Newcastle Falcons winger Mateo Carreras is ‘really upset’ and ‘very apologetic’ for the eye-contact incident that earned him a lengthy ban.
That is the view of his director of rugby Dean Richards who spoke publicly about the incident for the first time since the Argentinian received his punishment for his actions against Wasps in round 14.
Carreras made contact with one of Wasps winger Josh Bassett’s eyes in the first half at Kingston Park. Despite television cameras capturing the moment, the 21-year-old escaped punishment on the night.
At half-time, BT Sport pundit Austin Healey, a former teammate of Richards at Tigers, labelled it ‘naughty’, ‘cheeky’ and shared his view that Carreras would receive a ‘long ban’.
Independent citing commissioner Chris Sharp cited Carreras, who accepted a charge of intentional contact with the eye(s) during Wednesday evening’s online disciplinary hearing. The entry point was an 18-week ban but the panel applied 50 percent mitigation to reduce the suspension to nine weeks.
Richards stressed he hadn’t seen the incident in the immediate aftermath of Wasps’ 20-18 victory, but did address the matter following Newcastle’s 26-12 defeat to Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
“I’ve spoke a lot to Mateo,” said Richards. “He’s bitterly disappointed because it was never his intention to do that, although the act was deemed deliberate, as in he admitted to it being deliberate. It was an on-the-spur of the moment thing, he is very disappointed by his actions.
“There was no intention to hurt anybody. He said he wanted to annoy the guy on the floor, which was Bassett, and that was it. Sadly, a finger caught an eye and big deals have been made of it by Austin Healey, but I’ve seen Austin do a lot worse than that in the past.
“Mateo is really upset by it and very apologetic.”