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Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK

World Cup bans for Charvis and Grau

Colin Charvis scored the first try of the World Cup, before being cited

Wales flanker Colin Charvis will miss his side's next two Rugby World Cup games after being banned for punching.

Former Lions and England forward Paul Ackford: "I also think Grau was the aggressor"
And Argentina prop Roberto Grau has also been suspended for his team's remaining Pool D matches, after he and Charvis faced a disciplinary hearing in Cardiff.

The pair were cited for punching during last Friday's tournament opener between the two teams at the Millennium Stadium.

Charvis was handed a 14-day suspension, while Grau was banned for 21 days, following a hearing that lasted more than two hours.

Their case was heard by a committee chaired by former New Zealand High Court judge Sir Alan Holland.

A statement from the tournament organisers said: "The committee found the allegations in the citings proved that each player punched the other.

"It was found that the punching was commenced by Grau and that Charvis retaliated."

Knock-out return

The statement added that in reaching their decision, the committee had taken into account "the pressures on both players because of this being the opening game of the tournament and to the previous good record of both players".

[ image: Brawl: Wales vs Argentina was an ill-tempered affair]
Brawl: Wales vs Argentina was an ill-tempered affair
Wales will now be without Charvis for the qualifying matches with Japan and Samoa, while Grau will sit out Argentina's games against the same opposition.

But both players will be available if either team reaches the knock-out stages of the tournament, which start on October 23.

World Cup organisers have already cited three other players - Samoan prop Brendan Reidy, Tongan full-back Siua Taumalolo and Spanish lock Jose Miguel Villau.

Earlier officials decided to take no action against Grau over another incident in the Wales opener.

Press photos

He was accused of gouging Wales hooker Garin Jenkins' eye, following pictures in a Sunday newspaper.

Neither the referee, Paddy O'Brien, nor the touch judges reported seeing the incident.

The World Cup's media officer told the Mail on Sunday: "Incidents like this will not be brushed under the carpet at this World Cup.

[ image: Roberto Grau: No action over the gouging claims]
Roberto Grau: No action over the gouging claims
"No stone will be left unturned in finding out whether Garin Jenkins' eye was deliberately gouged."

Citing commisioner Piet Nieuman looked into the matter.

But after looking at television replays, officials decided the photo made the incident look much worse than it was.

"While the picture does look alarming, no official complaint was made at the time or after the game by Garin Jenkins.

"We feel therefore that this is a matter for the Argentinians to consider in the first instance," said a Welsh team spokesman.

Former South African captain and Saracens player-coach Francois Pienaar defended the decision to take no action.

"It looks shocking as a photograph but clearly when you see the action sequence it is nothing more than an impatient shove," said Pienaar.

Argentinian officials also stressed there was no deliberate act of foul play by Grau.

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