Gloucester Rugby: Nick Wood facing nine week ban for stamping
‘DEVASTATED’ Nick Wood faces at least a nine-week ban for stamping on Saracens flanker Jacques Burger’s head.
The 30-year-old prop was sent off after just two minutes of Gloucester’s 44-12 defeat at Allianz Park yesterday.
And now Gloucester and Wood will sweat on the length of his inevitable ban, with a disciplinary hearing likely to be held tomorrow.
Gloucester leaked five tries after Wood’s dismissal, never able to keep Saracens at bay a man down, despite leading 12-10 at half-time.
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With two defeats from two Premiership matches so far this term, Gloucester now host Northampton Saints at Kingsholm on Saturday (3.15pm kick-off).
Rugby director Nigel Davies remains confident Gloucester will start winning ‘sooner rather than later’ though, admitting Wood’s red card effectively determined yesterday’s outcome.
Distraught Wood was almost in tears as he apologised to his team-mates in the Allianz Park changing rooms immediately after defeat.
The Cirencester-raised front-rower apologies to Burger on the field, shaking the Saracens’ loose-forward’s hand.
Gloucester will hope his remorse, previous good character – only nine yellow cards in 232 club appearances – and Burger’s level-headed reaction will help reduce the length of his impending ban.
Kingsholm boss Davies explained: “Everyone knows Nick Wood, and he’s never done anything like that before. It’s not in his nature and that will have to be considered.
“We’ve got to look at whether it was deliberate or accidental, and all that will play a part.
“There’s no doubt it was a red card, and we have to wait and see what happens next.
“I don’t think it would have been deliberate, but we need to look at the video and the evidence, and sometimes that will tell its own story.
“Nick is a great guy, a great pro in the club and a big personality. He’s devastated, he’s apologised to the team. I feel for him but the fact is that did have a big effect on the game.
“It was up to him to make that apology, and that’s what he did. He spoke to all the players straight after the game in the changing rooms. “It’s difficult for Nick, he was in bits.
“I saw it on the big screen like everybody else, and it didn’t look great. He’s not a dirty player, he never has been. He’s a good technician and a good rugby player.
“The red card I think was fair. Nick’s apologised for what happened, and he’s been big enough to do that.
“He’s a good guy, everyone makes mistakes, and he’ll come back stronger.”
Frustrated to wind up with two defeats from two games so far this term, Davies battled to take heart from his side’s first Allianz Park clash.
But he found himself at least more impressed with the resolve in leaking five tries in round two, than losing out 22-16 to Sale on the season’s opening day at Kingsholm.
Davies continued: “In a bizarre way I’m a lot happier with how we went about our business with 14 players this week than we did with 15 last week.
“We were in the right frame of mind and the boys showed that, putting a lot of pressure on Saracens in the first half.
“But it was always going to be a big ask with 14 against a side of this calibre.
“It’s very difficult to judge our performance out there.
“There was a lot more about us, but it’s impossible to give an accurate reflection of where we are, given that match.
“The cumulative effect of having 14 players against a side of that quality eventually took its toll.
“You have no choice but to adapt your game, and that has a big effect.
“We’re not where we want to be after the first two games, but I’m confident that this team will start winning sooner rather than later.
“When we do we can start to build some momentum, but at the moment we’re in a tough place.”