Wednesday, October 10, 2007
No one can deny that the flashes of brilliance we saw from the Pacific Island teams in France have been a breath of fresh air and great for the game. But I don't think anyone can criticize referee Alan Lewis or the judiciary for taking action on some clearly illegal play.
Of course, big tackles are part of the game and we all love them here at Rugbydump. There is however a line that players must be punished for if they choose to step over it. The citing's at this years World Cup have been plentiful and inconsistent at times, but at least the IRB are making a point of dangerous play.
The first incident here involves a perfectly legal tackle on Schalk Burger that stops the try and is actually great defence. Once again, Schalk not offloading when he should, but thats another discussion altogether.
It was a very impressive, hard, double tackle dislodging the ball and keeping the Boks out.
You'll notice that the supporting Springbok Danie Rossouw doesn't touch the ball but still manages to get a blatant swinging arm in the face from the Fijian cover defender, flyhalf Seremaia Bai. He wasn't punished on the field, but was cited later and now faces a one week ban. This is basically a stiff arm punch to the face and is probably no worse than a traditional punch. But, one week is what they say so we can't argue it can we. What we can do is ask for consistency though.
Seru Rabeni has had his fair-share of golden moments in the contact situation in this World Cup, against Australia , for example. He fails to impress Butch James with this hit though, as he attempts to jolt the South African fly-half into next week with a body-check as James off-loads the ball. Butch James gets some air with the impact of the ferocious Fijian's shoulder. Rabeni, however, gets 10 minutes in the bin and rightfully so.
If a team like Fiji could eliminate this element of their game they would no doubt be a dominant force in world rugby and one of the most exciting teams around.