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Telford player 'sorry' over racism

The lower-league rugby player banned for 18 weeks after being found guilty of racially abusing an opponent has apologised for his conduct to the player he targeted.

Telford Hornets centre Martin Rudd said he immediately regretted the comment, which was made "in the heat of the moment" in a Midlands Four West North match against Market Drayton on January 28.

Rudd, who has been banned from playing until June 2, said in a statement released on his behalf by the Rugby Football Union: "I am sorry for the embarrassment I have caused to the game I love, my club, and to my family and myself."

The statement continued: "I made a comment during the heat of the moment that I accept has no place on a rugby pitch and which I immediately was sorry for.

"I wish to apologise to the player I offended and to Market Drayton as a club for my conduct which fell below the standards expected of all rugby players.

"I accept that rugby is a sport for all. I am grateful to Telford RFC for the support they have given me throughout my career and hope that I can be given the chance to play again sometime in the future.

"I am determined to learn from my mistake, in the meantime I will accept my punishment and again apologise for my behaviour."

After the incident Market Drayton subsequently left the field, forcing the referee to abandon the match. Because they refused to play on, Market Drayton have been docked 20 league points after being found guilty of misconduct.

The Rugby Football Union's disciplinary panel ruled the match should be recorded as a 0-0 draw, with no match points awarded.

The penalty drops Market Drayton from 32 to 12 points, level with St Leonard's. There is then a 10-point gap to the league's bottom club Rugeley.

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