Blackett would endorse life gouging ban
May 7, 2010
Jeff Blackett would endorse a life ban for gouging © Getty Images
RFU disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett has admitted that gouging is on the rise and also that he would have no problem in banning a player for life if found guilty of rugby's most cowardly crime.
Blackett handed down a 70-week ban to Stade Francais prop David Attoub in January after the former France international was found guilty of gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris in a Heineken Cup tie at Ravenhill.
The ban, the second longest in history for the offence, was in stark contrast to the eight week suspension given to South Africa's Schalk Burger for his transgression in the second Test against the British & Irish Lions in 2009, but Blackett insists that he would go one step further if the case required it.
"It was exceptional when I started in 2003," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "Now the instances are higher, both in the professional and the amateur game.
"If the long sanctions, such as the 70 weeks which I gave Attoub, don't do the trick, then we need to have even higher sanctions, until people realise that it's just not worth doing. If in the future there is a serious incident of gouging, and somebody is seriously injured, and the culprit comes before me, then he is in danger of a life ban."
Blackett was speaking in the wake of a number of serious incidents in the English amateur game, including a case which left Gravesend No.8 Clarence Harding blind in one eye following a game against Maidstone in London One South, English rugby's sixth level.
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength-to-strength as a result
'Nothing can prepare you for the noise of the Millennium Stadium though, you just can't hear anything." Tom Hamilton talks to Cory Allen
Following a weekend where Wales suffered more heartbreak against Australia and the Aviva Premiership showed its class, the Monday Maul looks back at some of the key talking points
"Every game I want to win, I want to be successful. I want to play for England and I want to win the World Cup." Tom Hamilton talks to Danny Care