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  • Another Spear Tackle - Another Red Card

    When will players learn?

    For some referees Alain Rolland has done more to promote the un-acceptance of the tip/spear tackle within our game than what the iRB has managed to do in 4 years of memo writing.

    In this weeks Heineken Cup match between Cardiff & London Irish Inside Centre Steven Shingler received a red card from French Referee Jerome Garces for his tip/spear tackle on Dafydd Hewitt.



    Lets go through the checklist that Ian Cook produced in his article The Dynamics of a Tip-Tackle and see if it was right:


    The tackler:
    • Comes to a stop? Yes
    • Grasps the ball carrier below the hips? Yes
    • Lifts him straight upwards? Yes
    • Turns him upside-down? Yes
    • Lets him go or drives him to the ground? Yes


    Well it's fairly clear after Warburton's now infamous red card that this tackle is not acceptable in our game, and so yes, the red card was the right call, well done Jerome Garces.

    It's nice to see that commentators are starting to understand that this is a red card, but I still find it amazing that they are actually trying to justify why it shouldn't be, even when admitting this is one of the worst tackles they have seen.

    Players & coaches need to understand that this type of tackle is going to lose you a player not just for 10 minutes, should they get away with receiving a yellow card, but for a few weeks after they will certainly be cited and suspended.

    Can coaches really afford to lose first choice players in key game? Once again the actions of the player can be directly attributed to the teams loss.

    I have no doubt we will see a few more red cards for this type of tackle this season, and I hope the referees stay consistently harsh on them to ensure that it becomes a thing of the past.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. Ian_Cook's Avatar
      Ian_Cook -
      JG gets the big tick from me. Its straight red, no argument.

      The words of an old Pete Seeger song drift through the air as I type this.......

      PS: Will there be a "sad4steve" poster joining us soon?
    1. Ricardowensleydale's Avatar
      Ricardowensleydale -
      It's an interesting one because there is certainly the impression that the tackled player contributed to the lifting with a spring/jump/twist but, it is without question the responsibility of the tackling player who put himself in the compromised position in the first place so can have no objection to the result.
    1. Taff's Avatar
      Taff -
      It's strange that the commentators come out with the same arguments as when Sam Warburton was sent off against France ie there was no intent, it will have a massive impact on the game, there was no malice etc etc etc.
    1. SimonSmith's Avatar
      SimonSmith -
      The audio feed I got said it was one of the worst they'd seen, and that under the law, the referee had no choice. Straight red.

      They then disputed the law.
    1. dave_clark -
      i sent the article to a couple of people at work (one a (very) occasional level 7 player and former county coach and the other a current level 5 player). no comment from either, until i pressed one in the pub who grudgingly agreed it was accurate.

      in case he reads it - Alain, you've made a difference. very few grumbles about this one.
    1. Ian_Cook's Avatar
      Ian_Cook -
      Two comments from one of the commentators (the English sounding one) really infuriate me

      "The Laws are made by people who don't understand the ferocity of the impact..."

      Actually, the Laws are made by people who understand the potential consequences. They also understand that grabbing a player below the hips and lifting them up is a CHOICE made by the tackler, and that there are alternative, safer and just as effective ways to put the ball carrier on the deck.


      "There is responsibility on the ball carrier as well..."

      This comment is so contemptuous, it doesn't even deserve a reply.
    1. Mike Selig's Avatar
      Mike Selig -
      However the commentators have made a huge stride, from "how on earth was that a red card?" to "no option but a red card but I don't like it" (my paraphrasing). OK different commentators etc, but some of the message has got through.

      I agree though that it is sad that so-called experts don't see the huge danger in such tackles, which are completely unnecessary.
    1. tim White's Avatar
      tim White -
      The intention of a tackle is to disrupt the ball-carrying team -bring the player to ground or at least stop him advancing, disrupt the passing movement across the field etc, IT IS NOT TO INJURE THE PLAYER OR TO PERMANENTLY DISABLE HIM -both highly likely from this type of tackle. The sooner the professional players AND TV pundits get this through their skulls the better. Are the rugby authorities doing anything to educate TV people?
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      I have heard that the iRB wrote to sky offering their commentators referee courses in order to increase their law knowledge.

      I am led to believe that the response was along the lines of "We employ our commentators to commentate, not to know the intricate details of the law".

      Stunning eh?

      At least Brian Moore made a good example!
    1. tim White's Avatar
      tim White -
      All credit to BM for taking the ELRA -I wonder how he keeps up to date with law changes and interpretations?
    1. SimonSmith's Avatar
      SimonSmith -
      He comes here

      D'oh!
    1. AiseaT39's Avatar
      AiseaT39 -
      Everyone needs to take a good look at it. The tackler starts lifting the ball carrier upward from first contact to the the time the ball carrier's upper body hits the ground. Look at the motion and action of the tackler. The ball carrier was the one who bended himself awkwardly to get to the ground thus hitting his upper body on the ground before the lower body.

      1. The tackler lifted and never drive the ball carrier to the ground.
    1. OB..'s Avatar
      OB.. -
      Quote Originally Posted by AiseaT39 View Post
      Everyone needs to take a good look at it. The tackler starts lifting the ball carrier upward from first contact to the the time the ball carrier's upper body hits the ground. Look at the motion and action of the tackler. The ball carrier was the one who bended himself awkwardly to get to the ground thus hitting his upper body on the ground before the lower body.
      He put a hand out to protect himself. That does not exculpate the tackler.

      1. The tackler lifted and never drive the ball carrier to the ground.
      Driving is not necessary. Once he has lifted him and tipped him upside down, it is his responsibility to put the player down safely. He didn't.
    1. chopper15's Avatar
      chopper15 -
      Re. OB: Once he has lifted him and tipped him upside down, it is his responsibility to put the player down safely. He didn't.

      . . . and if it was obvious to the ref that he tried, slipped, and they both landed heavily? Still a RC?
    1. 4eyesbetter's Avatar
      4eyesbetter -
      If I take a match out and start gently rubbing it against the striking board as I walk round the house, I should expect it to catch light if I happen to e.g. trip over the cat on the way.
    1. OB..'s Avatar
      OB.. -
      Quote Originally Posted by chopper15 View Post
      Re. OB: Once he has lifted him and tipped him upside down, it is his responsibility to put the player down safely. He didn't.

      . . . and if it was obvious to the ref that he tried, slipped, and they both landed heavily? Still a RC?
      DON'T LIFT. That is the message. If players get that far, then we might start to consider what excuses might be acceptable.
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