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11th Sep 2018

Mathieu Bastareaud set for lengthy ban after shocking assault during match

Patrick McCarry

The French centre completely lost the plot.

Mathieu Bastareaud is in danger of missing France’s November internationals and a significant chunk of Toulon’s season after a mindless assault on Castres’ Christophe Samson, on Sunday.

The veteran back had a complete meltdown, 68 minutes into the Top 14 game, when he took exception to being obstructed during a Toulon attack and exacted retribution a few phases later.

Toulon were trailing 27-20 at the time but had a man advantage due to a Castres yellow card. Bastareaud may have felt Castres were deliberately trying to halt play in the Toulon half but he really should have left that call-up to the match officials.

After flanker Stéphane Onambele Mbarga had made a fine break into the Castres’ 22, Samson attempted to slow ruck ball by not releasing after his initial tackle. Bastreaud steamed in to clear out but then went back for seconds and it was pure nasty.

Mathieu Bastareaud lengthy ban

“Ohhh, Bastareaud’s off!” declared former England centre Will Greenwood on commentary for Sky Sports.

Replays of the incident made it look worse and worse and it was no surprise to see the Toulon No.13 getting a straight red card. Samson himself, now back on his feet but groggy, was shown a yellow card for his earlier collision with the Toulon captain when he was offside.

Had Bastareaud waited for the officials to check replays, Toulon could have had a two-man advantage, but he took the law into his own, sizeable hands.

His rush of blood ultimately did not cost Toulon. They made it 27-23 with a Louis Carbonel penalty and then snatched a win when Filipo Nakosi crossed for a 78th minute try that left it 28-27 to the hosts.

The victory was much-needed for Toulon, but they are now likely to do without their captain for the foreseeable future.