The official was punched from behind

A referee was knocked out after a player punched him in the jaw during a French regional 2 match.

The game, between Racing club du Las and the Rugby club du Beausset, was suspended in the 75th minute because of the attack.

Related: Wayne Barnes retires

Referee Simon Lloret says he issued a red card to a player for dissent and that is when the incident took place.

“He [the player] insulted me and said: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take you back to your car,” Lloret said via L’Independant. “I then gave him a red card, without any hesitation. I was then heading towards the centre of the field when I received a punch from behind in the jaw. I was knocked out.”

Lloret did not have any lasting injuries but suffered from vomiting and a headache the next day. Despite the traumatic experience, the referee intends to pursue his career.

“I intend to continue as a referee because I want to go as high as possible and I’m not going to stop for someone like him, who doesn’t think about others.”

Abuse directed at officials, whether it be physical or verbal, can lead to playing bans. Physical altercations can carry a ban up to five years with the top sanction being a lifetime ban.

The Rugby Football Union said they will increase sanctions in English rugby after a survey they conducted found 50% of officials asked had received abuse.

David Barnes, the RFU’s head of discipline, told the Guardian: “We feel it’s right to add an additional deterrent to all sanctions to try and reduce some of these issues.”

Referee abuse runs through the entire rugby pyramid with RugbyPassTV showing the Whistleblowers documentary which gave an insight into what the World Cup officials have to deal with.

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