Sunday, December 11, 2011

Isa Nacewa's big hit on Dan Hipkiss at the Rec

Earlier today Heineken Cup defending champs Leinster took a step in the right direction as they beat Bath 18-13 at the Recreation Ground. The entire game was physical and this was one of the bigger hits from the first half.

Bath were in a good position after scoring a try through Matt Banahan on 65 minutes, but Jonathan Sexton controlled things for Leinster in typical manner, kicking six penalties and three in those crucial last fifteen minutes of the game.

Olly Barkley slotted two of his own and converted Banahan's try, but a late penalty and sin-binning for captain Francois Louw meant that Sexton took the game away from the home side with the boot.

Multi-talented back Nacewa, playing on the wing today, put in a huge hit on Hipkiss in the first half. Referee Jerome Garces had a good look at it and didn't seem too bothered, as Nacewa seemed to attempt to grasp the Bath center. Perhaps if Hipkiss hadn't received the aptly named hospital pass from Michael Classons, the blow would have been cushioned slightly.

Bath face Leinster in Dublin next weekend for the return leg, with an uphill battle ahead of them if they are to reach the quarter finals. What are your views on the hit?

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Posted at 4:21 pm | 38 comments

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 38 comments

POCandROG December 11, 2011 6:33 pm

not many arms were used there

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donkeyballs4000 December 11, 2011 8:55 pm

You can clearly see that his left arm wraps around at 1:05. The camera angles don't help but I think the hit was fine. In my opinion, Nacewa commits to the challenge and then readjusts when he notices the ball is loose. If Hipkiss had kept the ball, Nacewa would have probably completed the wrap around and brought him to ground.

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Underdog December 11, 2011 6:41 pm

Not sure what the fuss is over this one. Hipkiss had his hands outstretched and wasn't looking because of the dodgy pass. Nacewa didn't even move that much, just looked like he was ready to smash him, but didn't follow through because Hipkiss had already lost the ball.

It was far from being 'absolutely slaughtered' in any case, though that commentator was just calling it as he saw it. Barnes is a twonk as he got the benefit of seeing that one a few more times and still thinks it's 'hard rugby'. Div.

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BuzzKillington December 12, 2011 1:24 pm

Agreed, Nacewa didn't even commit himself. Hipkiss must be soft

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Pulsey December 11, 2011 6:42 pm

I dont often moan about tackles but that was more shoulder than arm. Should have been yellow.

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Reality December 11, 2011 6:42 pm

Yeah, it looks pretty illegal to me.

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Fettsack December 11, 2011 7:20 pm

It looks like Nacewa's going for a big (legal hit) but stops in the middle when he realises the ball is gone. Still a big shoulder charge so penalty at least.
It looks harder because Hipkiss stopped and wasn't in a strong position.

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Citing Commissioner December 11, 2011 7:38 pm

Shut up Stuart Barnes, grow a pair. It's rugby!

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Juggernauter December 11, 2011 7:48 pm

Personally I think it's OK, at most I'd give a penalty, because Nacewa goes for the big hit but realizes that Hipkiss doesn't have the ball and doesn't commit to the tackle.

But given the way that refs are dealing with the tackling situation these days, with the famous "tip tackle" (which I think is shit, and has taken away the great dump tackles), the spears, high shots, no ball tackles etc, it should have been a yellow.

It's just pathetic that refs have gotten so quirky come tackle time but just can't sort the breakdown, and you just have to look at the percentage of reset scrums per match to spot that there's a problema there.

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Fdb December 11, 2011 7:58 pm

No arms = penality. Nothing more to say.

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Pretzel December 11, 2011 8:12 pm

I'm hoping those calling for penalties and yellows are just being pedantic with regards to the rule book and are not actually voicing their OWN opinions as to what that "tackle/hit" warranted.....

Honestly if you lot are being genuine with your own opinions then the future of rugby is more bleak than I originally anticipated...

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Reality December 11, 2011 9:18 pm

Pretzel, if you want to see a bunch of donkeys make shoulder charges then watch American football or rugby league. Wrapping the man has always been a rule in union, for good reason, and will continue to be so.

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Rich_W December 11, 2011 9:33 pm

I'm with pretzel on this one. What sort of state has rugby descended into if the first thing people think about when seeing this is whether or not it was a yellow or a penalty?!?!

Its a good hard hit, nothing more, nothing less. This game was a great spectacle, heaps of intensity and free flowing rugby. In stark contrast to the stop-start penalty fest that was Leicester v Clermont, refereed by Alain 'by the book' Rolland.

Let it go and let the game flow

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Reality December 11, 2011 9:49 pm

Are you having a laugh? Nacewa f***ed Hipkiss over with an obvious shoulder charge and left him sprawled on the ground gasping for breath. If he had tackled him properly, then fine. But he didn't tackle him properly; he just ran up to him and smashed him with his shoulder. Why is it so wrong to punish that? I'm not saying it was a yellow card, but surely a penalty.

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corsellus December 11, 2011 11:44 pm

firstly, its clear nacewa would have wrapped hipkiss except he dropped ball, so nacewa pulled out of it. Fair enough though, he hit Hipkiss with his shoulder and left him on the ground catching his breath, but he got up again fine. Shoulder charges might hurt a bit but, unlike spear tackles, head-stamping and gouging, they don't cause any kind of real injury. The laws against them should probably be relaxed a bit whereas the laws against stamping and gouging should be strengthened.

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Pretzel December 14, 2011 11:48 am

Hmm reality, I too am wondering where this "very good reason" comes into play. I'm not saying I want every tackle to be like this but it is clear to see he pulled out because the ball was knocked on!

Really I am quite happy to call for cards with certain tackles but these days it seems like you guys are gonna call for cards before the game has started!!!

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IlovetheIRB December 12, 2011 12:57 pm

Wrapping hasn't always been part of union at all. Ever seen, for one example, the way JPR Williams saved a Welsh slam against France in Cardiff with the shoulder charge? Wrapping the arms for a tackle in the context of union history is very recent.

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BuzzKillington December 12, 2011 1:27 pm

What's the "good reason". I'd love to hear it. Haven't had a Rugby fan put one forward yet.

Wrapping tackles are easier than shoulder charges any how.

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jamesfoz December 11, 2011 8:54 pm

If the authorities are going to be consistent then this should have been a penalty and a yellow card. A citing may follow I reckon.

Although we love to see hits like this (as long as the recipient isn't hurt), the game is rugby union not league so tackles should be that and not shoulder charges.

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sithepie December 11, 2011 9:21 pm

Nice hit but probably should have been a penalty at least. Good to see the physicality of the game though.

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Rich_W December 11, 2011 9:38 pm

This entire comment thread has depressed me. Really guys, be the sounds of it you would like RD's next compilation video to be called 'Penalties and Garryowens 12'

Big hits are one of the main reasons we play and watch rugby!

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HeavyHooker December 11, 2011 10:25 pm

Every hit could be classified as a shoulder charge if you took it to the extreme. Take a look, the left arm is clearly wrapped but the thing that makes this look bad is that he was more cross body than with his head to the side. The hit was in the upper body also which makes the wrap so much harder to accomplish you have momentum. No card; hard hit, well played. I suppose that if this is a shoulder charge then the first hit out of the scrum was a spear?

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jamie December 12, 2011 12:41 am

Was that a penalty to the letter of the law? maybe but when is rugby ever played or reffed to the letter of the law and to right, in my opinion he was in the process of rapping his arms round but when he realized the ball was gone he stopped.

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ruckinmaul December 12, 2011 1:57 am

a big hit indeed, nothing more, even a small winger can hit like that if the opposition is unbalance. it is just like you hit a player just after he makes a pass.

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Canadian content December 12, 2011 3:21 am

Tough call, no blatant I'll intent and he appears to be more concerned with the ball, combined with a hospital pass to hipkiss setting him up.

When I played I'd have done the same thing as nacewa. That being said, although these big hits are entertaining, I think they are too costly to a players health and they should be eliminated. Rugby is a physical enough game without us taking liberties with each other. I'm sure my manhood will be questioned by many others but I could care less.

Oh and good to see barnes is up to his usual standard.

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BuzzKillington December 12, 2011 1:30 pm

They're not very costly to a players health though, are they. No more dangerous than a textbook tackle. Arguably less so.

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Pretzel December 14, 2011 6:17 pm

I'm with buzz, there are far more incredibly violent (in terms of quick, hard and LEGAL) hits which could "arguably" do more damage...

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DW December 12, 2011 9:23 am

It just goes to show the effects of good vs. poor body position by both players- it's clear Dan took quite a bump but with very little effort or real intention from Isa.

Honestly how many times do guys get smashed late with far worse shoulder tackles? All the time! Full backs seem especially adept at this when smashing the guy who puts the eventual try scorer in space. Happens all the time and it is never mentioned! Seems fine for your bro to get an illegal shoulder if you score in the end (I can understand not stopping play but far too many go unpunished)!

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Colombes December 12, 2011 11:53 am

i don't think it was malicious from nacewa. he was going for the big hit, but just saw the ball bouncing away, and didn't wrap his arms around.
maybe a penalty, but nothin more

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johndoe December 12, 2011 2:33 pm

I don't see the problem. He hits him in the chest with the arm of the shoulder he hit him with wrapped. Hipkiss bounced back and fell over as soon as Nacewa's left shoulder hit him. How could his other arm have wrapped? Good call by the referee to let it go.

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johndoe December 12, 2011 2:42 pm

And you guys want to see shoulder charges? Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxlQNhLos1E


Nacewa's hit wasn't a shoulder charger. He wrapped his left arm. Hipkiss just bounced backwards immediately after the hit.

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johndoe December 12, 2011 2:58 pm

Meant shoulder charge.

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Dec December 13, 2011 5:38 am

A match where Leinster were unlucky (we're talking one pass each time) to not come away with a winning bonus point, where rugby went end to end and the whole thing was a spectacular contest, and all people care about is the fact Necewa pulling out of a tackle has more force than Hipkiss.

Fact is, Necewa is not a dirty player in any way, he lets his play do the talking and it talks pretty damn loud. He went it for a well timed tackle and foolishly gave Hipkiss too much credit when he committed.

Anyone here watch the match? I havent heard such a blatantly one sided commentary since the H-Cup final. The lads calling the action only know the rules that benefit one team from time to time

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johndoe December 13, 2011 1:31 pm

Barnes is always one-sided. It was a bit of a joke this time though. Terrible commentating.


Just a question, but do the rules require you to wrap both arms? Or just one? Or does it specify? If it says two arms, then it is a penalty, fair enough. But that wouldn't be possible every tackle e.g. this one. Anyway, too many softies here asking for yellow cards. It's rugby lads...

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UlsterJoey December 13, 2011 11:44 am

Watched this on Sunday, messy match but very physical from Leinster even if they did fumble their chances. That attempted tackle should have been a penalty for not attempting to wrap the right arm but a penalty at most, no cards necessary and the penalty isn't even all that necessary since he clearly did make an effort with the left arm.

No one should be surprised at people calling for refs to be strict about this kind of thing, we've had all our teams put up with strict refs sin binning for collapsing the scrum, late tackles, hair pulling ;) so it's only right we ask the refs to be consistent about it and treat all incidents the same in each game!

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gb25 December 14, 2011 5:22 pm

there wasnt nuch attempt to wrap the arms so should be a penalty but if you watched the game you can see that banahan is takcled/pushed before he gets the ball. which created the bad tackle

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Pretzel December 14, 2011 8:55 pm

Ok guys here is a scenario, a player has the ball, you are last man back, you go in for a tackle as the player offloads: (this is where it gets complicated) Now you clearly have enough pace to chase the player down who NOW has the ball, so what do you do? Begin your tackle and "go to ground" or do you let go and chase the guy with the ball.

Honestly this call for penalties, cards etc is weak, I'm not trying to be a "hard man" but let's face it, we don't want the stop start of American football so why would we want to see incidents like this becoming card worthy...

I actually wonder how many players would be on the pitch if you put one of today's referees into a test match 25 years ago....

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