Friday, 30 March 2012
So says His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett, in handing Clark a 32 match ban after the Saints forward broke Rob Hawkins' elbow by hyper-extended the hooker’s arm in a ruck in the recent LV Cup Final against Leicester.
Apparently, despite yanking Hawkins’ arm back so violently that his elbow broke, Clark did not intend to cause injury – not the verdict of many people who witnessed the incident, it must be said.
Clark will, admittedly, miss the rest of the season and the England trip to South Africa but will be back playing in November, maybe even before Hawkins.
Here’s the thing. Last week some idiotic student was imprisoned after racially abusing Fabrice Muamba on Twitter while the Bolton footballer lay fighting for his life on the turf at White Hart Lane after suffering cardiac arrest. An odious, offensive and morally reprehensible act, yes – but imprisonable? Not, I’d suggest, where blatent acts of assault in the name of sport go relatively unpunished.