Brits cited for Farrell punch
June 1, 2013
Schalk Brits was sent to the sin-bin after only seven minutes © Getty Images
Saracens and Barbarians hooker Schalk Brits has been cited for punching British & Irish Lions fly-half Owen Farrell during their clash in Hong Kong on Saturday night.
The South African lashed out at his Saracens team-mate early in the Lions' 59-8 win and while referee Steve Walsh sent him to the sin-bin, the referee said that if it had been a more meaningful match then he would have sent him off.
Walsh originally punished Farrell for reacting to Brits, but reversed his decision after viewing television footage of the incident and as a result he will face a disciplinary committee in Hong Kong at 9am local time.
However, Barbarians coach Dai Young said that Brits was forced to act as he was being held in a ruck by Farrell. "You don't want to see any incidents other than the rugby," Young said. "He (Brits) was being held back and couldn't get into the defensive line, and he lashed out. You are not going to say that's right, but that is pretty much what happened."
Lions coach Warren Gatland took a similar view as Young and was pleased that the Barbarians weren't reduced to 14 players for the rest of the match. "It was just a ruck situation," he said. "Owen is holding on to his jersey, Brits has got a bit frustrated and let fly. The good thing was that Owen wasn't injured or knocked out. I was pleased he (Brits) wasn't sent off, and just given a yellow card. Had they played with 14 men it would have been less of a hit-out for us.
"Sometimes it is hard when someone lays a punch squarely on the side of your jaw not to react. We are going to emphasise from the start of this tour the importance of keeping our discipline."
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