Former Lions captains Brian O’Driscoll and Sam Warburton have hit out at the actions of Julien Marchand in Toulouse’s semi-final victory over Bordeaux yesterday.
Marchand’s shoulder clattered into the head of Romain Buros but the incident was missed by the match officials.
However, O’Driscoll and Warburton were incensed. Their post-match conversion was as follows:
Warburton: “It’s Julien Marchand here, they show a replay and he is standing bolt upright and that is a right shoulder to the head and we were, ‘Are they not going to look at that?’
You look at that from a refereeing perspective, I don’t expect Wayne Barnes to see everything, he needs help. He needs someone to say, ‘Hang on, Wayne, you need to look at this again’. But that is a red. That is a right shoulder to the head. Is there force? Yes. Is it to the head? Yes. Is there mitigation? No.”
BOD: "That is the reddest of red cards. He almost has to spring to get the collision shoulder to the impact point. There is no bend of the body from Buros. He is fully straight and Marchand has hit high. For me, would it have been the difference in changing the game? Potentially. It’s still only a five-point game.
You think about the galvanising effect and that momentum swing – 23 minutes in a semi-final is a huge amount of time and Toulouse could have tightened up and it could have given that energy to Bordeaux that they needed. They needed something to act as a catalyst for a better performance."
WARBURTON: "It’s their captain as well, it would have been a big turning point in the game. Another point worth mentioning is there was no wrap at all, it was pure tuck of the right arm. There is nothing going in his favour in that example. Like you say it is the reddest of reds."
BOD: "What happens in that case (if it was spotted during the game), you get sent off so he would get a three-week ban. I don’t know is that a citing issue? I would imagine it will be. If Tom Foley, who is a very good TMO, has managed to miss that, but I am sure the citing commissioner will be having a look at it. Sometimes when you don’t see multiple replays referees can miss them and they are human like the rest of us. But it seemed like a big moment with lots still to play on the clock."