Toulon problems pile up as Bastareaud gets five-week ban

Paris (AFP) –


Toulon captain and French international battering-ram Mathieu Bastareaud was banned for five weeks on Wednesday for throwing a punch at an opponent in a Top 14 game.

The centre was sanctioned for his attack on Castres forward Christophe Samson at the end of Toulon's 28-27 win over the champions 10 days ago.

Bastareaud dived into a ruck as Castres turned over the ball and smashed an arm into Samson, who was on the ground. At some point in the chaos, the Toulon centre took a knee in the face.

He saw red while Samson was yellow-carded.

Three-time European champions Toulon have endured a chaotic start to the French season with just one win and three losses in their opening four Top 14 games.