Brive indiscipline borders on insane

Date published: September 20 2014

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The Top 14 is only six weeks young, yet Brive have picked up nearly as many cards as Racing Métro did in the whole of last season.

The Top 14 is only six weeks young, yet Brive have picked up nearly as many cards as Racing Métro did in the whole of last season.

Brive now occupy 13th spot with two wins – surprisingly Castres (last season's finalists) are the only team beneath them – having accumulated 12 cards since the season began, one less than Racing picked up in 2013/2014.

When you've scored fewer tries (7) than the amount of cards you've managed to obtain, something is very wrong.

Going down to 14 men so early against Toulon was a recipe for disaster. So it proved to be, as Brive shipped 50 points at home in last night's big defeat to the Top 14 and European champions.

However they only trailed 8-3 before Peet Marais was shown a straight red card in the 25th minute.

11 yellow cards and one red in six matches. Add on the 55 minutes that Brive were without Marais on Friday and of their 480 minutes played this season so far, Brive have spent over a third of the campaign without a full compliment of players (175/480, 36.5%), although that doesn't allow for any crossovers.

The red card wasn't even questionable, given the way he unloaded punches and an elbow on prop Romain Taofifénua. Pascal Gauzère had little choice. It completely transformed the contest from a tight affair into a mismatch.

Perhaps their indiscipline shouldn't come as a surprise. Last season Brive received the joint-highest number of cards, 29 yellows and three reds, to finish with 32.

That total looks excessively high, but at the rate they're going Brive will comfortably surpass that by March next year.

The card count matters in terms of a possible relegation battle. Last year Brive were practically indomitable at home, losing all but once (to Biarritz of all sides) and defeating everyone else who entered the Stade Amédée-Domenech.

As last night proved, creating a fortress and producing surprising wins over teams like Toulon and Clermont are difficult anyway, let alone nigh on impossible when reduced to 14 for so long.

Conceding four yellow cards in a single game against teams like Bayonne and Lyon as well will make a relegation battle an extremely worrying reality.

Brive have to fix their lack of composure and excessive aggression at the breakdown quickly, or their fate will be sealed.

by Ben Coles

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