# lenient
Toulon centre Bastareaud escapes with five-week ban for shocking striking offence
The Toulon and France centre was red carded for his forearm smash on Christophe Samson.

TOULON CAPTAIN AND French international Mathieu Bastareaud has been banned for five weeks for striking an opponent in a Top 14 game.

The centre was sanctioned for his attack on Castres forward Christophe Samson at the end of Toulon’s 28-27 win over the champions last two weekends ago.

Top Rugby / YouTube

Bastareaud dived into a ruck as Castres turned over the ball and smashed an arm into Samson’s head as he lay on the ground. At some point in the chaos, the Toulon centre took a knee in the face. He saw red while Samson was yellow-carded.

Bastareaud faced a Ligue Nationale de Rugby disciplinary hearing yesterday, where it was found that his striking offence was of a ‘mid-range’ nature and warranted a six-week ban.

Bastareaud had a week added to that initial suspension due to this poor disciplinary record but then had two weeks shaved off the ban because of “extenuating circumstances,” namely his guilty plea and his conduct before and during the hearing. 

Bastareaud’s final five-week suspension means he will miss the coming weeks of the Top 14 and Toulon’s Champions Cup opener against Newcastle on 14 October.

However, he will be available again for the trip to Edinburgh on 20 October, providing him with a chance to convince France boss Jacques Brunel of his enduring qualities before the November Tests.

Three-time European champions Toulon have had a chaotic start to the French season with just one win and three losses in their opening four Top 14 games.

© AFP 2018.

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