Sunday, January 23, 2011

Florian Fritz gives the finger after red for dangerous tackle

Florian Fritz gives the finger after red for dangerous tackle

Earlier today Wasps beat Toulouse with a last gasp try by David Lemi as the scores were tied. Highlights of the game will be posted soon, but for now here's the controversial red card decision that saw Florian Fritz take an early exit.

Richard Haughton, who was excellent all day, sparked a brilliant breakout before a cross kick left Tom Varndell in space as Wasps looked dangerous in what was a fantastic game of rugby.

As Toulouse did well to get back in defence, Florian Fritz lifted and dumped Varndell in what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle by referee Alain Rolland. Rolland seemed to have little doubt, showing the straight red card without much hesitation or consultation with his assistants.

Fritz was understandably shocked, but his middle fingered gesture while walking off the pitch will leave most fans with little sympathy, and will more than likely land him in hot water with the ERC, who dont take kindly to that type of behaviour.

Whether or not the tackle actually was worthy of a red card is up to you to decide. The intent to lift and dump the player is obviously what tipped - for lack of a better word- Rolland in favour of issuing the red, even though the way that Varndell landed seemed fairly safe.

The finger by Fritz isnt forgivable though, and while he obviously lost his head and let his emotions got the better of him, a disciplinary hearing will be forthcoming.

There were many games this weekend with plenty of great moments. If you spotted anything that youd like featured, please post a comment on the requests forum or send in an email .

Time: 02:28

Posted by Rugbydump at 9:34 pm | View Comments (200)

Viewing 200 comments

A Wise Man Once January 23, 2011 9:31 pm

Had some sympathy with him after the tackle; he did
Spear him yes, but he didn't drive him head first and
He did have control of him from the look of it. I would
Have said a yellow not a red. That said, after
His gesture at the end I lost that sympathy. He
Knows there are cameras there, what a plonker.
Some people just can't help themselves. Dissapointing
To see the once talented player turn in to a portly
and ineffective version of his former self.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:33 pm

Straight red for that???? Refs are killing rugby match after match

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:33 pm

Shame on british referees, as usual. We shouldn't play this competition anymore, Top 14 is the best. And the refs are impartials.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:37 pm

He gave the finger???? Oh my God that's outrageous!! Come on are you that sensitive? Sisis

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Hendrick January 23, 2011 9:39 pm

How was that a dangerous tackle? Please explain? It seems like a good tackle to me.

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Sarcas January 23, 2011 9:40 pm

As a Wasps fan, I have some sympathy for Fritz - I was surprised to see the colour of the card (although not surprised to see the card itself).

There was a huge amount of niggle from both teams in the rucks (Toulouse got away with a huge amount in the first 20, and we got away with a fair amount in the third quarter), which may have affected the decision a bit. However, as I've seen elsewhere - if you raise someone's legs above their head, you are asking for it.

Classy from Poitrenaud though - trying to stabilise the tackle.

@Anonymous - I don't want to be picky but Alain Rolland is most certainly not British. Il est un francophone irlandais.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:40 pm

hit looked good to me. Penalty at worst if you're really pedantic about it.

Roland is a fucking awful referee. Fritz should have given him the finger rather than the crowd.

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Luxi January 23, 2011 9:47 pm

that's not even worth penalysing, i mean come on fritz lifts varndell and them just lands him on the side, quite similar to the previous jason white hit on chris wyles...

because isnt what this sport is all about big hits and nice tries

and that commentator has to be the most biased commentator ever!!!! he calls that a spear tackle!! he should browse RD for real spear tackles and learn his rugby dictionnary again !!!!

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:48 pm

Damn french **** Anonymous 10.33, He's not british, Irish ref who's even half french. :P

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:50 pm

Not even a Penalty, Alain Rolland lost all credit to my eyes. Moreover he gave the game to the Wasps, never seen this in my life

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:54 pm

that's not a red card, but fritz really hasn't done himself any favours with that reaction; totally stupid

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 9:56 pm

"Shame on british referees, as usual. We shouldn't play this competition anymore, Top 14 is the best. And the refs are impartials."

Please, stop being ridiculouslyparanoiac, that's becoming very embarassing. There's no evil coalition against french clubs.If there was, how would you explain a 100% french Hcup finale last year? If there's an anti-french coalition, how would there be 4 french clubs qualified for quarter finals? I'm french and this stupid paranoia is embarassing me, so please stop moron.

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Colombes January 23, 2011 9:59 pm

Awful decision. A bit surprising from Alain rolland...
It was a cathdrale tackle but as varndell seemed to be fine, yellow would have been clearly appropriate!

Concerning fritz reaction, it's a pity and shameful! Even if The dcision was unfair a rugby player must keep his cool when he is insulted or booed.
Don't really know which ban is correct for this type of outrage, but as he is french and the unconsistency of erc is famous.. The note Will be salt i think! Pity, it Will give new arguments to french moaners...

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:01 pm

If thats a red card, I think I should I've been banned for life since a long time :-D

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Mike January 23, 2011 10:04 pm

That wasn't a British ref, it was an Irish ref. Ignorance abounds.

The call definitely was tough, but you can't argue it was incorrect. A lot of refs wouldn't have had the balls to show the red, even though they know what they saw. (Remember Schalk Burger in the Lions match - the ref/assistant saw the gouging, but only gave a yellow).

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Noms January 23, 2011 10:04 pm

shouldn't have been a red card... Looked like a good tackle! Who did he give the finger to though? Was it just the crowd?

I remember Andrew Mehrtans doing that back in the day, lol.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:06 pm

I'd say penalty at worst. The tackle really wasn't dangerous.
As for the finger... for those of you who don't know Fritz, he's an absolutely brilliant player, but a complete jackass. That's actually why he's not playing for France. Anyways, I'm OK with it because I love watching him play, but i can understand a different opinion...

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Flair13 January 23, 2011 10:07 pm

There is one thing all British and Irish agree about, and that's to make fun of the French when they referee.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:07 pm

the sky commentators seem to be the new citing comission of erc... It says a lot :(

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:07 pm

That tackle was perfectly legal. But obviously a profesional player and more particularly an international one should not loose his cool

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Gman January 23, 2011 10:08 pm

How is that different from the tackle below? I am with Luxi for that. As far as commentating goes, is it really an issue if it is biased? I think it adds fun to the match. (And it will never be as bad as in Australia)

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:11 pm

harsh very harsh some times they get lifted and it is just the game no malice in that!! some bad tackles have been done but common sense has to be used!!!!!!! love seeing the big hits remember in school gettin bust they u learn to run low and avoid having a high center of gravity!!!

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Hank January 23, 2011 10:11 pm

To flair13,

U've stolen my words lol

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:12 pm

if you watch carefully, poitrenaud holds varndell's head when fritz lifts him in order to stop him going upside down - if he hadnt done this, it wouldve been a lot more dangerous. so the intent was there from fritz, it was a red card.

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Mike January 23, 2011 10:14 pm

The law is as follows:

"Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that players feet are still off the ground such that the players head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

He lifted the player? Yes.
He dropped or drove the player into the ground? Yes
The player's head or upper body came into contact with the ground? Yes.

Therefore it was 'dangerous play'.

Correct call by the ref, according to the laws of rugby. Which laws should he be using? Cage fighting?

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:27 pm

He's not british you buffoons he's Irish! Decision was the correct one based on the laws of the game.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:31 pm

^^ Mike, everybody know you don't like the French.

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Alba Gubraith January 23, 2011 10:37 pm

First of all, imho, the tackle was decent. A dump, certainly, but a spear? No way! Penalty at best if you want to avoid it happening again!

The middle finger gesture was unnacceptable though! This isn't football!

As for the commentators, i'm afraid that's what you have to come to expect. Sky Sports (like most UK broadcasters) only care about English teams, are incredibly biased and generally ignore the other UK countries teams.

For example, while it may be undertsandable not wanting to show dead rubber matches, both the Edinburgh v Cardiff and Dragons v Glasgow games were listed as being on Skysorts red button/extra but then apparently pulled without announcement.

Also, Will Greenwood was the only pundit to even sound like praising Glasgow after their victory over Wasps last week, with all the others only concerned with Wasps and how poorly they must have played to lose to a Scottish team!

It really is nauseating! Almost as bad as the last World Cup which had a 60 minute preview show about the four home nations, 45 minutes of which was dedicated to England! They also spent the full half-time of the Namibia-Georgia match discussing Englands upcoming game instead of the match they had just been watching!


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Alan January 23, 2011 10:38 pm

It was technically a spear tackle, he lifted him above horizontal and drove him into the ground, the laws state that a spear tackle is a red card. As harsh as it may seem, the referee was perfectly correct. The problem is with the laws not with the ref.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:41 pm

To mike,

If the law is correct as you say, i know many players who would never end a match during each premiership and top14 weekend...
It's often the ref interpretation, here was a bad one.
As u like the law, what ur book says about fritz outrage? Always orgasmic to know how a french will be cooked by erc ;)

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Dalma January 23, 2011 10:42 pm

If this is a red, then Wilkinson should have had one for his crushing - and great - tackle on N'Tamack. Same for almost all offensive tackles I'd say.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:45 pm

In my opinion, it is a red card.

Technically, the offense could warrant a red card as the player lifted and drove the other player into the ground shoulder / head first, but it could easily be given a yellow. It wasn't actually that bad to be honest.

However, Fritz could easily slammed him legally, without tipping him and just before he drives the player downward, Fritz lifts the player higher and tilts him a bit more which makes it look like he was trying to hurt him. The intent seemed pretty clear and for that, I would give it a red card.

Shame about giving the finger afterwards. Not really going to do him any favours.

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Dalma January 23, 2011 10:47 pm

... or this one from Matthew Rees against Harlaquins : spear and late. No red.

So it seems that "laws" are followed in a different way.

View Video

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mat January 23, 2011 10:47 pm

red seems harsh should have been yellow. but why does fritz lift his legs up that high though ?? thats silly boy moment no.1, followed by silly boy moment no. 2. hope his manager puts him in his place.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:50 pm

for all the french saying it was a bad, baised decision, etc. the toulous forwards coach didn't disagree with the card. in fact, he seemed to agree with it if anything. juding by his post match interview

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Dalma January 23, 2011 10:50 pm

" FrogLover said...
you can always count on the french to show professionalism"

Armitage is playing for France?

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:52 pm

Dalma: Rees did tip him, but he didn't drive him into the ground. and i wouldnt consider that late. he hits the player when he has the ball

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:54 pm

"Armitage is playing for France?"

Armitage was raised in France.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:55 pm

I'm sorry but what will it take to completely outlaw spear tackles, a broken neck? Referees have a duty to protect, safety first. Marginals calls or a wheel chair?

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 10:57 pm

red card. the offense could from a technical point of view be given a red. the intent makes it a read without a doubt.

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Dalma January 23, 2011 10:58 pm

Anonymous, as previously said, dropping and driving are the same according to the Holy Rugby Laws :

"Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that players feet are still off the ground such that the players head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

Rees lifted and dropped the player, still off the ground, player's head came into contact with the ground.

So, shall we consider that Rolland is the only right ref in this situation?

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Dalma January 23, 2011 10:59 pm

(please, choose a name people. too many "anonymous" there)

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bill January 23, 2011 11:03 pm

Such an unenthusiastic middle finger, if you're going to give the crowd the bird, at least make sure you are adamant about it!

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TheAnonymousOne January 23, 2011 11:15 pm

"Rees lifted and dropped the player, still off the ground, player's head came into contact with the ground.

So, shall we consider that Rolland is the only right ref in this situation?"

The sanction is only a penalty. However, if a referee deems that the tackler was attempting to harm another player, then they can award the card that they deem appropriate for each particular offense.

Fritz lifts a player as high as he can, and at his highest point lifts his legs higher and drives downward. Fritz actively acts to harm the player throughout the tackle. Also, he picks the player up from above the waist. He makes an effort to turn the player upside down from a position which makes it difficult to do so.

Rees lifts the player from the waist, a position where a player tips over much more easily, tips him slightly and then releases.

The main difference between the two tackles is that at various moments Fritz chooses the more difficult options but also the more dangerous options in order to hurt the player being tackled where as Rees only performs a single action and then ceases from attempting to increase the possible damage caused.

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Yves January 23, 2011 11:33 pm

Some comments over there are just cynical.
Saying that fritz just wanted to hurt varndell intentionally and an english one doing the same tackle is accidental.

Furthermore, to people who say that cathedral tackles and dangerous actions in general must be banned from the game. I agree... And what do you think about attwood stamp and sanction (8 weeks...) ? Oh stupid i am, who care about the missing teeth of a romanian player!

Ps: fritz is a dumb, that's why lievremont did not picked him

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 11:39 pm

if this is a red card then it's going to be a rain of expulsions during the super 14 ...
Seriously, after getting stolen like this i still want to break everything, because nobody's saying that this decisions killed toulouse.
What's a pitty with professionalism it's that you can't do a general battle when you get the game stolen like this anymore.

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Maximus January 23, 2011 11:43 pm

Rolland has always been one of my fav refs but here I think he completely killed the match.

Arguably a yellow but no red. And what's more, he's gon get banned matches for a FINGER to the CROWD?! He needn't do that but... Pitiful.

He will get more with a rough but legal tackle (to me) than O'Gara and Mignoni together for a mini-brawl. Which was worse for the image of rugby imo.

Btw, like 10min later in the match, 2 Toulouse players block a Wasp and tackle him together, lifting his leg and making him fall on his back ("upper body" they say). No red. No yellow. No penalty. Play on. Normal.

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TheAnonymousOne January 23, 2011 11:46 pm

"Some comments over there are just cynical.
Saying that fritz just wanted to hurt varndell intentionally and an english one doing the same tackle is accidental."

It is fair to be cynical. He made it appear as it he was trying to harm Varndell. Perhaps he was not but all we have to go by are his actions and his actions make it appear as if he was trying to harm Varndell.

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Anonymous January 23, 2011 11:50 pm

red. cleary. for 3 reasons.

1. he lifted the player up and tilted him past the horizontal
2. drove player into the ground
3. just before he drove player he lifts his legs even higher, then drives him downwrd

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John F January 23, 2011 11:58 pm

This happened about 10 metres in front of me. I was astonished to see a red. This was not the sort of the tackle the new directive was talking about. This isn't a dangerous spear tackle that risked dropping a player on his head, it was just driving him backwards then planting him on the ground. If the ref had a good view of this then surely a bit more common sense was needed?

Fritz had a bit of a hissy fit, throwing him gum shield dramatically onto the turf then giving the crowd the one-fingered salute there. Nothing serious but I can understand why he was pissed off.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:08 am

Alain Roland is a consistent referee and that's what you want. Varndell was fine but the indent was a spear tackle and that's a straight red. Even though no injury was caused if he'd allowed it, more of those type of tackles would have come into the game. Right call by the ref

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:12 am

if no red was given people would be complaining that it was a red card offense

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Juggernauter January 24, 2011 12:15 am

OK, Fritz lifts the guy and dumps him into the ground.

Why it shouldn't be a red (just a penalty):

1. He drove him back safely into the ground, didn't drop him.

2. He landed on his side, therefore not risking his back or neck with the hit on the ground.

Alain Rolland is an excellent ref (he refereed the WC final), but he should have taken a few minutes to saw it again. There's no point trying to show authority by showing red cards...

And regarding the finger, what a dork. This is rugby, you idiot, not football. If you want to give the finger to the crowd, you've got to options: play the round ball game or be as classy as Andrew Mehrtens and land a drop goal in front of 50,000 angry Afrikaners.

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(u-p)rick January 24, 2011 12:22 am

Shocked by the card, no way a red for all for discipline and respect on the pitch but fritz didn't zap the ref with that... So I'm some what inclined to say 'have the disciplinary hearing, find him guilty and give him a slap on the wrist' I would hate to see a ban for that.... Then again I'd hate to see soccer culture enter so maybe the harsher the better ?!?

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RedYeti January 24, 2011 12:27 am

Pretty sure it was a red because Fritz was the last defender before the tryline... Cutting off a potential try with a dangerous tackle is always going to be worse than the tackle by itself

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:31 am

the reason varndell didnt go headfirst if you look is because piotrenaud gets an arm underhis neck and that keeps him up! maybe wasnt a red, but he may have been spoken too about misconduct earlier as the toulouse number 8 was sent to the bin after what looked like a stamp on simpson which caused a scuffle, cracking game though

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:33 am

and at all the other comments rolland didnt give the game to wasps! i was there and toulouse were getting away with murder at the rucj for the first 4o minutes, not a single player came through the gate

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FlipFlap January 24, 2011 12:43 am

I suspect Fritz may be gay.

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Flooz January 24, 2011 12:57 am

Mmmmmm me and dutchrugbyplayer would love to get involved with dangley bits!!

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Tom January 24, 2011 1:04 am

That's the biggest load of bullshit.
It was a good tackle.
Nothing wrong with it at all.
Refs need to pull their heads in.
They are obsessed with cards these days and it's completely detrimental to the sport.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 1:06 am

ok I just paused it on "the finger", looking closely would anyone else agree that could very possibly be his index finger?
I just cant see anyone being THAT stupid.

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bergemasco January 24, 2011 1:27 am

pretty sure poitrenaud saved varndell's life there... watch him hold the head up away from the ground.

rolland couldn't have seen this cos he was on the other side so it may have looked to him as though varndell's head had hit the ground first...

fair play to poitrenaud though

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:07 am

that wasnt even a penalty...

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:13 am

french teams should boycott HC.
We always get screwed by these british ref

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Rob January 24, 2011 2:22 am

bullshit call from the ref

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Ben January 24, 2011 2:22 am

Good solid tackle which stopped the attacking momentum in its tracks.

Play on for mine.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:23 am

Very good from Toulouse number 15 having the quick thinking to support Varndel's head in the tackle, not sure about the red myself but then again it could be argued that without the intervention of the other toulouse player the end result could have indeed been dangerous

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Rob January 24, 2011 2:24 am

'Anonymous said...
french teams should boycott HC.
We always get screwed by these british ref

January 24, 2011 3:13 AM'

Alain Rolland is half french you fuckwit. And he's from Ireland.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:36 am

a straight red was a shocking decision! it was a penalty at the most, Varndell landed safely, and Fritz went down with him... not a spear tackle! in regards to the gesture as he was leaving the field, a fine from the ERC should settle that little matter!

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 3:26 am

Brilliant stuff! gwan forian haha

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Resident Troll January 24, 2011 3:50 am

I think the frogs are trying to get Poitrenaud off the hook, from my angle it looked like he was behaving in true French fashion and going for the gouge on varndell!!!! good old British referee's let's get those cheating frogs off the pitch, I'm hoping for a 36 week ban for fritz and a 54 week ban for the gouge!!!

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Bill January 24, 2011 4:57 am

Rubbish call.
They are just obsessed with cards in Europe.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 6:26 am

Was that even worth a YC? It doesn't even look like a spear tackle?

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granite January 24, 2011 6:57 am

quite astonished that some people think there's nothing wrong with the tackle at all... It seemed to me he had all the intent in the world to tip him upside down then push him into the ground. I can understand the penalty vs yellow vs red debate, but not the legal vs illegal.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 7:18 am

The player's head or upper body came into contact with the ground?NO

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 7:30 am

THIS WAS NOT A RED CARD OFFENCE!!!! It was a legal and safe tackle!!!! F-ing irish ref was on Toulouse's back for the word go but then again which home nation ref isn't against the French?

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:17 am

Can someone tells me what's wrong with the tackle?

Is all legal, nice tackle to me in perfect timing. The tackled player what not thrown to the ground.

Impossible to understand this decision.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:17 am

Red card ! hahahaha !
Atwood and is 8 weeks ban is going to have fun :)

Nice to see Wasps/English fans so happy to be in European challenge. What a performance !

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TheAnonymousOne January 24, 2011 8:21 am


He was not driven backwards he was driven downwards.

His legs were also tilted as this was being done.

And Fritz lifted the player form above the waist. It would have been much easier to slam him and push him backwards but instead he lifts, flips and drives downwards.

Certainly a red. Nobody has been able to argue against the points I presented which show that it is a red, because it is a red.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:30 am

Really impressed by wasps/english rugby.
They manage to go in europeen challenge with 30 minutes at 15vs14 with Monsieur Roland and a nice 1 meter forward pass on the last try.


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Flipje January 24, 2011 8:32 am

"the reason varndell didnt go headfirst if you look is because piotrenaud gets an arm underhis neck and that keeps him up! maybe wasnt a red, but he may have been spoken too about misconduct earlier as the toulouse number 8 was sent to the bin after what looked like a stamp on simpson which caused a scuffle,"

Get your fact straight mate. The number 8 was Picamoles and got carded for holding the jersey in a maul (dixit Rolland comments)which I believed is slightly different that stamping (but we are not at the first approximation...). What you might have forgotten is the scuffle between Albacete and Varndell during this incident which was neglected by Rolland. Varndell is not a saint on this one.

Well, is this a red card, no it is not, but it is a yellow and possibly illegal. Rolland should have talk to his assistant which was better place than him on the action.

Some comments about Fritz intentionally trying to injure the opponent or Pointrenaud working to make the tackle less nasty are as dull as the talk of Anti French conspiracy.

Rolland made a meal of the scrummaging, which show Toulouse first half clear dominance in this part, reduce to nothing by quite a number of bad call. Outside this, Toulouse hardly played to his best (15 handling error). I found Wasps a slightly better team overall.

As for Fritz gesture, well he should have known better as a professional rugby player (even if I can understand his frustration).

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:37 am

Straight red entirely justified. If Poitrenaud hadn't saved the tackle. it would have been very serious. Another classy display from le Toulousain though. Really showed what they are all about. Alain Rolland is an Irish ref of French descent, so it was probably the Irish part of him that gave the red, overruling the French side that wanted to lay down and surrender as soon as the going got tough. I know it's difficult when your race is so effeminate, but at least try to man up and admit when you're at fault.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:58 am

It's new . Now the irish prefer the rosbeefs to the french
sin bin yes red card no but the match was in england so...

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 9:22 am

'There's no doubt it's a spear tackle' Really? I thought the player had to be forced head first into the ground for it to be called that, this doesn't even go beyond the 90 degrees that is always quoted.

I don't agree with what fritz did but to get a straight red for that you're going to be pretty upset and assume someone is getting paid.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 9:24 am

Oh, just realised why this happened, it's the Alain Rolland show. Can't officiate a breakdown or scrum, clueless about the tackle.

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Ben January 24, 2011 9:30 am

RD should really forget to allow some "anon" comments. it is ruining the rugby and transform this intelligent forum in some youtube comments. when u see words like "race", "conspiracy" or "faggot"... it's sad to see it related to rugby

concerning the match, it was a nice match to watch. Wasn't it a forward on the last wasps try if someone saw it?
I also don't really understand the red card. Yes, it was cathedral, but he didn't drop varndell and no injury after that. Rolland should have ask to his assistant and put at maxima a yellow.

fritz finger is not excusable despite a comprehensive frustration , he lost the plot! Maybe some excuses should reduce a possible sanction.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 9:32 am

fuck off ref!

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Mike January 24, 2011 9:36 am

Some people still do not seem to know what the laws are, so I will post it again. If there is a problem, it is with the LAW not with the ref. I had to laugh at the guy above who said that Fritz 'safely drove him into the ground'. Epic failure to know the law.

The law is as follows:

"Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that players feet are still off the ground such that the players head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

He lifted the player? Yes.
He dropped or drove the player into the ground? Yes
The player's head or upper body came into contact with the ground? Yes.

Therefore it was 'dangerous play'.

And can we please leave the who;e 'bias' thing behind? There are two usual stupid arguments on RD - Northern Hemisphere v Southern Hemisphere, and the persecution of the French. If we don't have trolls talking about one, they are talking about the other.

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minstrel boy January 24, 2011 9:58 am

the tackle was percetly legal but the finger afterwards deserves suspension

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 10:00 am

I've seen worst tackles than this without any cards. And we wonder why European rugby can't be competitive with SOuthern rugby, that's exactly the point: This kind of tackle is regular in Super 14. Plus, the tackle on David Skrela 20min later was a bit late and nothing from the referee.

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Yves January 24, 2011 10:03 am

to mike,

i can't wait the next cathedral tackle made by an english or a british player (which will be of course, not sanctionned by a red)
and how u will defend him and interpretate the law at your own taste.

Before arguing about french conspiracy or paranoia. Learn to be fair and objective ;)
Fritz never dropped varndell and he felt on his body side. yellow was the maximum and it killed the game.
Other point, just look at the players (wasps and toulouse), they were all quite astonished by the ref decision

i also hate when french are moaning. But, here we are talkin about consistency, no conspiracy.

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ruck n ram January 24, 2011 10:04 am

i think the ref made a mistake...
he probably misunderstood, thinking it was Toulon, not Toulouse, that's why he gave a red card i guess...

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 10:08 am

Terrible refereeing all game long. Rolland was one of my most liked referees until this season. He made some terrible decisions in nearly every game he was in. How on earth is that a red card?
The commentators were the usual Sky one-eyed pricks.
Fritz' reaction is obviously very silly and unprofessional and he will be rightly suspended for a couple of weeks.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 10:15 am

games getting softer and softer.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 10:16 am

might aswell be playing touch rugby these days.

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Bastien January 24, 2011 10:24 am

red card ?!?!?!?????????????? legal tackle for me ...

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ScarletBoy January 24, 2011 10:31 am

shameful refereeing from Rolland - shameful reaction from Fritz - shameful explanations from the commentators - this is not the first time Fritz overreacts, he should be punished for this finger even if this decision is bad

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Law-makers January 24, 2011 10:36 am

Funny to see that 95% of people are ok to say that this tackle deserved a simple penalty or a yellow

and 5%, (wasps or english fans?) trying the irb law defence.
the law doesn't ref a match, it's the ref interpretation who makes apply the rules in certain situations (injury, fall on the neck, drop, etc...)

Here, rolland was a bit quick in his judgement. end of the story

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 10:45 am

I was in the stand Fritz showed the finger to. What u didnt see in that video is that he then proceeds to kick a chair against the dugout.

As for the tackle I've heard they redefined the language in the rules of dangerous tackles as off december 2010. Is this true? Varndell's legs were pretty high but he seemed to land ok.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 10:56 am

Perhaps 10 minutes in the bin would be acceptable, more than that is a very poor decision.

He had a flag, but made the decision immediately.

The injustice of the decision does not justify the gesture!

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Mike January 24, 2011 11:47 am

Hi Yves -

i can't wait the next cathedral tackle made by an english or a british player (which will be of course, not sanctionned by a red)
and how u will defend him and interpretate the law at your own taste.

I'm not worried about English or British players to be honest, I only worry about Irish ones :)
So please remember that I am neutral here in this discussion - and remember that the referee is Irish but his father is French.

I just want to be clear here that I agree with the people who say that it was a tough decision against Fritz, but my point is that the law says that the referee was correct. Nobody has disputed the points of the law that show that the decision was correct.

Now, do we think the law should be changed? That's another matter. Perhaps it should? But then how do we protect players from serious injury? (or do we even care about that?)

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 11:51 am

@ FrogLover: it is exactly the kind of comments that come from fat guys who drink too much beer, are useless on the pitch...and I guess, seeing your love of the French, you probably got your gf stolen by one of those guys

Fritz is a bit of a high tempered guy -only reason why he isn't ever on "Le blues" squad, as otherwise he's excellent.

worth a yellow, not a red though.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 11:53 am

yellow would have have been sufficient in my eyes

his reaction to the crowd is not worth a rugby player

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 11:53 am

all those saying its the refs fault.. its clearly not.. its the rfy for making the rules, the refs just have to enforce them

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:01 pm

keep on shitting on the French, guys, we bone your girlfriends while you're at it

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:12 pm

The law is respected here, as this tackle CAN be INTERPRETED as dangerous, regarding the law. However, the interpretation is way too harsh compared to what a regular ref would do.

surprising though, because Rolland is not one of the anti-French referees, in fact he is one of the only refs who understands how frustrating it can be for a French player in the middle of a ruck, to be told something in English and not understand a word of it.

As for the guys who'll say "French players should learn English" I'd say,

1) when you're completely into the game, tired, stressed out, HOW the hell are you gonna understand an Irish/welsh/English/scottish accent (all so different), and

2)considering last finale was between Biarritz and Toulouse, considering the fact that the French won last Grand Slam, considering the fact that 4 French teams qualified for the quarter finals once is about time for English speaking refs to open up a bit and stop with the cliches about the French being this and that.

3) The only reason why English is spoken rather than any other language, is because English-speakers are always a majority. However, it is not always the case in the H Cup, considering the important presence and succes of French teams.

maybe if you guys played against a French team and the ref only spoke in a language you don't get, (which also means the other team has an advantage and can chat with the ref, negotiate in other terms) you wouldn't always be as fair play as you claim to be

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Flipje January 24, 2011 12:22 pm

Hi Mike,
Fair enough you are trying to bring some interesting arguments.

But on this one:
"and remember that the referee is Irish but his father is French."

Why bringing Rolland family/roots background??????

Should this affect or defend his decisions????

Because he has french relatives that should make his calls more or less acceptable????

He is an official Irish referee, is not it? and fairly quite a good one...most of the time

But, he made a meal of this game.

Bringing his roots is just like mentioning that all British referees have an old "irish" uncle in their family....(based on a pre match comment from a French Biarritz player.....)

A bit of a no brainer, don't you think?

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 12:53 pm

Fuck, anyone who thinks thats a red or even a yellow just doesnt know rugby.
I have lived and breathed rugby for 15 years, and because of shit like this, i now watch league.

This to me is truly the day rugby died.

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Disco January 24, 2011 12:55 pm

Fritz should be banned from the remainder of the tournament for bringing the game into disrepute; "if we tolerate this, then our children will be next".

I wonder how much influence Mikael Forest's gesture for Bourguin only a week ago may have had in "inspiring" Fritz.

With incidents like these (the finger, don't really care about the tackle), rugby seriously risks going down the same route as football; imagine what would have happened to that ref DiCanio pushed in the Premiership if it had been Bakkies Botha doing the shoving.

As for the tackle, I agree that a combination of the intent of Fritz, the angle the ref saw it from and the importance of the tackle (last line of defence) point to a red card as a reasonable decision.

Poitrenaud should get some kind of fair play award for looking after Varndell's head. Maybe a starting place for Toulouse at center would be apt, this is where I expect him (CP) and not Fritz, to be playing for France at the 2011 RWC.

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Mike January 24, 2011 1:02 pm

Hi Flipje -

the only reason I mention that his father is French is because other posters are suggesting some sort of bias on the part of the referee. I agree it has no relevance though.

The anonymous guy above Flipje - good points about the language. I often sympathise with French/Italian/whatever speaking players in exactly the situation you are talking about. I genuinely don't have a solution to the problem other than

1) all referees being able to speak (whatever language the players speak) or else

2)some defined limited vocabulary that referees must use and all players must understand.

I think that might work in general play, but for things like negotiating with the front rows after scrums collapse 5 times, it might be a problem.

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Disco January 24, 2011 1:17 pm

Good points on reffing, Mike.

I don't really see the relevance of the ref's explanation in any language regarding a scrum that has collapsed 5 times. There are only ever 6 people on a rugby field who know why a scrum really collapsed and none of these are the ref. I blame props and hookers, if they'd open up their secret society a little and actually talk openly about what goes on in there, the rest of the rugby community might be a little better informed as to how to make decisions in a situation that is otherwise virtually impossible to negociate for a ref.

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Ave January 24, 2011 1:24 pm

A nice example of a brain fart by an otherwise good ref... I mean Fritz is driving Varndell to the ground, he never let go of him, and he never try to drive him head first.

It was a fine tackle. Varndel's legs are high ? One is a bit high, but then again Fritz is lifting his thigh. The important factor is the chest and head position of Varndell: he is not upside down but on his side !

Perfect tackle.

And regarding the finger he gave to the crowd... big deal. It's a non event and I hope he won't catch any flak for that.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 1:30 pm

truly shocking decision. a strong but legal tackle. no card should have been given. although flipping the bird wasn't particularly sensible, though let's just be grateful he wasn't screaming in the refs face like several players would be had we been watching a different game!

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 1:33 pm


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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:08 pm



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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:13 pm




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Gav January 24, 2011 2:16 pm

All bow before the all-knowing troll. He knows how played and who didn't...

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Gav January 24, 2011 2:18 pm

Oh yeah, he also doesn't realise that 'horizontal' isn't even mentioned in the rule...

""Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that players feet are still off the ground such that the players head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play." not very all-knowing really.

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fry January 24, 2011 2:37 pm

Yup, penalty at worst; red is totally uncalled for. About as much so as the finger. Players should never disrespect the refs. End of. Don't care if they're wrong and make stupid decisions; man up and get on with it. Fritz acted like a child.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:42 pm





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Anonymous January 24, 2011 3:13 pm

English dangerous tackel master :

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Gav January 24, 2011 3:23 pm

'Hard hitting oriented players' - lol. Look at the Chris White tackle below this one. That's a hard, legal tackle. If you haven't the skill to tackle like that you should go back to sheep shearing or whatever is you are doing there.

By the way, there's a button marked 'caps lock' on the left of your keyboard. Give it a try.

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Flipje January 24, 2011 3:38 pm


Ok thanks for the feedback.

Still, the more I look to the incident the less I am convinced by the validity of the card.

Still just to use the article 10.4(j) which you are quoting. Even if this will fall in this category, which I am still not convinced, you are forgotting one important word in your quote: the word FIRST

Full quote IRB 10.4:
"Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst
that players feet are still off the ground such that the players head and/or upper body
come into contact with the ground FIRST is dangerous play."

Check the video carefully the left arm/bicep touches first the ground, followed by the rest of the left side of the body. At no time the shoulder or anything above it, hit the ground on the tackle.

So even if we want to imply this should fall under 10.4j, it does not fulfill the criteria described.

But the finger does (Art. 10.4m)

A specular but not a dangerous tackle. Rolland lost it on the heat of the moment and under the influence of the crowd,

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RedYeti January 24, 2011 3:49 pm


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Anonymous January 24, 2011 3:56 pm

This bad decision cost 500k to Toulouse...

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Mike January 24, 2011 4:07 pm

Flipje -

I doesn't matter if the guy's arm hit the ground first. The IRB modified the rule in November "to recognise the defensive actions of the tackled player when the arms are outstretched to break a fall".,25883,16016_6524343,00.html

I guarantee you it is a correct decision under the modified law. The idea is to eliminate anything like spear tackles from the game. A lot of 'rugby fans' here obviously don't know about the changes. :)

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 4:19 pm

Trying to maintain your and someone else's body position moments after absorbing a hit is a lot more dfficult than it looks. We need computers to predict car crash trajectories, excuse a human for hitting a tad too hard/high/lift/trip/get put off balance/too many variables.

Solid hit, sent Varndell back a few postcodes, he bounced up fine, no harm done, he even looked a bit embarrassed for getting smashed so hard haha!. On the edge, but it was a pumped game.

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Mike January 24, 2011 4:33 pm

"Trying to maintain your and someone else's body position moments after absorbing a hit is a lot more dfficult than it looks"

Agreed. But this wasn't a hit. Fritz lifted Varndell. It's the lifting bit, then the dropping/driving into the ground part that is against the laws of the game.

I'll say it one more time: the referee's call was the correct one based on the new version of the law introduced in December.

If you don't like it, complain about the law, not the ref.

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misterrugby January 24, 2011 4:36 pm

The arbitrator's decision seems fulsome. Personally, I only put a penalty. It is a pity because Mr. Rolland is usually a good referee.On the other side, the Florian Fritz finger is completely inappropriate. It's a lack of professionalism for the spectators and partners.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 4:49 pm

Its just spectacular! I don't Understand why the referee think that its dangerous.
Mr Rolland say that FF let go of Varndell's body.
Is he blind?
It's quite embarassing for a referee^^
Moreover, Varndeel's head is'nt under his hips...

It's tragic for rugby to see this!
Where do we go if now we can't realized an offensive tackle?

I should begin dance trainings, it will be more dangerous and spectacular than rugby in few years ^^

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 5:41 pm

This is not a red card.

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Johnny Be God January 24, 2011 5:41 pm

This sport become WIMPY.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 5:42 pm

this is simply not a red card.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 5:49 pm

there was no penalty from that tackle let alone a red card
please anyone explain what was wrong with that tackle

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simont January 24, 2011 5:50 pm

The caps lock is a key on a computer keyboard. Pressing it will set a keyboard mode in which typed letters are capitalised by default.
The beauty of this wonderful key is that the action of initiating it is in fact reversible. Feel free to try it sometime some of you. It's a wonderful thing.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 6:16 pm

They soft cunts in the north !! pussy's

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Disappointed January 24, 2011 6:30 pm

I must say that looked like a perfectly legitimate tackle, the legs were not lifted above the horizontal and while he looses control somewhat he doesn't 'drive' the player. If we are going to start to talk about intent then the whole argument gets a little ridiculous. I actually heard a referee give a card for "running into a ruck with too much emotion" and no I am not kidding.
Obviously safety has to come into it, but there has to be some room for big hits otherwise rugby isn't worth watching. Could all the referees come to some kind of consensus?

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bib160 January 24, 2011 6:48 pm

As like cited previously the law is "Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

but what mike forgot to say is the folowing line:"Sanction: Penalty kick"...

I'm not for the "anti french conspiracy" but who were the last 10 players who were straigt red carded and for what reason? i don't have the aswer

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Jamie Mac January 24, 2011 7:12 pm

Not even a yellow card in my eyes. If I was pushed I might have given a penalty, but at full speed that's just a brilliant tackle. Looked to me like an attempt to carry the wasp into touch and end the attack, no malice in it. I've given and received those tackles before, and this decision is a joke. He was bloody stupid to flip the bird, but I can't blame the poor guy for being upset. And no, I'm not French.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:09 pm

If a red card is awarded each time a player falls sideway after a tackle we can bury rugby right now!
How many players had serious injuries after a tackle that led them to stop carrer?
I have no example in mind.
Conversely I remember the awful accident of Max Brito in 1995 World cup that left him quadriplegic (another player falling on his head).
And the last year accident of Thom Evans was on a charge on Lee Byrne.
Rules becomes unfortunately more and more stupid in this game.
IRB is worse ans worse

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John January 24, 2011 8:42 pm

bib160 - The law that you link to is out of date. I posted a link to the new version of the law.

Seriously, are people reading any of this?






D E C E M B E R -









C O R R E C T.

Do we all get it now? Look at the new version of the law, and you will see that the decision was correct.

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John January 24, 2011 8:45 pm

Stupid thing won't show URLs. Just google "Law amendments put player welfare first" and follow the first link.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 8:50 pm

It's funny how the english teams need 15 players on the field to win against french teams

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 9:04 pm

It's funny how France never won a world cup.

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bib160 January 24, 2011 9:42 pm

john the law i cited is the exact same as the one you cited and we all agree that it is dangerous play. i was pointing the fact that the sanction recommended for this kind of dangerous play is a penalty kick (not even a yellow card...)
I still blame the referee and the law

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 9:48 pm

this is the heinekein cup not the World Cup. and here are the stats...
France 5 wins 9 runners up
england 6 wins 3 runners up
ireland 4 wins 2 runners up
i let this to you interpretation

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 9:52 pm

cqn someone explain me the exact difference between this one and the tackle by Jason Withe on the next video?

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(u-p)rick January 24, 2011 10:16 pm

Nope the French 15 was definately trying to gouge there, not support his head/neck!!!

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Jimbo January 24, 2011 10:20 pm

The game is getting softer, and it;s coming from Europe.
It's gotta be the influence of soccer, and how used to a ref ruinging the game with cards Europeans are from watching it.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 11:02 pm

The difference between this and Jason White is the lifting. Hope that helps.

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Tom January 24, 2011 11:30 pm

Lifting's not wrong. It's good when done well.
This was a fine tackle, he didn;t hurt him at all.
He drove in and dumped him on his side.
Utter bullshit that this is a dangerous tackle.

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Bill January 24, 2011 11:32 pm

Seriously, rugby union is just soft as hell these days.
We should just go watch rugby league.
It's completely European influence too.
How soft do they want to make the game?

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Tom January 24, 2011 11:43 pm

I just watched it again, he lands on his side, he uses his forearm to break the fall.
He picks him up and puts him down on his side.
WTF else is he supposed to do? Gently place a pillow under his head and soothe his brow?
The tackle Fritz made has been a normal tackle in rugby for a century. We're gonna start red carding players for it now?
Jesus christ, what's wrong with these refs in Europe?

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Knstler January 25, 2011 12:19 am

I don't if all the blogger, even the bravest of them (the anonymous talking about south vs north or french "race"), have read the declaration of Alain Rolland, who argues that Fritz has dropped the player in the air. That's simply not what happened; so 1. he did not see what happened, and he did not ask his assistant 2 or, he just lied in his declaration. When you've seen the full match, from the last try with a forward pass, to the scrum at 5m of the try line where Toulouse is ridiculously penalized, through the red card controversy, it seems very clear that he did not help Toulouse at all. Leinster vs Northampton, is that what you want, ERC? Seems so.

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Greg15 January 25, 2011 12:24 am

don't really care about the law, the ref is the master of the game and intepretate it.
some comments say that the new law have changed, well, i'll be certainly concerned by this type of tackles and how they will be judged in the future

i beg u what u want, they won't be sanctionned by any red card. and we all know it

so, bad and astonishing decision by the ref

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Rugby Is Dead January 25, 2011 1:32 am


Rugby, what a game you once were. You encompassed everything that was good and decent about sport. Physical battles, crunching hits, ball in hand. Daring to do what other sports could only dream of. For years you set the benchmark for other sports to aspire to. A game where you could smash and bash each other, with no complaints, and have a beer after the match. But somewhere along the line you lost your way. Something went wrong. You stopped embracing the physical toughness. You stopped trying to please the most of loyal of rugby folk, the fans. You stopped listening to your instincts and ignored everything that was good and decent about our unique game. And suddenly, instead of passing the ball to a flying winger was replaced for placing the ball on a tee. The saddest thing though, is you forgot about your old mate, william webb ellis. The bloke who was so fed up with the nature of the round ball code, he picked up the ball and ran with it. He didnt stop, milk a penalty and take the 3 in midfield. He ran. He fended opponents and barged them out of the way until no one was left in his way. This is how rugby started, and sadly its not how it will finish.

Goodbye old friend, you will be sorely missed.

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Tom January 25, 2011 5:11 am

The law shouldn't be made tighter, there's no reason for it.
Besides, even under the reading of that law, this doesn't qualify.
He landed on his goddamn side! His arm is what hits the ground, and his side!
This has literally been considered a good tackle for decades! A century!
And now we are red carding it?
What the fuck are they trying to do to this sport?
At least rugby league still has nuts.

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WTF January 25, 2011 5:14 am


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Bill January 25, 2011 5:16 am

Do think it's all the crying that went on after O'Driscoll got hurt in 2005 that caused this ridiculous overreaction by refs (usually European) to normal, quality tackles (which now apperntly warrant a red or yellow card - especially if you are not from the British Ilses or Ireland)?

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 6:27 am

There is no way that that is a red card IMO. Yellow at the most, rugby is becoming to soft nowadays

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 6:29 am

This sport's becoming wimpy ...

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Benson January 25, 2011 8:18 am

@ Link, what it doesnt say there is if it should be a red card or not though. And on top of that, just because the law has changed, doesn't mean it's right. Dangerous is dangerous, and this tackle didn't look dangerous.

Another interesting thing there is the description of the hand off, which I read a few times and still don't understand!? Anyone able to clear that up please?

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Greg15 January 25, 2011 9:46 am

i'm agree since o'driscoll crying episode, there is an exagerated reaction on every spectacular tackles.

u must protect players, but it doesn't mean to kill this beautiful game where the contact is noble.

that said, fritz is a talented player and i like players with character but this finger is not very fairplay, even due to frustration

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Gav January 25, 2011 10:02 am

Christ, would our friends from the South ever stop whinging about O'Driscoll. That got old about 6 years ago. Let it go already.

And there are still people baning on about 'he landed on his side so it's ok'...the side of what? His upper body!!

And the fact that he used his arm to break his fall - guess what? IRRELEVANT! Not according to me, according to the IRB.

I agree personally that this new law is harsh, but I can see why it was needed to protect players health and lives. This tackle was never going to seriously injure Varndell, but it would have been worse if Poitrenaud did not stabilise the tackle. On another day a guy trying something like this will break somebody's neck.

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 2:16 pm

Yellow for the tackle red for the Finger

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Edwards January 25, 2011 5:45 pm

That was stupid. he had complete control of him, didn't lift him too high and put him down safely. I can see a case for a penalty after playing advantage but never a card.

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 6:06 pm

Rolland speaks French fluently...

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 6:10 pm

Funny how those saying that it's not a red make plenty of irrelevant or incorrect points and just ignore those (e.g. Mike) who mention that the tackle was illegal and red card worthy based on the IRB rugby laws.

According to the current laws, this is an illegal tackle and the referee is well within his rights to give a red card. That is the law. It is there to protect players. It must be followed. It is not a perfect system, but it is better than players dying or being paralysed.

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the-other-jimbo January 25, 2011 8:34 pm

I'm not sure most of you commenting on this video have actually watched the video. There is no attempt to safely return V to the floor. Watch again, this time with your eyes open! Red defo. And those that say that rugby has gone soft either dont have nerve endings or don't play. I play at a reasonably low level and still wake up aching on a Sunday so God only knows how these guys feel. Good luck on EA sports by the way....

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The Frenchman January 25, 2011 9:53 pm

1/ Sorry for my english.

2/ Theres the law and undoubtedly it was a red card, even if Varndells head is never under his shoulders ; and theres the spirit of the law, which is to protect the players and its obvious Varndell was never endangered by Fritz tackle. Yellow.

3a/ Referee is always right, even when he can speak french. Red (but Alain Rolland was far from the action).
3b/ From a continental point of view, Alain Rolland IS british, as he comes from what we call here "British Islands" and what some ethnic minorities call "Channel Islands" or "Anglo-celtic" islands (and no matter what name you give them, this is where humor was invented).

4/ About that finger : Fritz is wrong, should never have done that, blah, blah, blah. No one in the world of rugby has never done that before (thanks RD for the vid of Mehrtens), and he deserves to be buried by ERC up to the neck in the grass of Adams Park for at least 70 weeks. Its the law that matters, not the man frustrated by his non-selection for France while only average players (Marty, Rougerie) will play the Six nations, and made furious by what he can only think is one more injustice against him.

5/ To conclude : red, no doubt. But please, no more about that stupid incident. Think about the man, not only the law.

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Mr Geography January 26, 2011 1:17 am

....the Frenchman... The channel islands are in the frigging channel....if Dublin (which is where Rolland was born) was located in the 'channel islands' there wouldn't be a frigging channel would there?!?!? (a channel can be construed as a 'gap')

Bloody hell, you'd think when people try and make a point about geography they'd actually have the gumption to look is a fucking atlas.....

Channel islands: Jersey, Guernsay etc etc etc...

Oh and to accuse Rolland of being biased because he is from 'Ireland' is absurd... Where would you French chaps like your referee's from? France perhaps? Should we have French referees reefing matchs with French teams in to avoid any paranoia? How many other matches have you seen where a referee f*cks a team over by following letter of the law? Scott Murray vs Wales perhaps... There are bad decisions made by refs in every game, some count for nothing, others cost the game, that's the price we pay for not being refereed by a computer...(and even then...)

I'm not a Law fanatic but mike sounds quite convincing with that argument and put like that, I'm sad to say I can see where the red comes from. However from the seen tackle, for me, it was never a red!

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Anonymous January 26, 2011 1:22 am

It was borderline harsh but in my mind it could have been a lot worse. If you watch the tackle again, (and i picked this up in realtime) Poitrenaud pushes Varndells head towards his left hand shoulder, away from the point that took the impact on his right hand side. Had this not happened we could be sat here talking about a serious injury. Referees have a lot of responsibility and to say he is biased or wanted wasps to win is ridiculous, wasps were already out of the HC and Toulouse play biaritz in the next round, hardly proof of anti-french Bias.

On the commentators, I agree, the Harrison/Barnes team are biased, but it is not based on a soley english/others. They like some clubs and twist others. Anyone know if Barnes is an agent? I've thought that for a while.

To be honest I really want impartiality from the commentators, whether it be Glasgow wasps or Munster, Ospreys. I dont want to hear the name of the player they rate all the time, just one comment is enough in 80min.

They need to listen to clips of the commentating from the wales try against the BaaBaas (JPRs i think it is) Just a fast firing list of names, the fact they are passing wide or short, the occasional 'brilliant' for an exceptional bit of skill.

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The Frenchman January 26, 2011 6:05 am

Mr Geography, the point here is not geography, but language.
When Brits (from Galway to Dover and fron Plymouth to Inverness) see a "channel", we, continentals, see... a sea ("La Manche"). As I said, this is a matter of point of view.

So, what we name "British Islands" ("les britanniques" in french) you name... what you want; and what you name "Channel Islands" (Jersey, Guernesey and that sort of places where dirty money becomes clean), we name "les anglo-normandes".

Anyway, the words change with the point of view, but islands stay the same.
Just like rugby.

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Mr Geography January 26, 2011 11:14 am

But you still avoided the comments about biased officials because you know that it is absolutely ridiculous....

So what is a channel in France?

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Anonymous January 26, 2011 11:49 am

The Frenchman

Saying that Rolland is British, or at least you consider him British, shows your ignorance and everyone there who calls him British's ignorance. He is not British.

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The Frenchman January 26, 2011 3:36 pm

I won't pretend I know everything about anything. Maybe I'm wrong, sincerely : but then explain, proove me British Islands are not British, and then I'll say : OK, I was wrong.

But as I said, when you change language, you have to change your point of view too; a point of view cannot be translated. A language is not made of words : it's a way of watching, describing, thinking the world. If you are not able to change your point of view, you'll never be able to understand the man who comes for another country, who speaks anorther language.

I just wanted to explain why some people here said Alain Rolland is British - why he might always be seen as British for us, continental people; and why you, British people, will always see him as an Irish (but with a French mother, poor guy...). And why, finally, the ones and the others are perfectly right... from their own point of view.

For me, I know he's Irish, I'm not totally ignorant or stupid, thanks. And usually, quite a good referee.

By the way, seeing the unability of some people here to adopt - even for a few moments - the point of view of other people, was very instructive.

And that's enough for me - except from that : sorry for my poor english (but I try hard).

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Jonny January 26, 2011 5:26 pm

You know what? I've seen worse than that which don't get any card at all! Hell, if we go by this logic, then half the tackles on RD should be given red cards! It's one of the softest 'spear tackles' I've ever seen.

Poor officiating to me. Yellow at the very most. Stiff talking to would have been my reccommendation.

He comes down on his midriff really rather than upper body.

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Anonymous January 26, 2011 5:46 pm


You are wrong. Look it up in any encyclopedia. Britain (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is a sovereign state. The British Isles is a name for a group of Islands, which consists of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, two different sovereign states. What you are saying is similar to calling South Africa, Africa. If you called someone from Egypt, South African, they'd think you're an idiot / ignorant. If you called someone from Ethiopia, South African, they'd think you're an idiot / ignorant. If you call someone from Ireland, British, they'd think you are an idiot / ignorant.

It is not a matter of language or translation, nor is it a matter of changing your point of view or seeing it from another's point of view. You are simply ignorant of the facts.

Also, please get all your other facts right too. You said he was British, not other people. He has a French father, not a French mother.

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Anonymous January 26, 2011 8:29 pm

Listen, French people, please:

Firstly, there is nothing wrong with British people. They are good people.

Secondly: People from the Republic of Ireland are not British. They have/had a different culture, history and even language to England until very recently. To call people from the ROI 'British' is like calling French people 'German'. It's not offensive, it's just totally wrong. Just because we had to learn a new language in the 19th century does not make us British.

However, about 60% of people in Northern Ireland DO consider themselves British. The reasons for this are historical and you can read all about it on Wikipedia.

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JB January 26, 2011 8:38 pm

^^^ Not disagreeing with you anon. just adding on.

Northern Ireland is part of Britain. However, many do not agree with / support Northern Ireland being part of Britain.

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Anonymous January 26, 2011 11:00 pm

^^ just to be pedantic (and accurate) - Northern Ireland is not part of Britain, but it is part of the United Kingdom.

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The Frenchman January 26, 2011 11:01 pm

I cant believe were on a rugby blog My very, very poor english must be the cause for all that

To anonymous #1 : you know, it happened to me before today to have a look in an encyclopedia (and not only Wikipedia). I even went to school for quite some time, actually. And I think youre not wrong, but Im right. Problem is encyclopedias (and geographs) here, on the continent, dont use the same words to describe the same reality. And here comes the confusion Thats just what Im saying since my first post here.

Your definition of British Isles is right. But Im not saying South Africa IS Africa ; Im saying South Africa is IN Africa and Ireland (Northern Island and Republic of Ireland) is part of the British Isles. OK ? The fact that Northern Ireland is (now) part of the United Kingdom as nothing to do with ; Im talking geographia, not politics. So an Ethiopian, a South African, an Egyptian are all Africans (for the last of them, even when his country was part of the British Empire). A Welsh, a Scottish, an Irish, an English are also british from a geographic point of view but not from a politic or cultural point of view, thats OK and, well, I never said such a thing ! A Breton, a Catalan, a Basque, a Savoyard, a Bourguignon, might not feel French, might not want to be French and I respect that. But they live in France, from a geographical point of view. People from Guadeloupe, La Runion, Guyane undoubtedly are french citizens ; but from a geographical point of view, theyre Caribbean, African, and South American.

These are the facts. And what IS a matter of point of view are the words we use to describe the facts. Words create confusion : similar words to describe different facts, or different words to describe similar facts. British Isles/Islands with British people, but with Scottish/Irish/Welsh/English cultures and politics.

I apologize to Mrs. Rolland. On that point, I was wrong actually.

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Tom January 26, 2011 11:14 pm

Bullshit it's red.
So, so soft if that's red. Insanity.
He puts him down on his side.
His arm is what hits the turf.
If you're going to interpret that everytime a guy loses his feet and his upper body hits the ground is red, we may as well just stop tackling. Just play bloody touch rugby.
It's a ridiculous ruling if you interpret it that way. Upper body could mean anything above the waist!
That could mean that if you tackle a guy and he slips and his back touchs the ground or his hip, you should get red carded! It's fucking crazy to say that should be how the spear tackle interpreted!
What is wrong with rugby these days?
There hasn't been a serious injury from spear tackles in years! Why the sudden overreaction to normal tackles, that have been legal for literally the entire history of rugby union?
"the players could get hurt!" - the palyers could get hurt in any tackle.
Spear tackles were always about guys getting dumped on their heads or necks, that's waht they were brought in for! If a guy lands on his back, side or shoulder, it's part of the game. It's just part of playing the goddamn game.
I imagine league players would laughing their arses off at the softness of rugby union.

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The Frenchman January 26, 2011 11:29 pm

To anonymous #2 : I have nothing wrong with British people. If so, I would never have played rugby, there wouldnt be oil stains in my garage (as Id have an MX-5 instead of that f Spitfire), and other things that way.

I know a bit of recent history of the British Islands, too. My awakening in politics was with the death of Bobby Sands. I was 13.

We wont talk politics here. Thats TOTALLY out of topic. And in that case its probably very, very much better like that.

I was talking geography, not culture, not history, not politics. So once again, and again : saying an Irish (or Welsh, or Scottish) is British, for us continental people, is NOT like saying a French is German (uh-oh, wise guy). Its like saying a French is European. Or like saying a Breton is French even if hes a separatist (we have ours, you know).
YOU are the one who confuses British and English. And if "60% of people in Northern Ireland DO consider themselves British", or English, or Biaffrogallistani, thats their problem, not mine.

And not Fritz. Whahaha.

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jamie January 27, 2011 12:52 am

Frenchman, I get what you are saying and what the anonymous guy is saying, but the situation with Ireland and the UK is complicated. It is not the same as the comparisons / examples either of you gave.

Also, people differentiate themselves more on nationality than geographical locations. If an American asked "where are you from?" you would probably say "I'm from France", not "I'm from continental Europe". An Irish person would say they're from Ireland, not from the British Isles. It's a bit like a Canadian saying s/he is from North America. People don't do it.

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The Frenchman January 27, 2011 9:38 am

At least someone saying something that makes sense... You're right, Jamie, and of course I agree with you.

At the beginning, I just wanted to explain (to explain, not to justify or legitimate) why some people here were counting Alain Rolland in the ranks of "british" referees, giving some anger to others. Nothing more.

But now this is boring. That's enough.

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Neutral rugbyfan January 27, 2011 10:02 am

Why are we attacking someones use of a language which is his second language. As an englishman I would never say RoI is part of Britain, but it is commonplace for the french to call the British people 'les anglais' (the english). Its commonplace in france for these little faux-pas things.

Interesting that very few people tackled the points the frenchman made in a balanced fair way, rather than a 'they only won because he got sent off' or 'english teams can only win against 14 men' or 'rugby is getting soft' (although i agree it is in some areas, like the banning of gentle persuasion of a player to roll away in a ruck or some instances of tackling). Is this maybe because it is balanced and corret - in the eyes of the law a red, in reality a yellow, the way continental europe views referees from britain and ireland, and ultimately lets hear no more on this incident?!?

As for law changes, lets not forget that Professional players have their own representative organisations who stand up for the interests of the player, which they never had 15yrs ago. Could this be influencing the way laws are made?

As far as I'm aware this is rugbydump, where we discuss rugby, bad (and good) reffing, sublime skills and the like, not grammatical and geographical subtleties.

Finally, does anyone know what Fritz was sanctioned with by the disciplinary boards, that will be the ultimate test of 'in retrospect' about what not one man thinks of the law but what rugby as a whole thinks of it.

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(u-p)rick January 27, 2011 12:26 pm

I can't blame Rolland for the red, he has 1 set of eyes and no replay! The big problem for me however is that he was so quick to card fritz.

I understand things always seem more dramatic when referees come screaming over with cards and whistles trailing behind as they boot someone off the pitch. personally though, I'd prefer if refs took their time, consulted the incident with the touch judge and then decided.

This was never a red for me, nor a yellow, nor really a talking to.... As said above, I can't blame Rolland, at the end of the day, if this had been a neck breaker and he did nothing we'd all bitch then...I think it was unfortunate because had it been a neck breaker I doubt fritz would have reacted as he did.... Any news on the latest?

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The Frenchman January 27, 2011 1:04 pm

Fritz will be heard by ERC next wednesday (feb 3rd), because of the red of course and, as expected, for "misconduct" ("inconduite" in french) and "insulting gesture". It's 3 to 52 weeks for that, they say. Well, I wasn't so far when i said 70...

No discussion about Alain Rolland's decision. As (u-p)rick says, he has to take a decision ans there's no video (hope there will never be !) for that kind of actions.
But, well, discipline commissioners do have the time, the replays, the warm and quiet office without bellowing fans... If it's more than 5 weeks, I'll have no other choice than thinking there's something wrong.

No matter of French against British or whatsoever. Matter of power, money, that sort of things. Rejoice ! Rugby is professional...

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The Frenchman again January 27, 2011 1:07 pm

Just one more word : I said "if it's more than 5 weeks" suspension for Fritz. And if it's none, I'll say it's just right.

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tom January 27, 2011 1:45 pm

he should get banned for the whole six nations not for the tackle but for the finger. he's one of the best refs in Europe i think you fogetting that the refs word is final that what you get told when your young do you really want to see what goes on in football come into rugby.

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The Frenchman January 27, 2011 3:08 pm

Have you read what I wrote, tom ? "No discussion about Alain Rolland's decision." Furthermore, I agree with your appreciation of Alain Rolland's value as a referee.

What I discuss is the work of ERC's discipline commission.

There was a red card, OK, no more discussion.
But Rolland didn't give red card because of the finger !! Who really cares about that finger, except Sky, always eager on denouncing whom is not English ? Yes it's rugby, not football; and so, what ? Aren't rugby players human beings, with flesh, nerves, emotions ? Have you ever put a foot on the grass ? Come on, this is ridiculous...

And no, I don't want to see "what goes in football come into rugby" too. But what are you talking about ? Fingers ? Or cheating, simulating ? Or big money, big cars, little brains ? Or industrial, medical, chemical doping ? Or mercenary players going here or there just to get more money ?

It's not Fritz' finger that threatens our sport.

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tom January 28, 2011 2:28 pm

the finger is worse than anything else its not rugby what he did was pathetic

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Benji2046 January 29, 2011 9:53 am

Straight red for THAT? Are you f##king kidding me?? French teams should withdraw from the H Cup as long as british and irish referees and the IRB won't be fair.. Shame on IRB, shame on british and irish refs!!

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