In a recent article, Wales Online writer Mark Orders described Gloucester hooker Richard Hibbard as “fearless, combative and with zero regard for his own personal safety”.
It was a fitting description of one of rugby’s true warriors.
Given his well-earned reputation for toughness, it came as a big surprise today when the former Wales international was accused of simulation during Gloucester’s European Challenge Cup semi-final against La Rochelle at the French side’s home ground, the Stade Marcel Deflandre.
After he hit the ground following an incident involving La Rochelle number 8 Jone Quvo Nailiko, Hibbard was scolded by referee Andrew Brace, who told him he was in the wrong sport for “play-acting”.
Mr. Brace’s assessment of the incident was in fact very wrong, as the video below proves. Hibbard was actually drilled and decked by a huge punch to the body, or perhaps an even more sensitive area.
— # (@INSIDERUGBY15) April 22, 2017
That Hibbard was wrongly accused of simulation has really angered rugby fans.
— Andrew Baldock (@balders2) April 22, 2017
— Bryan Mason (@77BLM) April 22, 2017
Richard Hibbard isn't the type of bloke to throw himself on the floor, for nothing.
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) April 22, 2017
— Greg Cameron (@GregCameron6) April 22, 2017
— Louise hibbard (@hibbard_louise) April 22, 2017
Hope Andrew Brace is going to apologise to Richard Hibbard for accusing him of diving when in fact he been punched in the privates! https://t.co/TgUVXQAX1Q
— Stephen Bond (@bondstephenw) April 22, 2017
@hibbard_louise @INSIDERUGBY15 @richardhibbard2 @btsportrugby @RugbyInsideLine @gloucesterrugby A ban for 4…and maybe a sheepish apology from Sir to @richardhibbard2 who, of course, will accept it with good grace!
— Simon (@AncientKeeper) April 22, 2017
— Ali Carberry (@AliCarberry74) April 22, 2017
Though Hibbard might still be feeling a little sore this evening, he will take comfort in the fact that Gloucester scored a famous 14-16 victory to qualify for the Challenge Cup final.