La Rochelle manager Ronan O’Gara was shoved twice by Clermont fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta as ball flies into touch

La Rochelle are to demand that disciplinary officials take action after their head coach Ronan O’Gara was involved in a touchline scuffle with Clermont’s Argentinian fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta in a Top 14 match at the weekend, according to reports in France.

Urdapilleta twice shoved the La Rochelle coach after the two had collided in the technical area on the edge of the pitch at Stade Marcel Michelin after a clearance from Brice Dulin had crossed the touchline.

Urdapilleta later played down the incident – which had at the time cost his side just a penalty.

“With the adrenaline, I sometimes overdo it,” he told broadcaster Canal Plus immediately after the match. “He’s clever, I think he deliberately prevented me from getting the ball. At the time, we were behind on the scoreboard. But that’s sport, it can happen. Once the match is over, you forget about it.”

But La Rochelle intend to take things further, reports in France suggest. Regional newspaper Sud Ouest said the club plans to contact citing officials directly, seeking to have the case brought before the Ligue Nationale de Rugby’s (LNR) disciplinary committee.

O’Gara, who had managed to not to overreact as Urdapilleta jostled with him, told reporters: “I was a little shocked. I understand that he wanted to play quickly, that happens, but I was in my zone. And he pushed me twice… I’m no angel either, but at the same time, there is respect. I think he crossed a line.” 

He added: “It’s a disappointment, he didn’t have the class to apologise.”

The club’s decision to take matters further came after O’Gara had indicated that, as far as he was concerned, a penalty was the end of the matter: “It has no place in our sport. But a card? That’s not possible either, because that’s for players against players, not between players and staff.” 

Clermont manager Christophe Urios said: “I wasn’t worried about any consequences for Benjamin. All Ronan O’Gara had to do was move. What do you want me to say? There’s nothing nasty in it.”

Quarter-of-an-hour after the incident, Urdapilleta kicked the decisive 71st-minute penalty that gave Clermont an 11-10 win that moved them up to sixth in the table – one place above La Rochelle, who picked up a losing bonus points – at the end of the Top 14’s three-round pre-World Cup rush.

The LNR issues a regular weekly statement on which players in the Top 14 and ProD2 have been called to a disciplinary hearing on the Tuesday after each round of matches. Hearings are, generally, held eight days later.

The Top 14 resumes on October 29, the day after the World Cup final.

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