London Irish coach Booth hints at stronger punishmentsBy Matthew Sadler
December 14, 2011
London Irish coach Toby Booth has hinted that he may be forced to rethink his policy on discipline after Chris Hala’Ufia was cited yet again, following an alleged high challenge on Racing Metro’s Gaetan Germain.
Irish produced a superb performance in Paris on Saturday to win 34-14 and keep themselves in with a shout of qualifying from Pool 2 of the Heineken Cup.
But 33-year-old Hala’Ufia, who has just returned from a seven-week ban for a head-first challenge on Gloucester full-back Olly Morgan, could face his fifth ban in less than two years if found guilty of the offence, which saw him injure his forearm in the process.
Booth said: “Chris Hala’Ufia’s forearm is an absolute mess. He’ll have surgery on that this week.
“His arm has made contact with the player and he has paid a big price.
“I know he’s been cited, but I haven’t looked at it in detail. I’m more worried about getting us ready. I will have to have a look at it and see how we defend him.
“It’s certainly not helpful is it. From that point of view we need to seriously consider what we do.”
It is not only Hala’Ufia who has had problems with discipline this year as centre Steve Shingler is currently waiting on an appeal against a four-week ban, while England internationals
Delon Armitage and Shontayne Hape have also been banned.
Hape is free to return to action this weekend when Racing visit Madejski Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Booth added: “We can speak about it and take various measures on the pitch.
“We have a disciplined group of players here who discuss where it should go, but if we are not getting the uptake we need from players then we might need to look at taking more stringent measures.”
Irish’s win over Racing ended the French side’s chances of qualification, but Exiles are still outsiders themselves to reach the knockout stages after narrow defeats to leaders Cardiff
Blues and second-placed Edinburgh earlier on in the competition.
Booth said: “We need to back it up this weekend, that’s the most important thing.
“No-one likes to lose in any game, but losing at home is always more painful to take. I’m sure they will come with a big reaction.
“We need Edinburgh to probably do us a favour this weekend, but we are more in control then we were.”