Former England rugby international Billy Twelvetrees sparked unsavoury scenes as a mass brawl broke out in Sale’s Premiership victory over Gloucester on Saturday.
Twelvetrees, who earned the last of 22 caps for his country in 2015, shoved a water carrier in his desperation to get the ball back in the dying minutes of the match at Kingsholm.
His eagerness to make a quick restart with time running out did not go down well with the opposition, as Sale’s England flanker Tom Curry reacted by shoving Twelvetrees to the ground.
Billy Twelvetrees (circled) sparked a mass brawl by shoving a water carrier on Saturday
The former England rugby international was desperate to get the ball back in play late on
Twelvetrees’ shove sparked a chaotic mass brawl on the side of the pitch late in the game
Players from both sides came to blows in the dying stages of the game at Kingsholm
Both sides became embroiled in a melee on the touchline with wing Marland Yarde deep in the midst of it.
Referee Karl Dickson showed Twelvetrees a yellow card as Sharks held out for a victory which looked beyond them until they took the lead for the first time with just two minutes remaining.
Lock Josh Beaumont charged over and managed to ground the ball leaving Gloucester slumped at the bottom of the table with just one win in five games. It was Sale’s first win under caretaker Paul Deacon who took over from Steve Diamond a month ago.
Sale boss Deacon tried to deflect away from the incident after the game, saying: ‘Emotions boil over, and I think a lot of people make it a bigger issue than it actually is.
‘Emotions run over then, but I don’t think there was anything untoward, really. It just didn’t look great.’
Twelvetrees was shown a yellow card and sent to the sin bin for his part in the melee
Gloucester were left bottom of the Premiership after a late try by Sale two minutes from time
Gloucester’s latest Premiership defeat came after they had led 16-6 just before half-time and looked well set.
‘If I am honest, I thought the boys played pretty well and executed well on the plan,’ Gloucester head coach George Skivington said.
‘With 10 minutes to go we were in a good spot.
‘I thought there was a really poor decision at scrum time. Our front-row came on and drove straight through Sale.
‘It was given the other way, so I will be very interested to hear the context of that because it was a big swing in the game.
‘It is what it is, you can’t do anything about it. It’s just a poor decision.’
Val Rapava-Ruskin runs into Sale’s Josh Beaumont (L) who went on to score game-winning try