Rugby star banned for incident that sparked angry derby row

Osprey’s feather Mat Protheroe was sent off for a dangerous tackle during his team’s derby loss to the Dragons last weekend, and as a result, he has been banned for three games.

After colliding with Will Reed in the first thirty minutes of play at Rodney Parade, the 27-year-old was given a red card for claiming a high ball. After their awkward challenge, Protheroe was given his marching orders after his head collided with the other player and he stayed down.

His team lost to their Welsh rivals 20–5, with Protheroe’s opposite wing Luke Morgan sin-binned for a tip tackle on Rio Dyer, bringing his team down to 14 men for a while. As the Dragons began their URC campaign this season, it was their first victory at home in more than a year.

This weekend, the Ospreys play the Scarlets in another Welsh derby, where they will be hoping for a better outcome. However, Protheroe will not be playing because he was suspended on Thursday during a disciplinary hearing. He will not be available for Sunday’s match at Stadium or the December 2 trip to Italy to play Benetton.

He might be available for the Challenge Cup opener between the two teams the following week, when they play their return matchup against Benetton. But his availability is conditioned on his successful completion of the coaching intervention program offered by World Rugby.

Protheroe acknowledged during the hearing that he had engaged in foul play and that his challenge was worthy of a red card. His original six-week suspension was halved as a result of his apology and his stellar disciplinary record.

But the story might not end there. A heated argument between an opposing coach and Welsh referee Ben Whitehouse was triggered by the wing’s dismissal at Rodney Parade, and it could result in another ban.

The head of performance for the Dragons, Dan Baugh, got into hot water when he expressed his feelings toward Whitehouse during the first half of the game, just as the referee was choosing which punishment to administer.

“If you ever shout at me like that again, you will be in the stand,” the referee yelled at Baugh, who retorted that he was speaking to his own players. However, he touched Whitehouse’s arm, which infuriated the Welshman, who yelled at him to “don’t touch me” before telling his colleagues that “this man stays off the field from now on.”

Although it’s still unclear if former Canada international Baugh will face any external consequences, the Dragons have communicated with the Welsh Rugby Union and the URC, and coach Dai Flanagan has stated that the club will handle the situation internally. Flanagan also disclosed that Baugh had apologized over the phone to Whitehouse.

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