View Full Version : 'That' Tackle Again

Simon Griffiths
26-10-05, 21:10
Just found this on a club message board (quoted from the Telegraph):

The International Rugby Board last night unequivocally condemned the spear tackle by Tana Umaga, the New Zealand captain, and Keven Mealamu that finished Brian O'Driscoll's Lions tour and have vowed to rid the game immediately of such dangerous incidents of foul play.

Having viewed the shocking amateur video footage taken from the stands at the Jade Stadium in Christchurch on June 28, the world's governing body insist they have deliberately brought it to the top of the agenda when the world's top international referees meet at a two-day convention next week.

"This footage wasn't available at the time and the IRB are unable to act retrospectively because the two sides had both signed a tour agreement whereby disciplinary matters had to be resolved within 12 hours of the match," IRB spokesman Greg Thomas said last night. "But we have subsequently been able to view the video and we are determined that such tackles are removed from the game. They're totally unacceptable and have absolutely no place in rugby."

The existence of the footage was revealed by The Daily Telegraph on Monday and it was shown repeatedly on Sky News yesterday. The film is taken from the reverse angle and completes the picture unavailable at the time from the Sky match-day cameras with the All Blacks pair slamming O'Driscoll downwards with the ball long gone, exactly as the Lions captain has always claimed and the All Blacks have repeatedly denied.

O'Driscoll, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and underwent surgery, has not played since the tour.

Dick Best, the former England and Lions coach, viewed it yesterday. "'It was a malicious and brutal tackle that got swept under the carpet and they got away with it to a certain extent,'' he said. ''It's a disgrace and shows conclusively that Brian O'Driscoll was cheated.

"They've lifted this player up and dropped him down on his shoulder. It's quite unbelievable and totally unnecessary because the ball was a considerable distance away from him at the time.

"When you're trying to promote the game to small children you don't need to be looking at this sort of thing."

O'Driscoll, who firmly believes it is the All Blacks who stand accused of spinning the incident and putting up a smokescreen to deflect criticism and prevent their captain being disciplined, described the incident thus in yesterday's serialisation of his tour diary: "This was really serious and dangerous.

"I felt extremely vulnerable: I had never been upended like that before in a rugby match. I could hear Gareth Thomas screaming to the touch judge Andrew Cole, who had stepped into the field. I could also hear Cole shouting: Leave him alone, put him down, put him down.

''They certainly did that, they dumped me from a great height. Was I speared? I think so. Slam dunked is probably the expression which sums it up best. Not that it makes much difference - even if they just dropped me they were reckless as to whether I broke my neck or not. I felt completely cheated."

The viewing of the new evidence comes 24 hours after New Zealand's coach, Graham Henry, seemingly in denial, yet again proclaimed Umaga and Mealamu were totally innocent.

"There was no intention of hurting anybody. It was just one of those things that happen in rugby," Henry said in Auckland on Monday. "Tana is a role model in New Zealand. He's a very special guy. I would be very disappointed if it was still hanging on."

Looks like the iRB are confirming what we've all pretty much agreed on elsewhere - spear tackling should be considered dangerous. At least the words 'unacceptable' and 'have no place in rugby' would certainly imply that! :p

27-10-05, 13:10

I posted this http://www.rugbyrefs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=590 yesterday, but I didn't get any response either!

Simon Griffiths
27-10-05, 13:10
You have now! From Will I believe.

27-10-05, 15:10
Obviously noone in their right mind would argue that that tackle was legal. And this new footage really doesn't show that much thats new, okay it confirms what we suspected. But surely the match comissioner on the day can do something about it, and whoever it was (Venter I think) should be ashamed of himself. It really was a disgusting tackle. I am glad the IRB are taking a tough stance on it and are being proactive about it, acknowledging they can't do much about the O'Driscoll incident but need to do more about the issue nowadays.

27-10-05, 15:10
"they can't do much about the O'Driscoll incident..."

why not ?

Bringing the game into disrepute ? Both the players concerned and the commissioner ...

makes my blood boil ......

28-10-05, 11:10
yesterday's Daily Telegraph had a wonderful piece ... extracts from BOD's recent book. Nobody seems to come out of this situation very well.
Umaga for never showing any remorse or apology.
Mealamu for, worse, laughing while Umaga was being interviewed.
Cole for shouting at the time for them to desist then doing nowt about it. Worse denying it happened and he didnt see it afterwards.
Henry for still denying it happened.
IRB for doing nowt about it.

we go on about no boots on bodies at our level but at the top level what do they do ?

28-10-05, 18:10
we go on about no boots on bodies at our level but at the top level what do they do ?

Perhaps they can learn something from us 'idiots' for a change; a little leadership from the bottom may encourage others as to how gentlemen play this game of ours.

29-10-05, 12:10
"they can't do much about the O'Driscoll incident..."

why not ?

Because all discipline relating to the Lions Tour had to be completed within a couple of days of each game. Yes, I know it sucks, but so do many things relating to disciplinary hearings in rugby. A certain Mr. White for example...

30-10-05, 01:10
12 hours FWIW AIUI


30-10-05, 11:10
Yes indeed, the Tour Agreement said 12 hours.

Unortunately nobody seems to have realised beforehand that because all kick-offs were in the evening, it could mean staying up all night.

30-10-05, 16:10
Shirley.... IRB are beyond a local small agreement, they are there to 'referee' the game...the whole game .......... and again shirley "bringing the game into disrepute" is beyond any agreements by 2 teams ?

there is a bigger wider picture here that should be addressed ... it aint about blacks v reds .... it's about rugby ...

makes my blood boil ....

30-10-05, 18:10
The only Shirley I know plays hooker for Romsey IIs; is this the same one I wonder?

Robert Burns
30-10-05, 20:10
We used to have a team called Shirley Wanderers in our area.

30-10-05, 20:10
and I used to play for them Robert!!!

They are now amalgated with Croydon RFC and play as Croydon at the SWRFC ground.

"Oh well I'm the type of guy who will never settle down
Where pretty girls are well, you know that I'm around
I kiss 'em and I love'em 'cause to me they're all the same
I hug 'em and I squeeze 'em they don't even know my name
Cos I'm a wanderer, a shirley wanderer
I roam around, around, around, around"


31-10-05, 04:10
On the O'Driscoll incident, to be honest, I would have said a one match suspension for Umaga and Mealamu would have been enough....Mealamu could not see that Umaga was on the other side and could not have known that he was going to lift him as well....when Umaga helped lift O'Driscoll, Mealamu had no control and ended up dumping him where he fell.

I really think there was no intent...O'Driscoll was making a pest of himself and contesting Mealamu at the ruck, and this was an unfortunate accident out of an unplanned event.

it is not in the nature of neither O'Driscoll nor Mealamu to do anything like this on purpose...they are both very good players and great blokes.

I am just wondering if all the presentations and publicity from the Lions management of this incident, months after it occured is little more than "tin plating their rear end", as anybody saying they were involved in the LIons campaign can hardly look forward to admiration!

Mike Whittaker
31-10-05, 07:10
A lot in what you say Will. I don't see how it could have been a joint willful action or if either NZL player could have fully appreciated what had actually happened at the time.
It has always been the tradition in rugby that we accept decisions made with the best intent at the time and then move on to judge people by what they do in the future.
All this raking over of the coals does no good to anyone or the game.
I have a horrible feeling that Umaga will be treated badly by the media hyped public when he comes over, and that will further tarnish the game.

Thanks media!! :mad:

DJ Jnr
31-10-05, 09:10
Yeah, i'm pretty dirty on this off the ball act of foul play.

Firstly the TJ was right there, and I believe that if it wasn't in the first couple of minutes..........it would've been flagged. So I'm dirty on him.

Secondly, it was reported, and the match commisioner said that the incident didn't warrant any further action!

The fact that the ball was nowhere near the incident, is the main issue. Then the fact that the player was driven into the ground.

DJ Jnr
31-10-05, 10:10
Marc Hinton
Good on yer Tana.
As the All Blacks skipper faced the British media for the first time since landing in Wales, he steadfastly refused to bow before a group clinging to the forlorn hope he would be reduced to some sort of whimpering apology and start begging for forgiveness.

Instead, Tana Umaga -- the finest of the current era of All Blacks -- kept his head high and his pride intact. The Brits and Irish may be fixated by the Brian O'Driscoll "accident" in Christchurch last June, but as far as Umaga is concerned it's ancient history.

O'Driscoll, as we now know, lasted barely 40 seconds of the opening test before being "cleaned out" by Umaga and Keven Mealamu at a ruck. The Lions skipper was upended, landed awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder. His tour was over. And the soap opera only about to begin.

The incident has been heightened by two timely occurences in the last week. First O'Driscoll has released his book which contains a prolonged whimpering wail about the injustice of it all. And a fan's video of the incident, that had been with the IRB for six weeks, was released to the media at almost the exact same instance. Coincidence? You be the judge.

It can only be hoped now Umaga has looked his accusers in the eye -- and believe me there are plenty of them over there who seem determined to make one incident bigger than an entire one-sided series -- and produced his response that we can actually get on with the rugby that's being played NOW.

It is probably a forlorn hope.

Anyway despite the fact Umaga had answered these same questions prior to leaving New Zealand shores, he faced them again on arrival in Wales. As his coach Graham Henry had done a day earlier.

Umaga's repsonse was equally as emphatic as his coach's, too. And equally as tinged with annoyance.

"I think nothing's really changed," Umaga told the media in Cardiff over his relationship with O'Driscoll, whatever that may be.

"We did talk at the time and I told him [O'Driscoll] there was definitely nothing intentional. Accidents happen in rugby. I can't comment on how he perceives things and wants things to be done. I go about my business and do what I do. We'd just like it to move on and it hasn't really."

Some sap wanted to know if he would apologise to O'Driscoll. Please.

Umaga's response: "It doesn't look like we'll be getting together at all. From what I've been hearing, he doesn't want to see me.

"We have chatted and, like I said, these things happen. How can you be sorry about things that happen in a game? I suppose I would say sorry to him now if that's all he wanted and I felt that would finish the issue, but I don't think it would. At this stage it's gone beyond that."

As apologies go, that's a fairly qualified one. But perhaps, after all the fuss, accusations that have flown and finger-pointing that has been done, it is Umaga who is due an apology.

Not if you come from Lions country, though. His accusers still wanted to know why, as captain, he hadn't rushed to O'Driscoll's aid as he was carted off the field.

"There was a bit of a lengthy break and I had to organise the next play," deadpanned the All Blacks skipper.

"My loyalty has always been the utmost for the team. Maybe things could have been done better. Again, it's too late now.

"Maybe I've learned something from it, that if people are injured I should go and see how they are. But I'm not a doctor, so I can't help them there. There's not much else I can do."

He can say that again.

31-10-05, 11:10
Here is a description of what happened that I put together to answer points in another forum:-

O'Driscoll tackles Leon Macdonald and goes to ground. He is on the Lions side of the tackle. Umaga and Howlett drive in, Howlett bundling Gareth Thomas out of the way. As O'Driscoll gets to his feet, Macdonald lays the ball back. A ruck forms when the ABs come into contact with O'Driscoll. No other Lion joins in. Howlett releases and steps away. Umaga drives right through and can be seen standing not bound on to anybody, well past the ball. His foot looks to be caught by Macdonald (it cannot be seen). Collins comes driving into O'Driscoll, and the ball can be seen on the ground, behind Umaga, and well out of O'Driscoll's reach. Mealamu then binds on to Collins. Woodcock comes up alongside the ruck and well past the back foot, but does not bind on. Marshall gets the ball and passes it. O'Driscoll can be seen on his feet watching while trying ineffectually to drive Collins back. At this point Umaga bends down to grab O'Driscoll's leg from behind. Andrew Cole steps into the field of play with his flag held out, handle first. Mealamu slips his binding and helps Umaga.

The latest tape also shows that Mealamu was trying to lift O'Driscoll's leg.

I doubt if they were working in concert, but I have no doubt that both were illegal.

Saying that O'Driscoll was "making a pest of himself " is tendentious. He was legitimately rucking (albeit very ineffectively).

The problems were:
(a) the actions were illegal but unpunished; and
(b) there was no expression of sympathy for the unfortunate outcome (Justin Marshall apart).

Rightly or wrongly, the impression is that the ABs are more concerned with (unconvincing) exoneration of their players than genuine regret at a serious injury.

09-11-05, 06:11
The latest tape also shows that Mealamu was trying to lift O'Driscoll's leg.

I doubt if they were working in concert, but I have no doubt that both were illegal..

+With the emphasys on clean out at the ruck these days, with bigger and stronger players, you will see players come in to clear out other players by dragging them down, or pushing the sideways or lifting one leg to brign them down and out of the area...the Lyons do this as well, no nuclear science here.

Saying that O'Driscoll was "making a pest of himself " is tendentious. He was legitimately rucking (albeit very ineffectively)..

+he was not rucking, he clearly had a back's idea on what to do at a ruck, he was pushing the first person in front of him to try to force Marshall to hurry the clearance out of the ruck, his body position was terrible, he was not bound to anybody, nor did he ever look like intending to bind.

The problems were:
(a) the actions were illegal but unpunished; .

+I dispute that...the outcome was tragic, but there was no intention.

(b) there was no expression of sympathy for the unfortunate outcome (Justin Marshall apart)..

+Expression of sympathy??? A bouquet of flowers as well??? what happens on the field stays on the field. Yes, it was unfortunate, but I cannot recall expressions of sympathy when Danny Grewcock broke Jeremy Paul's knee in a ruck in the Lyons tour of 2001, he came from the side, offside and Paul was out for 6 months. This is a physical sport after all.

Rightly or wrongly, the impression is that the ABs are more concerned with (unconvincing) exoneration of their players than genuine regret at a serious injury.
+Not really, they moved on, it is just that the Lyons seem to be far more adept at dreaming that had O'Driscoll not being injured, they would not have been humilliated in New Zealand.....and sadly, I think even if the Lyons played with 20 players on the pitch, the result would have been the same. When Oz hooker Brendan Cannon punched Mealamu on the face in a "Loe match a few years back, the two were yellow carded and went to the side...when they were there, they were happily chatting about their wives and their famillies...or when centre Frank Bunce got used as a punching bag by the Australian number 8 many years back, he got asked about the incident..his reply was "I got what I deserved, I had elbowed him in the face"...when George Smith broke Marshall's ribs due to a late tackle in the Semi Final in the last world Cup...Marshall was not happy about it, but he wished the Australians luck and said they were the better side on the night.....that is how the All Blacks are, the game is over, they move on. And good on them for that!