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O’Brien spells out Laporte’s possibilities



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IRB referees’ manager Paddy O’Brien has given an indication of the possible sanctions Bernard Laporte could face as a result of his alleged confrontation with referee Stu Dickinson before the New Zealand-France Test on Saturday.

Laporte is alleged to have said to Dickinson: “If you are appointed to any French games at the World Cup, the French team will not turn up. We have had enough of you. All the time you do this to us.”

O’Brien was on Monday still waiting to receive the report from Dickinson on the incident, and spelled out the processes that would be followed from then on.

In the first instance, the report would be passed onto the IRB legal division to adjudicate on whether Laporte had indeed breached the regulations governing threatening/abusive behaviour to match officials.

“They will deem whether there is enough to perform a formal inquiry into the matter or not. If they do, and they find there is a case to answer, then Bernard will have to answer it under the normal judiciary process,” O’Brien said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

What is not clear is the level of punishment Laporte could expect to face, O’Brien has not yet had to deal with such a case during his time as referees’ manager, but he did mention the possibility of suspension.

“I’m not sure (exactly) what the sanctions are but they will be exactly the same as a player (faces), or anyone who is guilty of misconduct…it could range from anything from suspension to anything,” continued O’Brien.

“But we need to see what does happen if the inquiry (takes place).

“It does sound like this (discussion) got a wee bit of out of hand and a lot of emotion was involved. It’s unfortunate if it is and we will deal with it in the right manner.”

Dickinson and O’Brien had also talked at length over Dickinson’s blowing of the first Test between New Zealand and France, which O’Brien said was not Dickinson’s best and which was the source of Laporte’s ire. But that does not excuse Laporte’s behaviour.

“To be up front, Stuart didn’t have a good game and I think he knows that now,” O’Brien said.

“He got told that by the performance reviewer and told in no uncertain terms by me that it wasn’t a performance up to the normal Stuart Dickinson we know, and we would expect him to pull his socks up between now and the World Cup.

“It’s a professional game and people have to be professional in their approach. It’s a matter of everyone having cool heads and going about it in an appropriate manner.”

Dickinson has kept a low media profile since the incident, saying only that he was confident in “due process” taking its course in dealing with the incident.

“I just want due process, not to create a storm,” Dickinson said.

“It’s important not to get too carried away but let’s not ignore it either. It’s the first time I’ve run across something like this. It’s something you are not used to and something you don’t want to get used to.”

“I was talking to Bernard, and looking to apologise for some of my decisions.

“I wanted to make clear that I made one or two mistakes and was ready to put my hand up.

“It was probably not the most favourable of discussions.

“Bernard became upset and not wanting it to become a full-blown argument I just thought: ‘let’s just get through this’, then I’d wait for things to calm down and for cool heads.”


365 Digital

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