Monthly Archives: February 2015

France forward Pascal Pape has been suspended for 10 weeks

Pape gets lengthy ban for Heaslip incident

Pape gets lengthy ban for Heaslip incident

France forward Pascal Pape has been suspended for 10 weeks and will miss the rest of the RBS 6 Nations after he kneed Jamie Heaslip in the back during last Saturday’s game against Ireland.

Pape, who has a right of appeal, was cited under Law 10.4 (a) and appeared in front of a disciplinary panel together with France coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Wednesday.

Referee Wayne Barnes issued Pape with a yellow card during the match but the disciplinary committee decided it was an act of foul play which merited a red card and "should be categorised at the top end of World Rugby's scale of seriousness".

Law 10.4 (a) forbids a player from punching or striking an opponent and Pape could have been banned for up to 15 weeks.

His punishment was, however, reduced given what the committee referred to as "the player's admission of foul play and his expression of remorse for what had occurred".

The lock issued an apology on Tuesday via social media to Heaslip, who damaged three vertebrae in the incident and will miss Ireland's next game against England.

@pascalpape thanks for your message. It's a physical game that we play and these things happen. I fully accept your apology.

— jamie heaslip (@jamieheaslip) February 17, 2015

Pape's suspension represents a blow for France, who lost 18-11 in Dublin and are now third in the table after two matches played.

WATCH – Darren Clarke on his Ryder Cup coronation

Clarke proud to be Europe's captain

Clarke proud to be Europe’s captain

New European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke will put his much publicised dispute with outgoing skipper Paul McGinley to one side after he confirmed he consult his Irish colleague for advice ahead of the 2016 event at Hazeltine.

Even though Clarke has endured a turbulent relationship with McGinley in recent years, the latter showed he could ignore their spat as he was involved in the process that led to the selection of the next European captain.

Clarke, 46, who played in the Ryder Cup five times and was a vice-captain in 2010 and 2012, was unanimously chosen ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn by a five-man selection panel at Wentworth.

McGinley admitted last year his conversations with Clarke were now ''short and sweet" but Clarke will consult McGinley after the Dubliner's leadership at Gleneagles received widespread acclaim.

"It would be very foolish for me not to follow the same formula," Clarke said.

"With everything that came out of Gleneagles and the unbelievable job that Paul did there, I would be foolish not to speak to Paul and all the other captains before that.

"The team bonding and spirit they had at Gleneagles is obviously something I would love to replicate.

"I will try to pick off as much information as I can from all the previous captains. I think it would be very remiss of me if I didn't do that to try and pick out the bits that they thought worked best for the teams.

"At the end of the day it's not about me, it's about the players and to try and make sure the team has an enjoyable week, which is quite difficult in a stressful atmosphere that the Ryder Cup is. But if the guys are relaxed and enjoy themselves that always helps a little bit more.

"Certainly with the teams that I have been involved in, both as a player and vice-captain, that has been a huge factor.

"To be captain of the European Team is a huge honour that ranks up there with anything I've achieved in the professional game. It's right up at the very top."

McGinley reiterated that he would not act as vice-captain to Clarke, or anyone else, but added: "I will give him any support he needs. At the same time it's important I step away too.

"Darren's now at the front and let him go ahead. It's not necessarily about following me or following Jose or following Monty or anybody who has done it before and won. It's about doing what's best for him and how he sees it."

Clarke said he has a "few people in mind" for his vice-captains and indicated he was likely to copy McGinley and have five of them at Hazeltine, where he is set to come up against good friend Davis Love.

Love is set to be confirmed as United States captain next week and Clarke added: "If so that would be wonderful. We've played many practice rounds together and are very good friends. He is a gentleman and there isn't a nicer man in our sport."

Love was captain in 2012 when Europe produced the 'Miracle at Medinah' to recover from 10-4 down on Saturday afternoon and win by a single point.

Last year's win at Gleneagles made it three in succession and six of the last seven, something that Montgomerie believes will make Clarke's job all the harder.

Montgomerie told Sky Sports News: "It's an unenviable task; America want it back badly and he will have all our support. They do want revenge, they set up their task force and had their own internal wranglings about what they can do to win it back.

"We have selected a captain that I am convinced will retain the Ryder Cup and bring it home. I think he will be a very good communicator with the players individually, which is most important as a captain. He has the respect of the players."

The last of Clarke's five appearances as a player was an emotionally-charged affair at the K Club in 2006, when he somehow won all three of his matches just weeks after the death of his first wife Heather from cancer.

Peter O’Mahony signs new Munster deal

Peter O'Mahony commits to Munster

Peter O’Mahony commits to Munster

Flanker Peter O’Mahony is the latest Ireland star to reject a move to France after signing a new three-year contract with Munster.

The 25-year-old club captain has committed to Thomond Park until June 2018, in a clear boost to the Irish province and Ireland boss Joe Schmidt.

Toulouse and a host of French Top 14 clubs were understood to have monitored O'Mahony's situation, but the talismanic back-rower has opted instead to stick to his roots.

O'Mahony's new deal to stay with his home province is also a decisive strike from Munster, who had been left reeling after losing promising fly-half JJ Hanrahan to Northampton Saints for next season.

Leinster stars Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien rejected the lures of Toulon last season, with Munster scrum-half Conor Murray also turning his back on French interest.

British and Irish Lions fly-half Johnny Sexton will return to Leinster from Racing Metro this summer – and now O'Mahony's new deal effectively secures all Ireland's frontline talent on home soil ahead of the World Cup.

Peter O’Mahony signs new Munster deal

Peter O'Mahony commits to Munster

Peter O’Mahony commits to Munster

Flanker Peter O’Mahony is the latest Ireland star to reject a move to France after signing a new three-year contract with Munster.

The 25-year-old club captain has committed to Thomond Park until June 2018, in a clear boost to the Irish province and Ireland boss Joe Schmidt.

Toulouse and a host of French Top 14 clubs were understood to have monitored O'Mahony's situation, but the talismanic back-rower has opted instead to stick to his roots.

O'Mahony's new deal to stay with his home province is also a decisive strike from Munster, who had been left reeling after losing promising fly-half JJ Hanrahan to Northampton Saints for next season.

Leinster stars Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien rejected the lures of Toulon last season, with Munster scrum-half Conor Murray also turning his back on French interest.

British and Irish Lions fly-half Johnny Sexton will return to Leinster from Racing Metro this summer – and now O'Mahony's new deal effectively secures all Ireland's frontline talent on home soil ahead of the World Cup.