Julien Dupuy, the Stade Francais scrum-half suspended for almost six months for gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris at Ravenhill 10 days ago, is to appeal against the severity of his punishment.
Lawyers acting for Dupuy will raise the motives of the judicial officer Judge Jeff Blackett, who openly admitted he was making “an example of the player for the wider benefit of the game”. This has infuriated the top brass at the goal-kicking half-back's club, who have plastered Blackett's comment all over their website.
Dupuy has received a good deal of support in his homeland, where individuals banned for offences committed in Heineken Cup rugby have more than once been permitted to continue playing in the domestic Top 14 championship, much to the IRB's disgust. Max Guazzini, the media magnate who gives Stade their financial muscle, described Blackett's judgement as “excessive”.
Dupuy's national coach, Marc Lievremont, also let his feelings be known: “I hope Julien's punishment is adjusted to something more reasonable,” said the former flanker, who as things stand has lost an important player for the Six Nations Championship,” he said.”