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Coach jailed for 'disgraceful' attack on linesman
ESPN Staff
March 12, 2014

The coach of a junior Welsh rugby team attacked a linesman during a bad-tempered tour game, repeatedly punching the official in front of parents and children.

An Exeter court was told that Gerwyn Phillips, the coach of Mountain Ash Under-14s, got into an argument with linesman Barry Mitchell, who was a parent of a Barnstaple player, after he was accused of unsportsmanlike behaviour and of encouraging his players, which included his son, to behave badly.

The game had already been stopped because of a fight in the first-half and after the interval Phillips and Mitchell started their argument. The referee told the pair to stop but the court heard Phillips told the linesman "do you want some of this" and punched him in the face.

Mitchell fell to the ground at which point Phillips jumped on him and hit him several more times. Mitchell was left bleeding from a head wound which needed treatment in hospital. He also suffered a black eye, bruised nose and swollen lip.

Phillips initially told police Mitchell had "chest-banged him" but later admitted "haze and a frenzy" and that he had been "overcome with anger".

Judge Jeremy Griggs jailed Phillips for six months, suspended for 18 months, ordered him to go on an anger management course, gave him a four-month night-time curfew, 12 months' supervision and ordered him to pay £1,500 compensation to Mitchell.

"This was a disgraceful incident," the judge said. "You should have been providing an example to the young people who were responsible for. There is absolutely no excuse."

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