Racing coach Labit cops 15-week touchline ban

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Paris - Racing 92 coach Laurent Labit on Thursday received a 15-week touchline ban for openly criticising Montpellier president Mohed Altrad after a Top 14 match in April.

The disciplinary committee of the LNR, the body that oversees the two professional leagues in France, also fined Labit €1,500 for behaving in a manner that might damage rugby's "image, reputation or interests".

After watching his Racing team lose 54-3 to Montpellier, Labit accused Altrad of having "bought out" the federation and parts of the press.

Labit offered his apologies two days later for what he dubbed his "excessive" reaction which he put down to exasperation with his team's woeful performance.

Racing will have to pay a fine of €50,000 for their coach's outburst.

Montpellier were also sanctioned after fans unveiled banners hostile to Racing and the LNR, the disciplinary committee ruling that the club be fined €70,000.

The club will also have to play its opening match of next season at a stadium 75km away from its normal Altrad Stadium because the fine activated a suspended sanction dating back to early 2015. The club reacted immediately by launching an appeal.

In further disciplinary action, the LNR banned Clermont's South African lock Flip van der Merwe for seven weeks and his compatriot Jannie du Plessis, the Montpellier prop, for six weeks for dirty play in the season end's play-offs.

Van der Merwe was sent off in Clermont's semi-final with Racing after a high tackle on Teddy Thomas, while Du Plessis was sanctioned for striking Racing's South African-born flanker Bernard le Roux, an act he was also red carded for at the time.

Finally, La Rochelle centre Pierre Aguillon received a three-week ban for a tip tackle on Toulon's Australian back James O'Connor.

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