Bath Rugby 20-36 Stade Francais, Amlin Challenge Cup
Bath 'disappointed' by Fillol spitting incident
April 6, 2013
Peter Stringer tussles with Jerome Fillol © Getty Images
Bath coach Toby Booth condemned Stade Francais' Jerome Fillol after the scrum-half appeared to spit at Peter Stringer during the first-half of Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Recreation Ground.
Stade eventually prevailed 36-20 to book a place in the final four of the competition. But the talking point from the game will be the ugly first-half incident between the two scrum-halves.
The pair had already exchanged words once, but then clashed again before a 25th-minute scrum. Nothing untoward was seen by referee Nigel Owens and his assistants at the time, but replays of the incident have emerged showing Fillol spitting straight in Stringer's face. Speaking after the game, former Ireland scrum-half Stringer said: "Obviously it is a bit raw at the moment, but it happened on the pitch and there is no place in the game for it.
"That's as low as you can probably go. When you are on the end of something like that you are rattled by it, but try not to dwell on it. It's out of my hands now."
Bath first-team coach Booth said he had not seen the incident, but added: "Peter is pretty angry, I have not had time to speak with him but I would be pretty disappointed - as I am sure everyone would be - if that is proved to be true. There is no place for that at all."
The loss in all likelihood marks the end of Bath's hopes of silverware this year as they had no answer to Stade's ruthless attack. Waisea Vuidravuwalu scored two of Stade's four tries, and helped lay on the other two for full-back Hugo Bonneval, with fly-half Jules Plisson, Fillol and replacement Jerome Porical all contributing points through the boot.
Booth admitted his side had been second best by some distance. "It was very disappointing, it was a big game and a big occasion for us and it did not go as we would have liked," he said. "From a physicality point of view we were found wanting, and at the breakdown as they scored three tries off turnovers.
"We did not look after the ball well enough and that made it hard for us. The bottom line is we were not good enough. We were up for the contest but unfortunately for periods of time, particularly in the first half, we just weren't good enough."
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