Scarlets back-rower Sione Kalamafoni will likely receive a lengthy ban after referee Ben Whitehouse red carded him for punching Ross Moriarty in the Welsh United Rugby Championship (URC) derby against the Dragons on New Year’s Day.
Tongan international Kalamafoni was given his marching orders in the 32nd minute of the URC clash after a melee broke out between the two sides, while Dragons’ back-rower Moriarty spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for his involvement.
Kalamafoni sees red
Tensions are always high in derby matches, but things boiled over on Sunday after a bit of pushing and shoving quickly escalated to fists flying.
The initial scuffle kicked off after lock Sam Lousi tackled Dragons winger Ashton Hewitt into touch. The speedster wasn’t pleased with the second-rower, who held onto his jersey after taking him into touch. Two Scarlets players pulled him away from Lousi before Kalamafoni charged into the scuffle, grabbing Hewitt.
He was pulled away from the winger by Aaron Wainwright, and while grappling with him, Moriarty entered to break the pair up and pulled Kalamafoni by the scrum cap.
Once he had broken free of Moriarty’s grasp, Kalamafoni landed two punches before players from both sides swarmed in.
Shades of Hill v Swain with Kalamafoni and Moriarty. pic.twitter.com/n9ohEP2zu0
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) January 1, 2023
Despite copping the two punches, Moriarty was grinning, knowing what was about to come and proceeded to taunt the Scarlets number eight.
After consulting the TMO, referee Whitehouse told the players: “We’ve got players holding; you’ve (Kalamafoni) run in from nowhere and started it and made it a lot worse.
“You (Moriarty) have grabbed him by the skull cap and pulled him out. It’s a yellow card for you; off you go. You’ve (Kalamafoni) thrown a punch and landed, red card; off you go.”
Ymladd ar Barc y Scarlets ac mae Kalamoni yn gweld coch!
Kalamafoni sees red as Moriarty gets a yellow.
13 🔴 v 🐉 10
🔴 English Commentary #SCAvDRA | @scarlets_rugby pic.twitter.com/15CJQLNdIk
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Scarlets claim bragging rights
At the time of the red card, Scarlets were leading the match 13-10, and the Dragons quickly moved ahead as Lewis Jones crashed over from short range to edge in front.
The Dragons headed into the ahead 16-17. The home side produced a superb second-half display despite being a man down, with Halfpenny’s early penalty putting them back in the lead.
Dane Blacker and Johnny McNicholl crossed for further tries as the Scarlets kept Dragons scoreless in the final forty minutes, sealing the 33-17 win.