Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Life ban for punching fan too harsh, says rugby player

Trevor Brennan punches an Ulster's fans during the European cup rugby union match Toulouse vs. Ulster , 21 January 2007
Trevor Brennan
Patrick Bamford

Former Irish rugby star Trevor Brennan has described his lifetime ban from the sport as “really harsh”.



Brennan, who has 13 caps for Ireland, was banned by rugby authorities three years ago after he repeatedly smashed Ulster fan Patrick Bamford in the face at a match between his French club team, Toulouse, and their Northern Ireland visitors in January 2007.

He claimed that the ban handed down to him was severe, and has spoken about how it forced him to think of his family's future.

“Of course I have regrets about what happened that day, I reacted without thinking of the consequences, but the ERC were really harsh to hand me down a lifetime ban,” said the 36-year-old.

“Luke Fitzgerald (the Leinster and Ireland player) nearly got his eye gouged out by Shalk Burger (of South Africa) while playing for the Lions team last — and that guy only got eight weeks.

“In Bath three or four players were caught taking drugs and you had the controversy with Leicester last year and bloodgate against Leinster and attempts at match fixing.

“Is drug-taking and match-fixing worse than jumping over a wall and giving a guy two or three digs, I don't think so,” he said.

“I believe I had two or three good years left and they took away my livelihood. I've three children and thankfully I had the bar in Toulouse to fall back on,” Brennan added.

The former player began life as a tour operator last week in Paris, after being forced to find a livelihood off the pitch.

Brennan was joined in the French capital on Saturday by 90 screaming Irish fans, as Ireland look to take the second step on the way to retaining their Grand Slam title.

He explained what he had in store for the fans on their trip which was the first tour for his new company Trevor Brennan Tours.

“I'm flying back to Ireland to meet a group of 90 fans that we are bringing to the match in Paris,” he said. “We've booked a great holiday in the centre of Paris, I stayed there both times Toulouse reached the Heineken Cup Final and it's fantastic.

“We're not going to have everyone going around in yellow jumpers and hats, we are going to recommend activities for everyone and they are free to come and go as they please,” he added.

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