Losing the plot
October 18, 2012
England's Lewis Moody gets to grips with Samoa's Alesana Tuilagi during a fiery clash at Twickenham in 2005 © PA Photos
The moment the red mist descended on Gloucester flanker Andy Hazell during their clash against Mont de Marsan at the weekend has already received 310,000 views on YouTube - almost as many hits as the Cherry and Whites stalwart appeared to land on his a rival. It was a moment of madness from the flanker which he claims was the result of extreme provocation.
Regardless of the reasons behind the countless punches and knee drop, it provided the perfect opportunity for Scrum Sevens to have a look back through the archives and dig out some more examples of when a rugby player has really lost the plot.
Two wrongs don't make a right?
Ireland's clash with the Barbarians in 2008 saw three yellow cards handed out but none of them came as a result of the most alarming incidents in the match. Ireland flanker Neil Best got in a solid shot on Cobus Visagie - forcing the 29-time Springbok prop off the field - and his Baa-Baas team-mate David Croft attempted to right the wrong by launching a flurry of punches on Best minutes later. Commentator Mark Robson's assertion that Best is "100% testosterone" is perfectly shown in these two moments of rugby theatre.
Letting off steam at the end of the season
Gloucester and London Irish both failed to set the Premiership alight last season but their meeting in the final round of the campaign produced sparks aplenty with the Madejski crowd treated to eight tries and two red cards. Gloucester enforcer Jim Hamilton and London Irish hooker David Paice came to blows in the 47th minute and although shown yellow cards, they decided to continue their dispute en route to the tunnel. Referee Dave Pearson was left with no option other than to issue reds to the pair with the commentator referring to the incident as "totally unnecessary unpleasantness". Hamilton and Paice were both hit with seven-week bans and missed the start of the 2012-13 season.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
The most high-profile hair-pulling incident ever seen in the Premiership arguably occurred last season when England flyer Chris Ashton dragged Alesana Tuilagi into touch via his rather glorious locks. But hair-pulling is nothing new in rugby. Seasoned veteran Marius Tincu, a hooker seemingly-born to cause havoc both vocally and physically, manoeuvred Georgia's Viktor Kolelishvili to the ground via his hair in a match between Georgia and Romania earlier this year. The incident prompted a furious response from the flanker who unleashed a pair of punches on the hooker. The Georgian, who received a red card for the incident, turns out for Clermont Auvergne in France and looks to have learnt a few lessons from their long-time enforcer Jamie Cudmore.
All White on the night
Former England prop Julian White has now hung up his boots after 20 years at rugby's coalface. He was a dying breed - one of rugby's true old school players. But the front-row still retains some of the rugby values that make the game so great. When England prop Andrew Sheridan came face-to-face with White in a battle between Leicester and Sale back in 2009, it's fair to say that White won. He copped a two-week ban for the punch he landed on Sheridan with the now Toulon prop floored by White's solitary smack.
No love lost
Lewis Moody became the first England player to be sent off at Twickenham for his part in a brawl with his then Tigers team-mate and Samoa wing Alesana Tuilagi back in 2005. It had been an ill-tempered affair up to that point with two of the Islanders binned before the headline-grabbing 75th minute flashpoint. England were 35-3 ahead and cruising but that did not deter Tuilagi from crashing in on Mark Cueto while the England winger was plucking a Jonny Wilkinson cross-kick. Moody reacted furiously to the winger's challenge and the fists started to fly. The Tigers flanker was handed a nine-week suspension while Tuilagi copped six.
All in a good cause
A charity match between the North and the South of New Zealand in aid of the beleaguered Otago Rugby Union proved to be anything but at Forsyth Barr Stadium earlier this year. In front of 7,427 supporters, the two sides put on an entertaining show with the South eventually winning 32-24 but the main talking point was the brawl that marred the fixture. The North's Brendan Leonard upended the South's Jason Rutledge with a tip tackle and it all kicked off. Both sides piled in with Tom Donnelly ending up on the floor. Filo Paulo, for no apparent reason, thought it a good idea to throw a punch at the defenceless Donnelly and was hit with a five-week ban.
If one goes, the rest will follow
If there is a more stunning all-out rugby brawl than this then we are yet to see it. In a clash between Romanian rivals Dinamo Bucuresti and Farul Constanta back in 2009, both sides kicked off in scenes akin to gang warfare. The brawl lasted about a minute and the result was Dinamo being awarded a 5-0 win after the Federaţia Romana de Rugby intervened. It is hard to pick out a key incident from the fight but Dinamo's No.13 attacking an opposition back-rower is worthy of mention.
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