Cardiff Blues prop Anton Peikrishvili was banned for six weeks on Tuesday after admitting to biting an opponent during the Anglo-Welsh Cup pool game against Ospreys in November. The tighthead pleaded guilty to the offence which took place in the 54th minute of the match.
It was the Georgian international’s first start in a Cardiff jersey having come off the bench in Exeter the week before, a few days after signing until the end of the season following the releasing of Salesi Ma’afu to Gloucester. Peikrishvili was a free agent having been let go by Ulster after getting injured during a three-month contract.
It is a particularly lenient punishment from the joint WRU/RFU panel who oversee disciplinary issues related to the Anglo-Welsh Cup. The judgement has not been released at the time, but I can only imagine the six weeks has been arrived at after a low-scale offence was decreased thanks to a previously clean record, I cannot friend any previous discrepancies aside from a few yellow cards, and an early guilty plea while showing remorse.
In my humble opinion that should count for little when the incident is a bite. For me it’s second only to eye gouging in terms of infringements in the sense of it’s petulance and what damage can be caused, we all remember Mike Tyson chewing off an ear of course. I don’t think any complaints could be made if Peikrishvili had received a six month ban to be honest.
Rugby though has an issue with handing out long bans. We’ve seen Zebre hooker Oliviero Fabiani and more notably Saracens winger Chris Ashton banned for biting as well this season, with the Italian getting nine weeks and the England winger getting just 13 weeks despite his lengthy disciplinary past.
So only Chris Ashton received over the minimum tariff for biting, which incidentally is 12 weeks, and that only a week more despite having previously been banned for what I class as the worst offence, eye gouging. Yet each time an incident like this takes place there is outroar from around the world of rugby demanding these offences be stamped out via serious punishments.
How can these embarrassing and sport-tarnishing incidents be rid from our game if the powers that be are not going to properly punish the offenders? In this instance I’m calling on Cardiff Blues, as a club, to take a stance.
As a fan I wouldn’t want to support Peikrishvili anymore. Not only did he let the fans down when he got sent-off against Ospreys, but he also let his team-mates down as that red card changed the game, and now of course he will be out until early January, right through the busy festive period when we most need to use our squad depth.
The Cardiff Blues are a proud club, great history through Cardiff RFC and a worldwide reputation. That being damaged by a player committing a quite frankly cowardly act shouldn’t be tolerated and I am calling for the senior management to seriously consider sacking the player.
Yes it would be a loss, because Peikrishvili was actually looking quite a good player before the biting, but I’d like to think of Cardiff Blues as a progressive club and one that could really set an example for the world of rugby. Biting should have absolutely no place in the game.