A RUGBY player has been banned for allegedly head-butting the president of a rival team during an on-pitch brawl.
Lynton Brinck was slapped with the 20-week ban after trouble flared at Penicuik RFC’s match against Forrester last month in the Scottish Rugby Union’s East Regional League Division One
The 32-year-old South African is said to have head-butted Euan McComiskie, president of Forrester RFC.
He suffered a burst lip in the ugly melee.
Police have confirmed they were investigating the incident, which caused the game to be called off 19 minutes early after it provoked a huge scuffle involving players, subs and staff.
Amateur player Mr Brinck said he didn’t intentionally head-butt anyone but did admit throwing a few punches during the melee.
Speaking from his family home in West Linton in the Borders, where he operates his own drain clearing company, he said: “I didn’t think I instigated it. But I don’t believe there’s a place for throwing punches on a rugby pitch – whether you are instigating or reacting.
“I threw punches, whether they landed or not.”
He said the trouble had started when he tussled with another player on the pitch, sparking furious shouts from Forrester’s president on the sidelines.
Brinck, who was only on his sixth game playing for Penicuik, said Mr McComiskie, 33, got “right up in his face” before a punch landed on him from behind, causing him to react with his own fists.
He was quickly surrounded by around ten Forrester players, subs and staff, and insists he later suffered a swollen temple and had difficulty swallowing for two days after being “choked”.
“I thought it was just a pretty bad match scuffle,” he added. “There were lots of people throwing punches and all the rest.
“The guys were quite friendly before the game but it was nothing like that during the match.
“I don’t believe I head-butted the guy. I would not have done it intentionally.
“Both sides are to blame, I believe.
“But no-one was seriously injured. As long as you shake hands at the end of the game, whatever happens on the pitch stays on the pitch.
“You shake hands at the end and go for a pint. I believe that’s what rugby should be about.
“I do feel bad. I don’t want everyone in the club to get a bad name because of what I did on the pitch, no matter what happened.”
Brinck, who was given an immediate red card, received a 20-week ban from Scottish Rugby bosses for head-butting.
Mr McComiskie declined to comment.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Midlothian are investigating and officers are following a positive line of inquiry.”