Rugby World Cup 2011: Warburton red right - ex-captain Robert Jones

Media playback is not supported on this device

Tackle not malicious - Warburton

Former Wales captain Robert Jones believes referee Alain Rolland was right to send off Sam Warburton in their 9-8 World Cup semi-final defeat by France in Auckland.

The Irish referee banished the flanker for a dangerous tackle on wing Vincent Clerc in the 18th minute.

Jones told BBC Radio 5 live: "The Sam Warburton decision was the right one."

But Jones says the game's rulers left Rolland with no option and should review their stance.

"I have probably never felt as emotional after a game, certainly since my playing days," said former British and Irish Lions scrum-half Jones.

"I feel for the players. I am just so gutted. It is incredible disappointment.

"As disappointing as it is for me as a Welshman, the Sam Warburton decision was the right one.

"Initially it looked fine, like a well-made tackle. But in slow motion you can see he has lifted Vincent Clerc and dropped him.

"If you go by the letter of the law, that is a red card.

"I think they [International Rugby Board] have to look at that law, and have to give the referee the opportunity to base his decision on the way the game is going and the players involved.

"It is all about the feel of the game and there has been inconsistency in the refereeing.

"But it is the semi-final of the World Cup and you have to abide by the laws. If you are a referee, you make those decisions on the directives the IRB have put in place.

"The way I feel, I think they need to change the law. Ultimately, if you read it, it is black and white.

"He had to make that decision. I think the referee should be given a little bit more control over what they see in front of them.

"If they think it isn't malicious and there is no real intent, I think in many ways it should just be a yellow card. But ultimately he has just gone by the book.

"With a player of Sam's quality, 20 minutes into the game, it shouldn't have happened but ultimately it is the right decision.

"There shouldn't be any controversy or argument. Sam Warburton will have to live with that.

"But he has had a magnificent tournament and has led Wales fantastically well.

"I think France probably played the right kind of game when Wales were down to 14 men, but I still think the best team lost.

"Wales showed in the last 20 minutes how good they are, how close they are as a group and their belief in what they are doing."

Warburton, 23, led Wales to the last four for the first time since the inaugural 1987 tournament and says he intended no malice in the challenge on Clerc.

But the sending-off means Warburton could miss the next game - the third-fourth play-off in Auckland on Friday.

Wales coach Warren Gatland was also left "gutted" by the sending off, believing the incident denied his side the chance to compete effectively.

Top Stories

Get Inspired Activity Finder

Run by the BBC and partners

Find ways to get active near you: