Tom Youngs confronts referee Ian Tempest after the final whistle


Leicester Tigers have dropped their captain Tom Youngs for the final Premiership match of the season against Wasps after he was charged with disrespecting the authority of referee Ian Tempest following his club’s controversial loss to Bristol Bears last weekend.

In footage that was circulated last week, Youngs appeared to confront Tempest and call him “f—— not strong enough” for his failure to award a penalty try to Tigers during the series of scrums on Bristol’s five-metre line.

Although Bears’ offences eventually brought a yellow card for tighthead prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, John Afoa then made a contentious return to the field and 14-man Bristol held on to win.

“You’re f—— not strong enough to [give] a penalty try,” Youngs was heard to say to Tempest seconds after the final whistle sounded on the hosts’ 26-23 defeat at Welford Road. 

When asked by the official which of Bristol’s infringements should have brought a penalty try, Leicester’s skipper appeared to reply: “On all of them. You f—– know it”.

On Friday morning, the Rugby Football Union confirmed the charge and outlined that Youngs will appear before an online independent disciplinary panel next Thursday. Seemingly in a bid to alleviate any further punishment, Leicester have subsequently removed him from their squad to face Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

“Youngs is charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12,” read the RFU’s statement.

“This charge is for disrespecting the authority of the match official (contrary to World Rugby Law 9.28) following Leicester Tigers vs Bristol Bears on Saturday 5 June 2021. The incident occurred after the full-time whistle.”

According to the RFU’s sanction recommendations, disrespecting the authority of a match official carries a low-end entry point of a two-week suspension with a mid-range entry point of four weeks.

This is unlikely to be the last of the fall-out from an ugly incident and the RFU have confirmed that they are still gathering information about it, including Bristol’s part in proceedings.