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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Montgomery escapes life ban
Percy Montgomery
Montgomery will miss the World Cup
Newport and South Africa full-back Percy Montgomery has been banned from playing rugby for six months after being found guilty of assaulting a match official.

A Welsh Rugby Union disciplinary committee handed Montgomery a two-year ban after he pushed touch judge Peter Rees to the ground in a Welsh Premiership match, but 18 months of it has been suspended.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Montgomery said: "People may view this sentence as lenient.

"But given the material financial loss I am likely to suffer, as well as the fact that my World Cup aspirations are almost certainly over, I feel that I have been dealt with harshly but fairly.

I realise there is no excuse for such behaviour
Percy Montgomery

"Whilst there were mitigating circumstances that caused me to act as I did, I realise there is no excuse for such behaviour and I would like to apologise to the official in question."

Montgomery, who could have been a shock inclusion in the South Africa side for the World Cup, will miss the competition, which starts in Australia in October.

But the 50-times capped Springbok will now concentrate on playing for the new Gwent regional side.

"I'd love to stay at Newport and with Welsh rugby. I came here to start something, and I want to finish it. I've committed myself here and I don't see myself going anywhere else.

"I've got a great passion for the game. I just want to try to play rugby, get on the field and express myself. I think I've still got a bit of rugby left in me."

Montgomery has also been fined 15,000 for the incident, which happened during Newport's match against Swansea at St Helens on 13 May.

Montgomery had a personal hearing before the WRU disciplinary committee in Cardiff on Tuesday.

He was dismissed by referee Nigel Owens under laws governing acts contrary to good sportsmanship.

Montgomery has decided not to appeal against his sentence.

Under International Rugby Board rules Montgomery could have been banned for life.




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