Hape and Edinburgh’s Cox are cited over cup feud

LONDON Irish centre Shontayne Hape and the Edinburgh flanker Sean Cox have both been cited after their running feud in Saturday’s Heineken Cup match.

Hape was reported for the dangerous tackle he made on David Denton which forced the powerful young Edinburgh flanker off the field in a daze after just 20 minutes of Edinburgh’s stunning 20-19 victory. Cox replaced Denton and made a beeline for the England centre at the next stoppage in play, pushing his face into Hape’s and mouthing angrily at him, which was clearly caught on the TV cameras.

Cox, who joined Edinburgh from Sale Sharks in the summer, later swung a forearm and caught Hape on the head after a tackle, for which he has now been reported by French citing commissioner Yves Thieffine. Hape followed up with a dangerous shoulder charge on the Edinburgh forward, which pushed the tolerance of French referee Romain Poite too far and the centre was duly yellow carded.

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Robert Williams from Wales has been appointed as the Judicial Officer to hear both cases and the hearing will take place on Thursday at ERC’s offices in Dublin. Though Hape has been cited for a dangerous tackle and Cox for striking a player, under the IRB recommended sanctions both would face bans of at least two weeks if found guilty. The judicial officer has the discretion to suspend each player for any length of time, however.

Meanwhile, Scotland attack coach Gregor Townsend praised the Heineken Cup double by the Scottish clubs at the weekend as helping to erase the World Cup hangover and pointing the way to a brighter future.

Speaking at the launch of the Glengoyne Auld Enemy Dinner, an event to be held on the eve of the Calcutta Cup in Edinburgh in association with The Scotsman, which will raise money for Help for Heroes and The Bill McLaren Foundation, Townsend admitted that he was hugely disappointed at Scotland’s failure to reach the World Cup quarter-finals – the first time they have not done so.

However, having received much flak for the team’s inability to score more than four tries in New Zealand the former Scotland stand-off insisted that there remained a strong belief that the squad was on the right track. “As attack coach my main role is to improve our chances of winning,” he said.

“Part of that is scoring tries and we are working hard to improve that, but when we were in those World Cup games with Argentina and England we were in winning positions. With ten minutes to go in each game we had them where we wanted them and the crucial factor was that we let them back in.

“There are lots of things we have looked at since coming home. We have made progress over the last two years and have become more competitive, won big games with Australia and South Africa and in Ireland and Argentina – the frustrating thing was not finishing off that good work in the World Cup with wins against Argentina and England.

“But what lifts you is to come back and see young Scottish players standing up and the World Cup performers coming back in fit and on form, to combine in the way they did at the weekend.

“All five tries scored against strong defences in the two games involving our clubs were by young Scottish players [Stuart McInally and Lee Jones for Edinburgh, Ross Samson for London Irish, and Glasgow pair Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray], and that is where you draw the optimism from.”