to book themselves places in England's squad to tour South Africa, with new head coach Stuart Lancaster among the crowd in Reading. And former England coach Smith was effusive in his praise of centre Joseph.

"I can see Jonathan Joseph going, with Mike Catt as part of the England coaching team now," he said. "He knows what Jonathan is capable of and I think he is an outstanding talent. "He is ready, he is as good a 13 as there is at the moment. England are lucky to have him and I would not be at all surprised if he is named on tour and starts a Test."

Gloucester coach Carl Hogg was furious with his side's performance as they ended the season with a sixth-straight defeat as Mike Tindall finished his Kingsholm career on a crushing low.

"It was an embarrassing performance and at the end of a long hard season it is unacceptable," he said. "We need to go away and have a good hard look at ourselves over the summer as that was not acceptable, and I can only apologise to the supporters who came across to Reading to witness that."

On Hamilton's red card, he added: "We want discipline and we've got issues with the yellow card to start with and then the afters and that lack of discipline is not acceptable at this level or at any level."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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