Catalan Dragons have sprung to the defence of prop Julian Bousquet following stinging criticism over the tackle that earned him a four-match ban.
The 21-year-old was sent off just three minutes into last Saturday's Super League win over Salford in Perpignan for a shoulder charge that knocked out City Reds' teenage scrum-half Theo Fages.
Salford head coach Phil Veivers accused Bousquet of a "cheap shot" and his assistant Sean Long revealed in a radio interview that Fages was unconscious for eight minutes and could be "scarred for life".
Bousquet, who was making only his fourth Super League appearance, was subsequently suspended for four games after pleading guilty to making a grade D dangerous tackle.
The Dragons have since lodged an appeal, which will be held next Tuesday, and today they broke their silence to publicly express their support for their player.
Catalan chief executive Christophe Jouffret said: "Comments from Super League players as well as past players and staff of the Salford club are discrediting the sportive (sic) spirit which should support the legal procedure and that is inappropriate.
"We are, of course, regretting the knockout sustained by Theo and I personally tried to get some news at the end of the match from Salford's coach Phil Veivers as well as phoning the father of Theo, Pascal Fages, later in the evening.
"Our role as a club is to defend our player, who, like Theo, is young and inexperienced at this level but his attitude with our reserve grade as well as with his junior club Lezignan has always been exemplary.
"Julian has been sanctioned over this incident resulting in a red card as well as a four-game ban.
"This penalty is very heavy for the young French front row when compared to recent similar incidents which did not incur a similar sanction.
"We have informed the Super League of our intention to appeal as we are sure that Julian's contact was not intentional and that the contact of his shoulder on Theo's head was not deliberate.
"Our technical staff is working on the details of the incident and is working closely with our solicitor.
"It is now time to leave the matter in the hands of the appropriate people without constantly adding inaccurate comments.
"We wish Theo a quick recovery. I have full confidence in the RFL's appeal process and I am sure the outcome will be consistent with previous findings."
Catalan chairman Bernard Guasch added: "It's important to mention that there was no serious injury.
"I want to express my support to our player after having watched the video of the game several times and also want to attest the honesty of Julian.
"This incident is the result of an unfortunate collision between a 123kg player and a 77kg player. There is no aggressive intention."