Ulster refute Clermont allegations against Rory Best

Rory Best in action against Clermont
Rory Best in action against Clermont

Director of rugby Les Kiss has rejected claims from French side Clermont that Rory Best should have been cited for eye-gouging.

The French club made the allegations on a statement on their website on Friday against the captain of their Champions Cup rivals in pool five.

Clermont’s Sporting Director Franck Azéma accused the Disciplinary Committee of double standards after Clermont’s Etienne Falgoux received a seven-week ban for eye gouging Luke Marshall in France last week.

They claimed that Best had been guilty of a similar offence a week earlier when Ulster defeated Clermont 39-32 at Kingspan Stadium.

Azéma claimed that the Disciplinary Committee acknowledged that Falgoux’s contact with Marshall was “unintentional” but feels his side have been unfairly treated because they had brought a similar incident to the attention of the committee the previous week.

According to Azéma, they approached the Disciplinary Committe about an alleged eye gouge by Best on Davit Zirakashvili in the first fixture between the two clubs at Ravenhill but no action was taken because it was “unintentional”.

“We have a real feeling of injustice because last week we asked the Disciplinary Commission on a similar gesture of Rory Best, the Ulster captain who visibly touched the eye area of ​​Dato (Davit Zirakashvili),” said Azéma.

“He did not do this by scratching his eyes in a ruck or by making a bottom of his eye! We were told that the gesture was ‘unintentional’ and did not deserve to go through the Disciplinary Committee, when the same arguments were put forward to sanction Etienne.

“There are two weights, two measures, because Best is an icon of European rugby and Etienne a young player. It is unacceptable. The people change, but the drifts remain the same and the French clubs always charge in the same way while the Anglo-Saxons remain untouchable.

“There is no equity in sanctions and this is very detrimental to Etienne who has always been exemplary in his behavior and who always works with this attention to detail. I understand that for him, it is humiliating and vexing to start his career with a disciplinary record of this type. He does not deserve that.”

It could well be a case of sour grapes by the French club and on Friday night Ulster boss Kiss totally rejected the claims.

Ulster’s director of rugby Les Kiss has rejected claims from Champions Cup rivals Clermont Auvergne that Rory Best should have been cited for eye-gouging in their Belfast win two weeks ago.

“They made the citing commissioner aware of it and it was clear there was nothing,” he said.

“We know Rory is not that sort of player. I don’t think it was about his status. It just wasn’t answerable and the citing commissioner saw it that way.”