Sunday, May 27, 2012

Motu Matu'u massive hits and great sportsmanship against the Rebels

Hurricanes hooker Motu Matu'u was responsible for taking out two Rebels players within the space of a few minutes in Wellington on Saturday. He put both Mark Gerard and Lachlan Mitchell in hospital, but showed he's a class act too.

About two months ago Matu'u caught everyone's attention with an incredible hit on Matt Hodgson that knocked the Force number eight out cold. He did something similar during the Hurricanes' 66-24 demolishing of the Rebels this weekend, twice.

The first of his huge hits, on Gerard - who made the mistake of trying to dummy and step the replacement hooker - resulted in a damaged sternum. Gerard soldiered on for the rest of the game, despite the quite obvious pain he was suffering from and the concerns for his health. At one stage the female medic was quite comically chasing him around the field to make sure he was okay.

Rebels captain Gareth Delve, who was disappointed in the heavy defeat after they'd won their last two games, said that despite the brutal nature of them, the hits were perfectly legal.

"I didn't see any issue with the tackles," he said. "The guy's hit hard and Mark Gerrard showed great courage staying out there otherwise we would have been down to 13 men."

Mitchell was smashed by Matu'u in another ferocious tackle only a minute or so after Gerard, knocking him out instantly, resulting in him being stretchered off the field.

"With Lachie, it's a sad sight to see him go off like that," Delve said of Mitchell, who having not missed a match in their 28 game history in Super Rugby, will now be relegated to the sidelines.

On a positive note, Matu'u showed a tremendous act of sportsmanship as he went over to check on Mitchell as soon as he could, and just like Tana Umaga did to Colin Charvis some time back, turned him over to prevent choking or serious problems.

He thanked everyone for the positive support the next day, and admitted via Twitter that his opposition weren't the only ones hurting. "Body feels like it's been hit by a car," he said.

You can view other great acts of sportsmanship, and big hits, in the related posts below. We don't have a full clip of the Jerry Collins/Colin Charvis/Tana Umaga moment, but there is a short clip in the Collins 'Terminator' feature, also listed below, so have a look at that to see it.

Posted by Rugbydump at 5:37 am | View Comments (78)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 78 comments

Dan May 27, 2012 7:36 am

Quality act of good sportsmanship. Well done Matu'u. That's what footie is all about.

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Full Back May 27, 2012 8:33 am

Great act of sportsmanship but after a serious neck injury in our team left a guy in a wheelchair, it's something we've been told never to do. Seeing the arms move can sometimes lead people to believe there's no fracture, but moving a guy with a hairline fracture (common from whiplash) can sometimes make things worse.

Looks like an interesting prospect, how old is this guy?

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Jeroz May 27, 2012 8:56 am

according to the first related post, he is 24.

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granite668 May 28, 2012 8:12 am

Moving a guy with a spinal/neck fracture can indeed cause/increase serious damage to the spinal cord. In a case where the guy isn't breathing, though, its the lesser of two evils. Was it the right thing to do here? Not sure, and only the medics on the scene could answer that.

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Full Back May 28, 2012 3:11 pm

It doesn't look like he checked the guys breathing and wasn't too ginger about moving the guy either. There's a way to do it and this isn't it. His saving grace would be his undoubted best intentions, but I'd question the intelligence behind promoting such acts of "kindness".

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Petone Boy May 27, 2012 8:46 am

F#$k me! Legitimate in every way, but so brutal. Proves that you dont need to throw in the armless shoulder tackle to make a big hit. Awesome sportsmanship too, like Dan said, thats what footy is about!

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rocco11 May 27, 2012 9:57 am

Sporting indeed but does anyone else think this guys tackling technique is completely illegal? He is deliberately going for for the chest with his head down. There are a couple of Samoans playing for my team here in Dublin who go for the same thing once or twice in every game. The other teams in our league got wise to this and started leading with the fist when they saw the boys setting themselves up for this kinda hit.

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moddeur May 27, 2012 11:34 am

I was thinking a bit along the same lines. It's not that his tackle is illegal, it's that he hits the chest head on. I've always been told to tackle with my head to the side of a player's body, but Matu's hits head on. As a result there is no way that he can put his arms around the opponent at the same time, his arms go around later on, which accounts for the ballistic nature of these two tackles.
It accounts for great tackles, but at this rate Matu'u albeit strong will have to stop his rugby career early on for one of the following: neck injury, vertebral collapse, or worse.

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Demosys May 27, 2012 10:28 am

Matu'u smashes Mitchell with a high and dangerous "tackle" and makes a more dangerous move by putting him on the side and it's great sportmanship ? Are you kidding?

Matu'u put two players in hospital and he gets a video on Rugbydump ? Great. He just deserves a red card for high tackle and that's it.

I'm sick to see week after week that kind of video where dangerous "tackles" like this one are glorified.
I would just remind you that here we are talking about Rugby Union. It's not League, Footy or US Football. It's Union with its rules. And according to these rules Matu'u deserves a card.

Sorry for beeing soured old man who just loves this sport.

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Ben May 27, 2012 10:28 pm

Bullshit, this is NOT a high tackle, he's way behind the shoulders... LOOK AGAIN

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Markus May 29, 2012 10:30 pm

Certainly not a high tackle.... it was clean and simple a case of the two runners believing that they were throwing and selling a dummy, which in both cases turn out to be running into a moving wall, but then again I see a France logo on your post...always whining about something

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schneet May 28, 2012 11:57 am

Both mitchell and hodgeson from the force game a few weeks back duck into the tackles. Matu'u gets low, leads with his shoulder and uses his arms. Perfectly legal hits..... really dont understand what everyone is crying about...

Secondly neck injures from whiplash come from high speed impacts like car accidents... although you could compare getting tackled by Matu'u and getting hit by a bus, i think he did the right thing by checking to see if mitchell was alive and putting him in the rescue position. There is very little risk of a neck injury for a tackle unless you drop the guy on his head.

The lesson to take from this video is do not run straight at this guy and if you do for the love of god, dont get low and try bounce him.

Legal tackles and good sportsmanship

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stroudos May 28, 2012 5:48 pm

"The lesson to take from this video is do not run straight at this guy and if you do for the love of god, dont get low and try bounce him."

Amen brother. Perfectly summed up!

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Callum C March 07, 2013 4:07 pm

you may be a 'soured old man' but neither of those 2 were high tackles so get your techniques right before slating such an awesome player and tackler and also someone with great sportsmanship, i am medically trained and regarding moving his body if he is out cold then putting him in the recovery position is the first thing to do e.g life preservation comes before being paralyzed, but only he would know that by looking at him face on we can only judge him but i say good on him !!!!

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RedYeti May 27, 2012 11:22 am

Have to agree with the general sentiment here. The tackles may not technically be illegal, but they're pretty dangerous, for both players involved. He leads with the head like an NFL tackler, only he doesn't have a helmet and neck-brace to protect him... I can see him getting a serious head/neck injury in the future if he keeps tackling like that, and he's going to keep hospitalising other players, which can't be good for the game.

Also as others have pointed out, quickly rolling a guy over like that could have left him paralyzed for life

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fifthandlast May 27, 2012 11:34 am

Absolutely have to agree with some of the previous commenters, the damage in both impacts is done with the back of the head to the chin. If Matuu continues tackling like that it surely can't be long before we see him pick up an injury himself.

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fanorugby May 27, 2012 12:35 pm

It is comments like this that sour rugbydump. Rugby is not about proving you're a man by hurting someone. Saying one nation is soft because of one's owns opinions is ridiculous.

There are different dynamics in league and union, what the comments above say, in a pretty rational manner, is that this tackling is dangerous regardless of the letter of the union law. They mainly point to the fact that is dangerous to the tackler.

That isn't them saying lets all wear pads and only tackle around the ankles - I'm sure they would like to see huge hits as much as the next guy. They are saying that dangerous tackling should be discouraged as much as possible.

I would prefer to see a huge clean hit where both guys get up and walk away over a huge hit like the above where you wince on seeing the slow motion replay thinking "bugger, he could snap his neck" any day of the week. (Such as in the premiership final this weekend with Tuilangi making a huge hit on Mike Brown)

In short, cartersmn - we can all do without your moronic chat.

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kilcaroon May 27, 2012 12:50 pm

cartersmn there is no need to get personal with a countries national sports!! using comments like 'paddy' are just plain insulting and small minded, just comment on the tackle and leave the politically motivated crap out!!

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RedYeti May 27, 2012 1:30 pm

He is hitting just high enough on the chest to clip their chins with his head and knock people out. This is incredibly dangerous, obviously, but not technically illegal at the moment. If it catches on I can see the laws being adjusted to take this into account. We can't have players getting knocked unconscious by what are essentially flying headbutts.

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themull May 28, 2012 12:39 pm

Ferris and O'Brien really are making the game soft you're right...

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Fettsack May 27, 2012 12:32 pm

Theses tackles are dangerous and maybe the authorities should have a chat about how to ref them because both of these also seem perfectly legal to me.
When he rolled him it was clearly out of good intention, he put him in the "security position" for someone who has passed out, so he doesn't choke on his own tongue. Unfortunately as several pointed it out, it is dangerous for the player if there's a neck injury.
I think the players should be told how to react quickly in this sort of situations.

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fanorugby May 27, 2012 12:36 pm

Spot on.

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Jon May 28, 2012 12:48 am

Here's the thing. It's rugby. Every tackle is 'dangerous'. That's most of the point.
When a guy makes a hit, he is trying to smash the other bloke, not just slow him down.
That's rugby.

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Full Back May 28, 2012 3:20 pm

Not at all, whatever you do in Rugby should be done with the intent to gain territory. Most people are taught to tackle by putting their head to one side and follow through once you've wrapped, that's rugby. Flying headbutts and attempts to injure have nothing to do with the sport.
Injuries are a consequence, not the aim of the game.

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Jon May 29, 2012 12:36 am

Sorry mate but as much as that sounds wonderful, it's simply not true.
If you think for a second that rugby players at the top level don't go out to bash the other team you don't actually know the game or understand what's happening.
They use euphemisms like "physically dominating the opposition" or "getting some physicality into their play", but what it means is bashing the other players.
It's half the battle in rugby. If you can physically intimidate the other team and rough them up, you are well on your way to victory.
To deny this is like saying that boxing is just about scoring points by landing accurate strikes in the right areas. Technically true in a sense but essentially naive and ignorant of a whole other aspect of the sport.
Especially at this level, players absolutely try to smash each other with big tackles. And frankly, it's part of the appeal of the sport.

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Full Back May 29, 2012 8:51 am

Physically dominating, and intent to injure are not the same thing. I've played the game for over 20yrs now and have been involved at most levels. I've never once seen a guy happy to have injured someone. I'm also involved with what's called "smart rugby", something started off in New Zealand that's now gathering momentum around the world.
The point being to improve technique and safe practice in what is essentially a physically demanding sport. It's dangerous when you don't know what you're doing.
To compare Rugby to Boxing is very "apples" and "oranges". In one the object is to knock your opponent unconcious, in the other you try to score points and the variety of tactics involved is infinite.
I don't agree with your statement that every tackle is "dangerous" and that it's most of the point, that's way off the mark for me. Making yourself felt and imposing yourself physically doesn't require dangerous play or trying to injure. It requires fitness and technique. Physically dominating is bullying people off the ball at rucks and driving them back in the tackles. Done with proper technique it's appealing to spectators and less dangerous for players.
Bit of advice, as you don't know who you're writing to, take the condescending tone out of your messages. To presume that whoever disagrees with you "doesn't know rugby" is about as arrogant as you can get.

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Jon June 01, 2012 5:36 am

Apologies if any offense was caused, none was intended.
In retrospect my language was a bit strong, and with the internet you can't infer tone.

I agree with you incidentally, that players don't go out to injure, but I believe that players do go out to knock the other team around.

It's a fine line, but it's more than just winning territory.

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Full Back June 02, 2012 10:16 am

Well they are highly toned athletes at this level and there's a great deal of adrenaline involved. The difference I guess is semantics, one is what Rugby is about (gaining territory, scoring points) one is the effect of priming a guy up and getting him psyched for the game (going out with the intent of going through everyone and anyone with an opposition jersey)
You're right though, I notice people get hostile quite quickly on the net.
No offence meant or taken on my part, it's all good.

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hardhitter May 27, 2012 12:34 pm

Tackles are fine, raps his arms around, below the shoulders, and he rolls him over because its the recovery position, risk of broken neck is better then suffocating on your tongue. Its great stuff, those backs shouldn't try and run into forwards.

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Guy May 27, 2012 2:09 pm

Dangerous? Obviously!
Illegal? Debatable. It depends on how much you slow the action down in the video. I don't know the rules on ''leading with the head'' in a tackle.
Good sportsmanship? Most certainly. I believe he was genuinly concerned about the guy he knocked out.
Tana got the same critisism from his own medics when he rolled Charvis over. To him it seemed the best thing to do at the time. From a medical point of view maybe it isn't. But you can't blame him for being concerned...

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korock May 27, 2012 3:21 pm

For all you commenting that he led/leads with his head....check again! Particularly the Mark Gerard tackle....he is in perfect position but Gerard steps at the last minute causing his head to come into contact with his chest. If Gerard had continued along his expected route it would simply have been shoulder vs chest! As for his moving of the knocked out player...he obviously had good intentions and Im sure if there was any wrong in what he did he will be informed. Totally good sportsmanship. He checked on him twice!

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dave May 27, 2012 5:17 pm

so i'm from Canada and in our national sport of ice hockey we've had a big ordeal with concussions ever since our games best player sidney crosby was out most of last season with a concussion, they dont really know as much as they would like to know about concussions and I was wondering since Rugby doesn't have any protective gear besides mouthgaurds if your sport had an advanced protocol with concussion and might know more about it since it looks like that sort of thing happens a lot in Rugby?

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Guy May 28, 2012 9:38 am

Dave, Rugby World magazine wrote an special report about it in their april 2011 issue. In rugby in general it is being recognised as a serious injury. The long term consequences of frequent concussion are not even clear (depression for example?). An on field test has been developed to determine if a player is concussed (the Maddocks questions). It seems that in a worst case scenario you can die of concussion within two hours.

Too much info to share here. Maybe you can find the article somewheren in the interweb. It's called Special Report Concussion.

PS most players know the risk of getting concussed so you adapt your tackling technique. It's a bit harder to control when you get injured because of what your opponent does to you. Therefor I personally have no problem whatsoever with rules that are designed to protect players health.

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dave May 28, 2012 8:33 pm

k thanks man

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HeavyHooker May 27, 2012 5:51 pm

I am a coach for Juniors, if I had any of my boys hitting with this head position on a repeated occasions they would be doing many push-ups and field laps until they learned better. This is a dangerous precedence to be included as a "good hit" from a tacklers point of view. No card is warranted but this is just down right bad form.
Good on Motu for his attention to the other player though, that is one thing I do teach my players - stopping the other side does not mean you stop caring for their health and safety.

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Enjoythepain May 27, 2012 9:06 pm

What is happening to the analytical skills of people on RD?!

This is totally legal tackling! Matuu is quite clearly a beast who drives through people even if they are running full tilt at him........ just tries to blow everyone up on impact....... if his opponents don't prepare for it correctly then accidents can happen.

Firstly with Gerrard, Mutuu is setting himself for the big one but Gerrard steps at the last moment so Mutuu's head gets caught on Gerrard's chest........ accidental quite clearly.

Secondly with Mitchell, Mutuu puts in one of the best example of tackling technique you will ever see - his body angles and head position are just perfect....... the problem happens because Mitchell ducks his body into it and therefore his chin into Mutuu's shoulder. Can't blame Mutuu as the big man had already lowered his shoulder down to about belly button height.

Just get a grip people and try not to encourage law makers to ruin the game even further....... otherwise they'll be outlawing 'too violent' legal hits for player safety.........

I've got a better suggestion: don't run straight into Mutuu!

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kenc May 29, 2012 5:49 am

Changing the rules to protect player safety.... whatever next?

it is consistent hits like this that made american football helmets regulation. Can you really argue that tackles where heads clash aren't dangerous?

Whose fault is it? It's a legal tackle that the attacker is trying to lean into and it is this dipping into the tackle that leads to the clash of heads. Can't really blame the attacker as he's trying to protect himself from being crunched and the defender has set himself up at an initially legal height to smash the attacker.

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Ben May 27, 2012 10:26 pm

Nothing wrong with the tackles. Like Enjoythepain said, accidents in this case are mostly due to the position of the players being tackled.

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Flanker Joe May 27, 2012 10:32 pm

This is ridiculous, the first is slightly worse I'd say but as Gerrard steps just before the tackle Matuu probably just didnt have the time to react.

With regards to his actions after the second tackle I genuinely dont see how anyone can have a bad word to say about it, he's seen the guy is knocked out and put him in the recovery position. Yes it may not have been the best thing to do in hindsight, but he was clearly concerned and simply tried to help a stricken opponent, get a grip people!!!

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Pretzel May 28, 2012 12:08 am

Can't say I ever heard its illegal to aim for chest height and dip your head into the tackle...

Firt tackle the 14 stepped in, otherwise his head would have been on the 14's left hand side...

The second was just unfortunate...

I'd never considered the dangers of moving someone, that is a very good point... he did it with the best intentions, so I don't blame him but I'm surprised it isn't more commonly highlighted that doing that could be dangerous..

Great video

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Izzy May 28, 2012 12:18 am

How bout we just tackle below the waist only from now on, would that be good enough for you guys? The tackles were legit, its not his fault gerard changed direction at the last second and the other guy bent down in to him at the last second but still the tackles were legal.

It seems like you're not allowed to hit hard anymore without someone complaining about it.

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Pretzel May 28, 2012 1:25 am

WHAT??!?? You're kidding right... tackling below the waist is just as dangerous!!! I would suggest touch but who knows how dangerous that could be on our hands...

How about "proximity tackling"... tackler gets within 30cm from the ball carrier and he has to put the ball down..

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Jon May 28, 2012 12:39 am

Good tackles. In the SH this is just regarded as excellent tackling.

For some reason a lot of NH fans seem to have a very soft attitude to great hits like this. Why?

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Pretzel May 28, 2012 1:24 am

What gave you the impression all the naysayers on here were from the NH and all the supporters were from the SH?

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Jon May 28, 2012 1:29 am

Maybe that was unfair, if so I apologise.
It just seems that way to me. I recognise a few of the posters as being from the NH, and it's far more common in the European leagues to see hits like this critisized by commentators, penalised and carded by refs and booed by fans.

Many of the hits I see penalised and carded in the T14 in particular would be considered perfectly fine in Super rugby. Applauded if anything.

I just feel like European rugby has gone too far, it's like they look for shoulder charges where there are none and penalise any lifting tackle no matter what.

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BuzzKillington May 28, 2012 7:08 pm

Your right, I'm in the NH, it's a lot softer here. The reason is there is too much soccer influence on the sport because of how big soccer is here. But none of the nh based rugby fans and players will admit it, because that means admitting the game is softer than down in the SH.

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Ando May 28, 2012 3:19 am

Was watching the match live and when I saw his genuine act of sportsmanship and concern for the opposition player I immediately hoped Rugbydump would feature it. Glad you guys did, the young guy deserves the recognition! Oh, and both were cracking, great hits - talk about making an impact on the game!

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Canadian content May 28, 2012 3:27 am

The first thing I thought when I saw any of his big hits, was jeez that looks dangerous. Might be legal now but shouldn't be. Head making contact with head is reckless and dangerous. And as a trained emergency responder, no do not turn someone who has suffered a head injury on their side. Nice sentiment maybe, but that possibly fractures vertebrate could slice right thru the spinal cord with a simple twist of the body.

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stroudos May 28, 2012 9:33 am

CC, I'm not a trained emergency responder and I don't have the actual stats in front of me, but I believe I'm right in saying that the possibility of vertebrae slicing through the spinal cord are well under 1 in 100, whereas the benefit in the remaining 99+ out of 100 cases of moving an unconscious person into the recovery position, (ie avoiding the far higher risk of the tongue blocking the person's breathing), significantly outweighs that risk.

I mean you need to pray that you don't get one of those very rare instances of inadvertently paralysing someone, but as I understand it the chances of doing so are so slim that the more responsible option is almost always to take action rather than just leave them lying there.

The whole "do nothing" mantra reminds me of the stories in recent years of rescue services letting people drown because they haven't done the relevant module in their health & safety training yet.

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Guy May 28, 2012 9:47 am

I see your point Stroudos, and statistically I think you are right. Nevertheless, if I moved an injured player and he would be unlucky enough to be left paralized (the so called 1 in a 100) I think I would be feeling guilty the rest of my life.

Hell: in the US I would probably be taken to court for it and I would probably get sentenced to a few million dollar in damages.

Maybe it would be good to instate a law that asks any player to immediately draw the attention of the referees and the medics. They can be there in about 10 seconds.

(I am from the Netherlands: we think we can solve everything with some new rules, whahahahahaha)

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stroudos May 28, 2012 11:36 am

Aha, but how guilty would you feel if you'd stood idly by and watched a bloke simply stop breathing, in the knowledge that some simple first aid by you would have almost definitely saved his life?

Just to clarify, "1 in 100" is my estimate only - or, more accurately, my guess. But I'm fairly confident that the probability is somewhere in that order.

An old team-mate of mine once got knocked clean out during a game. It didn't look good at all. Ref calls out "is anyone here a doctor?" Our captain replied "Well, yes, but he's lying on the ground unconscious"...

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Full Back May 28, 2012 3:28 pm

Stroudos, it's not a case of roll him over or do nothing at all. First you talk to the guy, see if he responds, if he's unconcious you check his breathing, if he's not breathing you roll him, if he is breathing you leave him. There's a method and an order in which to do things. Running over and flipping the guy like a sack of spuds is not to be advised, stats or no stats.
As I said before, fair play to the guy for his sportsmanship, but I think in this day and age of pro-rugby, big hits etc. A little first aid wouldn't go astray.
As for the tackle, nothing wrong with it really, I'd have a look at ruck clean outs before I started adjusting the rules on chest high tackles.
Love the "proximity rugby idea"...hilarious

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stroudos May 28, 2012 5:34 pm

Fair enough mate, good points well made.
Agree with all of that.

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Pretzel May 29, 2012 11:50 am

On a rugby pitch I'd wait for the docs lol..

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wilson10 May 30, 2012 7:50 am

Your definately getting mixed up between breathing and responding here Full Back. Your right in saying he should have checked for a response and breathing first but I think it's clear that Mitchell has been knocked out.

If a casualty is NOT breathing you need to commence the process of CPR, if he is breathing but not responding you roll him into the recovery position to open the airway and prevent him choking on his own tongue/body fluids etc.

There is of course the added complication of a neck or spinal injury but Stroudos is right in saying these instances are very very rare and most of the time impossible to detect without scans and expertise in the area. Also from hit there is no reason to believe that a serious spinal injury has occurred, might have been different if Mitchell had of been flipped and landed on his head etc.

Perhaps Matu'u could have turned him with more care but he was definately doing the right thing in this instance and it's great to see a player having this awareness.

Two incredibly physical but legal tackles IMO.

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Full Back May 30, 2012 11:47 am

Yeah you're right about the CPR (to think I did a course and all :D), but my point was that you shouldn't just run over and flip someone, you need to follow a certain procedure.
As for the spinal injuries, I'm afraid it's much easier than some people here seem to believe. Stroudos is absolutely right about the likelyhood, but in Rugby you can have a hairline fracture and not realise it and end up paralysed from the littlest thing (it's what happened my mate unfortunatley).
Once you get involved with fundraising a whole world opens up and you realise just how many avoidable injuries occur. Look up JK14, it's a fundraising association started by John Kirwan for just these types of injuries.
Anyways, alls well that ends well...for me the right thing is to look for a response, assure yourself that the guy hasn't swallowed his tongue and let the med staff do their thing. I think it's dangerous to encourage player intervention as I don't believe he did much evaluation before he flipped the guy. More instinct than awareness IMO.
Agree also on the tackles being legal, nothing wrong with them I reckon.

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matthew May 29, 2012 10:35 pm

the first was with the head, but not deliberate and you would certainly thing that the tackler would com off worse, second one was a clean hit no other way to look at it...apart from that good luck with holding back the USA over taking Canada in North America within the next few years

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ollie May 28, 2012 9:59 am

It seems that everyone is in agreement that these are dangerous tackles and the debate is around legality. One perspective could be that these are high but it's a grey area.

Regardless of the initial point of contact, it's where the tackle finishes that defines it as high or not. He's finishing with the top of his head in contact with the tacklees chins. So does that mean it's high? If it was his arm/shoulder rather than his head that was doing the tackling, then these would be high...

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Enjoythepain May 28, 2012 12:10 pm

No everyone is not in agreement!

A large amount of posters (if you bothered to read all the comments) correctly feel that these are totally legal tackles and it was the actions of the opponent (stepping, ducking down) that caused the problems.

These tackles are 100% legal and you can't penalize Mutuu for being one of the most unbelievable tacklers in the history of the game........... what he's done this season is just legendary.

When at school I always tried to tackle like this, but if an opponent was running full tilt at me i'd have to turn and give to the momentum otherwise I'd injure myself...... I'm only 80kg you see! When I didn't do this I dislocated my shoulder.......... Mutuu doesn't do this even at pro level, he sets himself and smashes straight through professional opponents even if that are running at top speed............ that is unique and legendary........ the only other two players I can think of who have done this are Henry Tuilagi and Brian Lima but they're tackling technique was sometimes questionable.

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ollie May 28, 2012 3:54 pm

If you'd bothered to read my post you'd have noticed that I said the debate was around the legality, not the danger element of these tackles. The dangerous bit speaks for itself - 2 tackles - 2 injuries. As for the actions of the opponent - this is never taken into account in any situation when considering if a tackle is legal - responsibility for a safe tackle lies with the tackler not the tacklee.

It is not the point of impact that makes these tackles dangerous or arguably illegal - it is the way he rides up into people's faces.

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Subby May 29, 2012 12:32 am

Of course the action of the ball runner is taken into account. Hundreds of times I've seen a ball carrier hit clean in the head with the tackler's shoulder and not be penalised. Why? Because they slipped over or were tripped by another tackler as they came into contact. You're saying that the tackler needs to jump out of the way at the last second if there's a chance the ball carrier might fall over. Ridiculous!

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ollie May 28, 2012 10:01 am

As for the good sportsmanship, the intent is clearly good, but players should be better informed as to what to do. If this had been a Thom Evans incident then he could have killed him by rolling him. Great to see that his heart's in the right place though.

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Ric May 28, 2012 10:24 am

I am really struggling to believe people are complaining about the tackles here.
There is nothing wrong with them. Yes - tackling is potentially dangerous, as are scrums, lineouts, kick off receptions etc etc. Maybe we should ban all these as well?

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Colombes May 28, 2012 10:36 am

2 brutal but perfectly legal tackles, and also great sportmanship
brutal doesn't mean illegal, as these 2 tackles were well executed under the shoulders
but like said, in some previous comments, the irb laws create tackles, as players will always try to find new ways to tackle "hard" in the laws.
there's a tendancy to see tacklers make the first impact with the shoulder or the elbow and then bring the player on the ground. this first "shoulder" impact can be dangerous but for the moment, never malicious

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kadova May 28, 2012 11:24 am

I've a medical cert so here is what i was taught.
We learnt you must put someone who lost consciousness in the security position because he can die otherwise, apart when a spinal cord damage is obviously at risk, like in motorcycle accidents when you must not remove the head gear either.
From the video, it looks right to me to do so.

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BuzzKillington May 28, 2012 6:59 pm

The most devastating legal tackler in the game today, and what is the response to his tackles? A bunch of softies crying that him hitting hard isn't in the spirit of the game!

This is ridiculous. Players can't win with all the soccer-like fans in the game today.

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stroudos May 28, 2012 11:33 pm

Can I just add one more comment about the quality of this guy's tackling. Very often with these big hits clips, they look great but continue watching and the ball is secured by the opposition. In both cases here Motu'u is on his feet ready to contest the ball immediately. In the first one, he's first to the ruck and smashes a flanker off it securing very quick ball for his team; in the second he pops up onto his feet immediately after making the hit, grabs the ball and makes 5+m before going to ground and presenting good clean ball.

In other words, not only is this bloke an absolute monster, he's techincally very competent too.

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Jon May 29, 2012 2:20 pm

The reason he's able to do this (which I agree he does superbly) is because of his body position going into the tackle. It is virtually identical to a perfect ruck-clearing position, and so, having won the initial contact, he is perfectly placed to contest the ball. It is a high risk/reward approach however for smaller players to use, as there is a very real possibility of being bounced.
As for the legality of the tackles, I don't hold with the suggestion that any moves to improve player safety necessarily require the softening of the game, you can hit hard and low and still win the ball. It is worth noting however that the injury suffered by Gerard here is to the chest, not the head, and that the injury incurred by Mitchell appears to occur as Matu'u's head slides up his chest. Legislating around the movement of the body after initial contact is a difficult thing to consider, clearly these tackles have injured players and have the potential to injure more, but where do you draw the line?

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schneet May 29, 2012 2:46 pm

look at the second hit, mitchell runs at him and gets low and tries to run him over.... You cannot blame the head on head contact on matu'u... What would you like him to do drop onto his knees to make a tackle everytime someone leans into him??

if mitchell had run at him up right he would have been hit in the stomach not the chest... He tried to go for the bounce and got cut in half. His fault for trying to be a hero....

Matu'u got into a perfect postion to make the hit, with body postion like that you are never going to perform a spear tackle unless you stand up after contact and tip a player on purpose. Less risky technique than alot of other players if you ask me..

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Jon May 29, 2012 4:22 pm

I completely agree, the point I'm making is that the tackle's were both superb, and neither the ball-carrier's body position, nor the natural motion of two colliding bodies immediately after contact are things the tackler can do a lot about. Injuries will occur, especially when backs try to bulldoze front-rowers. Obviously the IRB ought to maximise player safety but personally, I just think this is a case of guys getting hit hard and fair by a big guy in form.

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Pretzel May 29, 2012 5:40 pm

Are you guys really still on about the legality of the tackles? The first one was fine, in fact if the Rebels player hadn't stepped in I doubt it would have resulted in an injury.

The second tackle was fine.. the law stipulates that tackles should not be higher than the shoulder... so aiming for a chest high, or even shoulder high tackle is perfectly fine. I have no suspicions that he tried to get head on head contact.. in fact if half of you arm chair players up there actually picked up a ball once in a while you'll find that it is quite common for heads to clash. They generally don't produce the same outcome but its not unheard of... Get over it, we like hard tackles, and if they send someone to the hospital then fingers crossed the bloke is going to be fine.. but last time I heard, we were all very much aware of the dangers of rugby before we set foot on the pitch...

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Pretzel May 29, 2012 5:42 pm

And just to add, if you're NOT aware of the dangers then you have no right to get anywhere near a pitch!

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stroudos May 29, 2012 9:01 pm

Not sure why you're getting all Billy-Big-Bollocks about it or who you're having a pop at here?? The last 5+ comments all agree with what you're saying...

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Pretzel May 30, 2012 11:36 am

Big man syndrome.. I haven't thrown my weight round recently...

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ciaranbrk May 31, 2012 12:39 pm

He moved him into the recovery position looks like somebody took first aid still great sportsmanship.

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Rugby doc May 31, 2012 7:11 pm

As a rugby medic - the technique reminds me of Trevor Leota (Wasps). Eventually referees decided he was tackling with his head which is illegal. Samoans often have short arms which means a wrap-tackle is more difficult than a head collision with an attempt to use the arm later on (which is illegal).

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