Cross Keys rugby player jailed for punching opponent after match

5:14am Friday 31st January 2014

A CROSS Keys rugby player has been jailed for a year after a punch he threw during a “huge” end-of-game brawl left a fellow player in need of 28 stitches.

Back row forward Rhys Peebles, 30, was sentenced for malicious wounding and inflicting grievous bodily harm at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday.

The incident took place on November 29 last year, during the dying minutes of the Principality Premiership away game against Cardiff RFC at Cardiff Arms Park.

Callum Lewis, from Merthyr, was left with a nasty cut below his eye and only returned to action last week, said a Cardiff RFC spokesman after the hearing.

In mitigation, Jonathan Wellington said Peebles, who was sent off for throwing the punch, had lashed out “in the heat of the moment”.

“There was a huge brawl and everything happened so quickly that, in his mind, he thought the other player was moving towards the brawl and he lashed out. Obviously that blow landed.”

Mr Lewis, 20, is said to have made a full recovery and is currently playing for Wales Under-20s.

But Peebles, of Pontywaun, was handed a 12-month custodial sentence on Tuesday and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.

He pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing on January 7.

Cross Keys won the game against Cardiff 38-10, to make it six straight competitive wins up to that point.

Peebles, said on the Cross Keys RFC website to be a carpenter, is listed as 6ft 2in tall and weighing 16-and-a-half stones.

He lists past clubs as Abercarn, but has played for Cross Keys since 2005.

His best season came in the 2011/12 campaign when he was on the winning side for 20 out of the 29 games he played, scoring 15 points.

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