Bruce Pope

Citing spoiling the exciting? (53)

Cardiff - Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way endorsing bad tackles or foul play - I wince and utter the occasional expletive along with the rest of the watching world when something nasty happens during a rugby match.

But I'm thinking that the citing commissioners and disciplinary panels at this Rugby World Cup are coming down too harshly on players.

South Africa flanker Schalk Burger was pinged for a dangerous tackle on Samoa scrum-half Junior Polu, initially receiving a four-match ban that was reduced to two games on appeal.

Samoa centre Alfie Vaeluaga got a one-game ban from the same match, Phil Vickery two matches for a trip, Paul Emerick five for a spear tackle, and Portugal's Juan Severino Somoza four weeks for use of the head.

You suspect a more draconian approach is being employed when some of the players themselves are grumbling, with New Zealand back-row Jerry Collins one to voice his unease.

Speaking about that South Africa v Samoa match, Collins said: "In that game you could have cited 10 people. It is just the luck of the draw who gets picked up and who doesn't.

"It is like having someone looking over your shoulder. You have it in the back of your mind, but the game is brutal and these things happen.

"Sometimes you get cited for things you wouldn't normally get cited for, it's just luck really."

While the official panel has made its decisions, judging by the reaction on 606 and other forums, the people's court is split as to whether the offences were deliberate, cynical or not.

But what worries me is the severity of the bans being handed out for some incidents of foul play.

If this continues we could end up with a tournament stripped of many of its leading lights by the knock-out stages.

Not that I'm suggesting being a star player should make anyone exempt from punishment, merely that the punishment should fit the crime.

I appreciate that the IRB is trying to put the safety of players first, but it seems that many of these incidents are no more fierce - or more common - than what is seen week-in, week-out during the rest of the season.

High challenges can come in a variety of forms

Generally the perpetrators are punished by 10 minutes in the sin-bin, occasionally a red card and one-match ban, with only the very bad getting harsher sentences.

Spear tackles, the offence Emerick was found guilty of committing, and dangerous use of the boot or head deserve to be harshly treated.

But I think there should be a distinction between these - which require the offending player to make several separate actions, or deliberately set out to hurt an opponent - and instinctively throwing out an arm to stop a runner.

Also there must be consistency in the citings; if Vaeluaga's actions were worthy of punishment then why wasn't Brian Lima for his tackle on Andre Pretorius?

"The Chiropractor", appearing in his fifth World Cup, may have come off worse from the encounter, but that should not have had a bearing on an incident that looked at least as bad as the one involving Vaeluaga.

On Sunday, Tonga flanker Hale T Pole became the first player to be sent off at a World Cup since 1999, when Jonathan Kaplan gave him his marching orders for striking a Samoan opponent, and it will be interesting to see what length of ban he will incur.

Also in the wait-and-see stakes is what citings will follow in the aftermath of that match - a 19-15 win for Tonga - and the similarly physical encounter between Wales and Australia that took place on Saturday.

Harsh or fair, what are your thoughts on the disciplinary proceedings being used in this World Cup?

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Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:14 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Langer wrote:

England won the 2003 World Cup because they were the best at playing old fashioned rugby. The Southern hemisphere had been developing, but hadn't yet refined, the modern, all round game that they play now. As far back as the 1999 World Cup New Zealand coaches were recognizing the need to move the ball away as quickly as possible from the contact area and distribute it to runners moving at speed. They recognised that, in order to do so, they needed to clear the contact area of opposition players, not saunter up, lean on, and expect to win quick ball. In open play both the backs and forwards had to recognise proper angles of running rather than pass out to the wings, come into contact, and, provided that they retained the ball, ship it back to the opposite wing. England have not wasted four years of construction, they have wasted eight and it will take that long to catch up (unless the Southern Hemisphere teams find other developments to secure their superiority).

  • 2.
  • At 10:16 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Someone wrote:

There will be a few citings from the wales australia game but for serious foul play which led to 2 australians being sin binned. Mitchel and Sharpe should both recieve greater punishment for their sin binnings and Sharpe was lucky not to give away a penalty try.

  • 3.
  • At 10:21 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Someone wrote:

There will be a few citings from the wales australia game but for serious foul play which led to 2 australians being sin binned. Mitchel and Sharpe should both recieve greater punishment for their sin binnings and Sharpe was lucky not to give away a penalty try.

  • 4.
  • At 10:31 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Yep... a penalty try. Wales were DEFINITELY going to score.

At least you're not biased.

I assume you agree that Thomas should be cited too?

  • 5.
  • At 10:58 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

I saw several tackles by the Aussies that did not get punished, i hope the citings will get them.

As for New Zealand, several times the collapsed mauls and tried to lift a players legs up during a maul, very dangerous.

Lets not forget Auss and NZ seem to get away with too much, remember the BOD tackle that dislocated his shoulder, was not deemed to be a dangerous by the citing (just because they are NZ).

But it can get a bit crazy, football have far more reasonable lengths of bans for punches and dangerous. To ban a player for 10 weeks for a punch is crazy (you have to understand the pressure of the sport). No wonder the Guinness Prem has so many players out .

  • 6.
  • At 11:09 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Rich Pierce wrote:

I think you're missing the point about the penalty try - it was a cynical foul. I think it should have resulted in a penalty try, and I think the refs leave giving out cards until too late in the game. Being sent off in the last 10 for persistent killing of the ball when the game is already won is no use to anyone. More sin binnings required early on in games at 1st offences - the benefit of the doubt and warnings is killing the attacking teams. The citing panel should step back a little, although the main article above is hinting at Vickery doing nothing wrong in "instinctively sticking out an arm" ... or leg is he going to say? Its still foul play and he deserved a longer ban!!

I saw one instance in the game of something I'd thought we'd seen the of, when the Aussie hooker came in with an elbow after a tackle had been made on Shane Williams.

I think the citing needs to take account of the apparent intentions of the player.

From that game I'd say Thomas should've been yellow carded for foul play. Latham too, it wasn't as bad as Thomas's but gained more of an unfair advantage.

  • 8.
  • At 11:13 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Patrick Moylan wrote:

Mike Langer (1) has it spot on. NZ and southern hemisphere have mastered a different way of playing. It renders the home unions pedestrian pace everywhere, and especially at the contact area ,useless. England haven't moved on from the robotic Richards and Ben Clarke fifteen years ago. Sydney final was merely a point where two styles of play passed each other and going in different directions. Ours down.
It'll take another fifteen to coach this into our next generation of players. Most of us saw this coming,except the people who are supposed to run the game - including Rob Andrew who as a player stood out not because he was any good but because that what England were good at " standing still " as in rock stolid.
The game has moved on - England haven't or can't trapped by people running it who couldn't run a sweet shop.

  • 9.
  • At 11:26 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

The concentration on a very few citing cases seems very strange when the referees and touch judges seem to completely ignore the endemic forward passes in this tournament.

Although being cited may see that player miss games, passing forwards seems the way that most teams are actually winning the games.

If the officials don't stop this, eventually the TMO will be asked to review every phase of play. Of course this would allow for TV adverts whilst the review take places and...hang on I'll have a fiver on the USA winning the next Rugby World Cup!

  • 10.
  • At 11:27 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • CaponeOldBoy wrote:

What is it about Gavin Henson that the Welsh selectors don't like? To suggest he is out of condition sounds like an excuse to me!

  • 11.
  • At 11:39 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Huw wrote:

Emerick had a 5 match ban for a spear tackle on Olly Barkley, will Drew Mitchell receive a similar ban for his tackle on Matthew Rees?

If we are to have citings at all they must be consistent. A yellow card was received by both players for exactly the same offence. So surely the ban must be the same, otherwise it makes a mockery of the whole process.

  • 12.
  • At 11:39 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • James Brickell wrote:

I completely agree with Mike Langer and Patrick Moylan.

I would add that - whilst it has long been recieved wisdom that England have more players to chose from, none of them seem to be fit due, no doubt to the volume of rugby they are playing. When it comes to international selection we end up with the best XV in the positions who aren't injured...not the best XV.

Easter and Corry - for all their faults, really are the last men standing.

Winning the world cup was not a good thing for our long term developement. It made everyone assume that all was well...when it clearly wasn't.

  • 13.
  • At 11:49 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Evilelks wrote:

Please can someone tell me why 'Alfie' has not been cited for the agressive and dangerous late tackle on Berrick Barnes. I and many others were absolutely appalled at Thomas' reaction - standing over Barnes like a demented bully.

  • 14.
  • At 11:53 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • front row wrote:

I think some of the commentators and the author of this blog need to read the IRB laws and regulations before commentating.

Just to be perfectly clear: the citing process is used only for foul and dangerous play. Giving away penalties to spoil the opposition move is punishable by yellow and Sharpe got it fair and square. Of course 2 yellows for penalty offences means red but again because there is no dangerous or foul play involved there is nothing to cite. I doubt if a player has ever received 2 yellows (and thus red) in an official international match beforehand, but might be wrong.....

If more players are being cited then it means that the IRB is clamping down. This is their showpiece tournament and they're doing their utmost to offer the world a clean, fair and balanced tournament.

All the citings thus far have been for dangerous play (apart from Vickery's which I thought was more reckless, not dangerous but that's a closed book now). Thomas' hit on Barnes was the ultimate cheap shot and I won't be surprised to see him with a 5 week ban, effectively ending his career. Good riddance to you if you're going to indulge in such thuggery say I.

As for Jerry Collins bemoaning the situation, he being the specialist in the shoulder-hit without arms I can't help thinking that the pot is calling the kettle black.

Perhaps a lot of commentators here don't play any rugby themselves and thus "talk is cheap" ?

  • 15.
  • At 12:14 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Steohen Rose wrote:

The crux of the problem is 'space'.
Southern hemisphere super 14 top class rugby is played on full sized pitches. Short grassed wide open spaces. The Guiness premiership is mostly played on small and cramped grounds designed for Association football. 'Spreading the ball wide' in the English professional game is nigh on impossible as there is no space in which elusive runners can work to avoid and negate the pace and power of modern defences.

  • 16.
  • At 12:26 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Cynic wrote:

I welcome the citings for dangerous play; trips, spear and high tackles, punches to the head - all can, and do, cripple players for life. But for other foul play? Come on, Neil Back would have rarely set foot on a pitch.

  • 17.
  • At 12:35 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

If a ref see's an offence and deals with it he should decide the punishment if he sends sopmeone off which he feels was serious enough for a further ban let him say so in his match report. If he feels a yellow card is sufficient the player should not then be banned. If the ref misses an incident of dangerous play altogether then fine, cite the player but i emphasise the dangerous play aspect or otherwise it will turn to chaos.
Additionally after watching the ref in one of the games go to the video ref not for a try but to see if it a drop out or scrum it seems the refs may not as well be there they should take some responsibility after all.

  • 18.
  • At 12:39 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

I completely agree with this article. Citing is on the verge of spoiling the world cup. The citing officials are completely bias as to who gets cited and are totally incompetant when it comes to fitting the punishment to the crime.

If Burger & Vickery's excessive punishments are anything to go by we could & should expect at least another 6 or 7 players getting match bans out of the Tonga v Samoa and Wales v Aus games where again we saw some high tackles, spear tackles and shoulder charges. Welcome to the game of rugby.

If a seriously dangerous tackle is missed in a game then I think a 1 or 2 match suspension following a citing is sufficient. Less serious but illegal tackles should be dealt with by the ref in a game. A yellow card is a good enough deterant for any player to not purposely try to injure somebody. Lets get back to the game of rugby!!

  • 19.
  • At 12:46 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • CJP wrote:

Consistency by referees is all that everyone wants, and not the type of refs that like the sound of their own voice. I always believed that a good game was one where you didn't notice the ref.
As for fitness in UK it seems that all teams (rugby, soccer, cricket) suffer the same problems, except our injuries all seem to happen on the practice field! Answer? - don't practice so much - we don't get it right anyway.

The camera did not show the T Pole incident clearly, and there was a suspicion that the Samoa player milked it. Red cards are a rarity these days - will it be a lengthy ban on top of the card?

  • 21.
  • At 01:06 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • rugby loving mother wrote:

If, like me, you have a son who has had his neck broken playing rugby you would have little sympathy with those cited - especially for spear and high tackles.

A key problem is refereeing inconsistency. Although we all know that many of the northern hemisphere teams have not lived up to expectation (even when that was quite low already!) it does seem that certain southern hemisphere teams are invisible to the referee when they infringe.

  • 22.
  • At 01:23 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Deke wrote:

The Ozzies were flattered on Saturday, as usual, with leniant reffing (foul play, forward passes, etc.). The game was going well until the nastey and unpunished follow up on Shane Williams when he went to touch. Thomas reacted, but the woefull ref. didn't. As is the norm, the players took upon themselves to sort it, hence Thomas standing his ground and penalised in front of his own posts, with the disgraceful Mortlock follow up immediately after. If you drop your shoulder into a man and make no attempt to tackle, that's foul ,play and 10 minutes minimum in the bin. If he doesn't even have the ball that should be red.

The reffing seesm to be obsessed with technology instead of getting the simple things right.....ruins the contest.The folks from below the equator are just too good @ taking advantage of weak shortage of that here then.

  • 23.
  • At 01:28 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Geraint wrote:

We're at a tipping point as far as rugby in England is concerned. Are things going to continue as they are where the clubs are increasingly in control or are the RFU going to do something? If we continue with the status quo I can see the English rugby team going the same way as the country's football team. Getting through to the finals of tournaments but then doing nothing. You never know, but it might benefit the England rugby team in the longer term to lose to Samoa. Maybe then people will realise just how bad things really are. I’m using England as an example. The other rugby playing countries in the northern hemisphere are in a similar malaise.

  • 24.
  • At 01:31 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

Is it just me or does this article have half an eye on a couple of incidents in the Wales-Aus game?

In the case of both Gareth Thomas's late hit and the one on Kevin Morgan, the ref clearly saw both. In the first case he could clearly be heard saying it was a penalty and nothing more, but since Aus had scored..., the second was also just a penalty in his eyes.

Whether you agree with the ref's decision or not, surely citing should only occur if the ref has completely missed something. Otherwise you completely undermine the referees, by effectively being able to revise their original decision.

  • 25.
  • At 01:44 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • wippit wrote:

It doesn't say much for refereeing standards when an offence deemed to just merit a yellow card gets a five match ban. Also woill referees ever bother to penalise teams (mostly southern hemisphere) for lifting the legs of players in the ruck/maul - or does it need a broken neck first

  • 26.
  • At 02:54 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • jack wrote:

on the citing debate i believe that the refs are at an unfair position. they have 2 make a jugdement on the field at that moment in time and for any1 who plays the game will realise how differcult it is for them to do this correctly.
also i believe that the people who are doing the citings are making example of the players and are giving them longer punishments than deserved in some of the cases.
as for england the country has got some of the brightest youngersters in the game what i didnt understand from the england camp before the world cup was why they didnt not included some of these in the squad. and give people such as tait and vardell who have managed to turn games in the past a chance to preform on the international stage

  • 27.
  • At 03:06 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Cawthra wrote:

I have no problem with the citing panel being able to review decisions as they have the benefit of hindsight that the referee does not have. But the length of bans seem to be over the top.

I know that Emerick's spear tackle was bad but a five match ban is incredibly harsh. A five match ban in a World Cup is equivalent to a six month ban during the regular season. The RWC only comes along once every four years and for even the very best players often once in a career, to ban someone for 5 games means that his RWC career is over.

I thought that the referee had a generally good game in the Samoa Tonga game. The players seemed to listen to him and more importantly not take the law into their own hands which normally means that the ref is doing a good sympathetic job. Having said this I expect him to get castigated by his panel for not sin binning about six players. Whereas the ref who missed a blatant forward pass that led to a French score will go on happily.

  • 28.
  • At 03:23 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Hugh Parkes wrote:

It appears to me as though there is some form of unholy alliance between the Australian and New Zealand judicial officers to get as many of the other countries top players out of the tournament. The initian bans on Vickery, Burger and Emerick were totally unreasonable. These one eyed JO could spoil the whole game.

  • 29.
  • At 03:26 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

"England won the 2003 World Cup because they were the best at playing old fashioned rugby. The Southern hemisphere had been developing, but hadn't yet refined, the modern, all round game that they play now"

Now I've heard it all.
The gap has existed for decades. England's win in 2003 was by chance - nothing more. The very same team a few months later was mediocre at best.

  • 30.
  • At 03:35 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

"England won the 2003 World Cup because they were the best at playing old fashioned rugby. The Southern hemisphere had been developing, but hadn't yet refined, the modern, all round game that they play now"

Now I've heard it all.
The gap has existed for decades. England's win in 2003 was by chance - nothing more. The very same team a few months later was mediocre at best.

  • 31.
  • At 04:03 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Smart-alec wrote:

Replies to this blog seem to have veered wildly off the topic, starting with Mr Langer's very interesting but irrelevant posting at No.1.

I agree that citing for some of the less serious, reflex-action type trips and accidental high tackles seems to have gone too far at this WC. However, when will potentially crippling spear tackles start to be punished with the year-long (at least) ban that they deserve? Maybe the threat of such devastating (for a player's career) punishment will finally root out this appalling type of 'tackle' from the game, before someone is paralysed - or worse.

  • 32.
  • At 04:16 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Rick wrote:

"England's win in 2003 was by chance - nothing more."

England's build up to the 2003 WC took place over a 7 year period with Sir Clive. They developed into a major force in world rugby and peaked about 6 months before the world cup but managed to hold on and win.

To say they won by chance is a farce, they travlled to all 3 major southern hemisphere teams and beat them all in the build up

  • 33.
  • At 04:21 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Smart-alec wrote:

Ted - Post 27. I beg to differ. England's WC win in 2003 was very far from an act of chance. The team had beaten every other team in the world in the precdeing year, arrived at the WC as favourites, and - for once - lived up to all expectations.

You say the very same team a few months later was mediocre at best - WRONG - the very same team never played together again.

  • 34.
  • At 05:50 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • keith wrote:

Why on earth are welsh rugby still picking players the shape of Adam Jones. Can we have prop forwards who at least look like modern rugby players,not players from 1974.

He's even got fat man shorts, and a fat man waddle when he runs...

  • 35.
  • At 06:42 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Simon Raubenheimer wrote:

I have been watching rugby since the Springbok rebel tour to New Zealand in the early 80s, where bad reffing cost the Boks the series. For years now I have watched tri-nations and super rugby matches between SA, NZ and Aus, and wondered why nothing is done about what seems to be blatant cheating by refs. It just seems that NZ and Aus get away with murder year after year. I am not sure if the "unholy" alliance mentioned between NZ and Aus officials actually exists, but it looks pretty bad to me. It just seems that smaller teams, including SA always get the short end of the stick. Take NZ's captain ans supposed greatest rugby player in the world. If he were blown for all the offences Schalk Burger is blown for, he would spend most of his time on the sideline!!! I think consistency is all any rugby fan wants.

  • 36.
  • At 07:42 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Dave Hamer wrote:

Wales will never challenge for the WC this is mainly due the fact that the players are incapable of changing direction once the game is underway, the Captain seems unable to tell his players to change tack. If Dwain Peel stairs at the ball for much longer by the number 8's feet the ball will have rotted away, why does'nt the captain tell him to get a move on? How many times does kevin Morgan have to be told that kicking the ball directly to Latham is suicide, yet the captain does not say anything to him? I would advocate that players only get paid if they win, then we would see a difference, now they get paid whatever the result.
Wales will never change, Austrialia were an average side two years ago (Wales beat them) two years on bingo!

Wales have been on the longest learning curve in the world...20 years or more to learn how to play a simple basic game,stop trying to re-invent the wheel and play the basics well.

  • 37.
  • At 08:04 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

A rugby pitch is not exempt from the laws of the land. Provided that a game is legal, anything within the laws of that game will be legal. If a player is hurt through legal tackling or anything else legal that is an accident.

Picking someone up and dropping him on his head is not legal. Putting your arm out to hit someone on the neck to stop them running past you is not legal. Even punching someone is not legal, and being on a rugby pitch does not change this.

Before long someone who is illegally badly injured will take action in the courts, probably through the police. The perpetrator will hopefully go to prison.

If the Governing Body can show that it is really trying to stamp out dangerous play, then they will most likely be exempt from severe punishment.

If as is currently the case, the punishments for such behaviour are so mixed, and in many serious cases so lenient, it may be that the Governing Body, or even the referee will also face serious legal sanctions.

It is about time that a full time citing board was set up, which had the power to severely punish dangerous acts, to save most importantly the wellbeing of the players, but also the independence of the sport

  • 38.
  • At 12:54 AM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

I dont understand how drew mitchell hasn't been cited for his spear tackle on matthew rees, if emerick got 5 weeks then shouldn't mitchell?

  • 39.
  • At 04:27 AM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Tom(we got the world cup in our hands) wrote:

U WElsh people can talk alot. Why not play some proper rugby for a change? That goes to all the northern hemisphere sides

  • 40.
  • At 07:19 AM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

To assume that England's world cup win 2003 was anything others than circumstancial is delusional. England didnt win - the top 3 through it away.

  • 41.
  • At 07:43 AM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Bazza wrote:

Someone should cite the whole of the NZ team for being just too good.

However I have predicted since the last WC that South Africa would be the team to beat this time round and unluckily for NZ I think they are yet again going to meet their match - probably in the final this time!!

  • 42.
  • At 07:51 AM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Bazza wrote:

I personally think there should be a citing panel - It would be foolish to believe that the referee and linesmen can see every offense involving dangerous or cynical play -How did Mortlock stay on the pitch after his dangerous and cynical "eye for an eye tackle" on Jenkins (and I'm not welsh!)- why was Jenkins not sin binned earlier?

Currently the new breed of professional players are taking the rules to the very limit and I'm afraid it's time to pick up NZ for the frequent forward passes and dear old Richie being offside at just about every breakdown of play.

Tongue in cheek - Someone should cite the whole of the NZ team for being just too good.

However I have predicted since the last WC that South Africa would be the team to beat this time round and unluckily for NZ I think they are yet again going to meet their match -probably in the final this time - Sorry to you boys from the land of the long white cloud!!

  • 43.
  • At 10:42 AM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • mike wrote:

the difference, Jonny #38, is that emerick went through with his "spear tackle" on Barkley whereas Mitchell at least realised the situation and did not - he still deserved his 10 mins in the bin!. Am still mystified why Thomas not yet cited for the most cynical hit of the tournament (and there have been a few)- Barnes lucky to get up and walk away from it. it should at least end Thomas's RWC career - it could have been both of them.

  • 44.
  • At 12:04 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • David wrote:

If referees apply the laws of the game then citings would not be necessary.
I for one am tired of seeing yellows handed out for 'cynical' play (mainly correctly) but dangerous foul play go completely unpunished.

  • 45.
  • At 12:23 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • emeraldstar24 wrote:

bruce pope- vickery didnt just "trip"- he stuck out his foot and it looked like a kick and in any case could have caused serious injury to the other player. be realistic- vickery deserved his ban. my problem is the referees are softer on the "minnows" and they are getting away with alot- offsides, tackling wihout the ball, and stamping incidents. there should be no special treatment for anyone.

  • 46.
  • At 12:35 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Ieuan Johns wrote:

Spear Tackles, kicks and headbutts have no place in the game. Any player found guilty of such an offence should be sent home from the RWC in my opinion.

Other offences (such as the unsited Gareth Thomas hit on Barnes) should also carry match bans.

Rugby is a physical game, but there is a line between that and wilful violence, every player knows when they have stepped over it and should be punished accordingly. If the RWC does not deal with it they could easily end up with a paralising or death on their hands.

  • 47.
  • At 01:28 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

There is absolutely no place on the rugby field for the thug. Stiff-arm head-high tackles, spear tackles, late tackles, stomping, biting, gouging, punching must all be eradicated from this wonderful game, and if it means that TV technology has to be used to catch the behind-the-play offender, then so be it.
A straight red card, whether on-field or imposed by citation, should mean that the player spends the remainder of the season on the sideline. Introduce an orange card for the above offences (keep the yellow for the less dangerous infringements) so that two orange cards equal a red. Two red cards = out for life.

  • 48.
  • At 02:15 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • John Evans wrote:

From what I understand the time limit for citing on the Wales - Australia game has passed. Surprise, surprise, no citing for Thomas, Moore, Latham,or Mortlock. Nice to know that the IRB condones foul play.
Bans that have been made are very inconsistent and in many cases over the top. Maybe similar to the FIFA World Cup one game ban to a maximum of three should be applied.
The IRB would be better concentrating on improving the standard of refereeing, illegal cross checking, players going increasingly in front of the ball in the mauls (basically offside) and tackling a man without the ball on the perimeter of the maul.
The game looks more like American football as each new season begins.

  • 49.
  • At 03:51 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

22 Deke,
What game were you watching? Firstly, Thomas wasn't penalised even though he was the one who dropped his shoulder, with no attempt to tackle and hit barnes without the ball. By your own logic that's a red card. Secondly, Mortlocks tackle was completely legal, he at least made an attempt to get his arms around. Thirdly, Australia flattered? They won the game in the first half then took their collective foot off the pedal. They were playing at 3/4 in the second half at best. What about Shane williams knock on/try? If anything I would say that score flattered Wales.

  • 50.
  • At 04:17 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • tim wrote:

Ted, you must be from the southern hemisphere. get over yourself, its been 4 yrs, England won, world champs its in the records. Its 2007 should we not be wondering whether its going to be NZ or SA as world cup winners this year.

  • 51.
  • At 05:57 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Spoot wrote:

Reply to #37, #46 & #47

When a rugby player participates in a match, he or she consents to accept physical contact that in other contexts would constitute assault - tackles are the most obvious example. However, that principle applies only where the contact takes place within the laws of the game, so that kicking, punching, biting, gouging, butting, head-high tackles and shoulder charges in lieu of tackles are all outside the dispensation conferred by the laws of the game.

To date there have been only a handful of prosecutions (some of them private) for violent play. Perhaps what is needed is a reminder to some of the leading players that they are still subject to the law of whichever country they are playing in.

  • 52.
  • At 11:14 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • NP wrote:

I think there is an obligation for the authorities to take proper action to reduce dangerous play, partly to avoid really serious injury, partly to set an example for the amateur / local game and partly because injury management is becoming too large a factor in the competition - i.e. Japan field a second side against Australia because it becomes more important to protect the first team than to attempt to compete. I remember reading somewhere that most injuries happen in open play (not set pieces) so illegal tackles should be treated harshly.

I personally would like to see a clear division between foul / cyncial play, which would be punished by penalties, penalty yards, penalty tries, etc. applied as liberally as required and then dangerous play which would be punishable by yellows (or reds, if required). I appreciate the reasons for yellows for constant infringements, but somehow it seems to make an equivalence of the two very different kinds of wrong.

In terms of citing, it seems reasonable that there should be some post-match check for serious dangerous play ONLY, but surely it should be possible to have a panel that is neutral and expert enough to get it right first time, without all these ridiculous legal appeals. As others have said, one or two match bans seem appropriate. I think it would be reasonable to take the resulting injuries into account - after all, we punish reckless drivers a lot more if the pedestrian they hit is badly injured or killed, so the principle is the same.

  • 53.
  • At 12:56 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • emeraldstar24 wrote:

pete you can play agreeively and be as tough as you want but there is a big difference between a player being injured accidentally and on purpose! it's the fact that an injury inflcited on someone was done so deliberately rather than the actual injury. malicious intent has to be stamped out as that's not good for rugby. it's a contact sport true but seeingas injuries can happen alot anyway, why should malicious intent be excused because of the nature of rugby? sorry to sound like a "bleating" irish woman and not a "tough" aussie but examples like the spear tackle on brian o driscoll a few years ago should not be allowed to happen in rugby and if it was an australian or a nz player who was on the receiving end of that, there would be uproar and rightly so.

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