Saturday, April 20, 2013

Josh Matavesi banned for brutal high tackle on Neil De Kock

Worcester centre Josh Matavesi wasn't available for this weekend's Aviva Premiership match against Harlequins as he was banned for four weeks on Wednesday. The suspension came after an awful challenge he made on Neil De Kock last weekend.

English born Matavesi, who made his Fiji debut in 2009, coat-hangered De Kock in what was described as 'a horrendous challenge' by Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. 

McCall was fuming at the tackle, which wasn't spotted by the referee or his officials at the time, as can be heard on the referee mic on numerous occasions in the below video.

"We could have lost our scrum half for the rest of the season and it's luck that he hasn't broken his jaw or fractured his cheekbone," said McCall afterwards. "It was a horrendous challenge and we're pretty upset about it. Neil's okay but it's through sheer chance that he's okay.

"It looked pretty deliberate to me - unquestionably - so if that was a ploy they were going to try and use during the game I thought we needed a bit of protection from the officials."

McCall vented his anger towards the opposition bench at the time, something former Warriors boss Richard Hill [Hill was replaced by Dean Ryan in midweek] sympathised with.

"It was a very clumsy challenge from Josh, but he's not a malicious player. It was badly mistimed. Josh has apologised and I fully understand Mark's reaction to protect his player," he said.

At a RFU disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, 22-year-old Matavesi pleaded guilty to the dangerous tackle charge and was banned for four weeks, ruling him out of the last two games of the season.

The ban runs until 6th May, two days after Worcester's season ends, then reactivates from 31 May to 6 June, which means he'll miss the opportunity to represent Fiji in their first two matches of the Pacific Nations Cup against Japan and Canada. Some may say four weeks is lenient for this.

Do you agree that it's probably one of the worst high tackles ever seen? Browse through the related posts for more, including a howler from Fritz Lee in 2010.

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:16 pm | View Comments (43)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 43 comments

To April 21, 2013 12:58 am

It's high and late and a swinging arm, but is it the worst tackle ever seen? I think you may be exaggerating RD. each of the clips of other high shots are worse

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Dave April 21, 2013 1:28 am

Can't complain about 4 weeks there.

Unless you compare it to a kick to the head!

(I jest, of course, about the second part)

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DrG April 21, 2013 1:30 am

Typical NH supporters, this kind of thing happens every game in the SH, should just let it go, this is a mans sport, if you can't take this then don't play....

...and the other usual NH SH bullshit..

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Dave Top Comment | April 21, 2013 1:38 am

Lots of things happen every game, like offsides, knock ons and forward passes.

You're right though. If it happens every game down south, that makes it OK.

(Before I get called for being a pussy, I don't care. There's tough and there's hard, and there's hitting someone late and high. I know which of those I respect.)

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RedYeti April 21, 2013 12:29 pm

He was obviously being sarcastic...

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Will April 21, 2013 2:05 pm

I'm from the NH but every weekend I watch every Super 15 game, how the hell can you even say things like that happen every weekend? 'Should just let it go'!? What's wrong with you, if you don't think that's a bad tackle then you shouldn't be playing rugby.

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DrG April 21, 2013 11:19 pm

Sigh... If it seems to ridiculous to be true then perhaps it is...

..I thought the ".and the other usual NH SH bullshit.." had it all covered but I guess not.

Just to clarify: hideous tackle, 4 weeks ban seems a tad lenient...

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 1:45 am

I was more interested listening to the referee. He says "It doesn't matter I haven't seen that. I had a player in the way and I didn't see it I'm sorry. I heard it but I didn't see it"

I understand that if the referee does not see foul play he cannot act on it, however in this case surely it is the duty of the touch judge (who is also a professional referee) to bring foul play to the attention of the referee.

In this case I am surprised the referee did not defer to a touch judge during the stoppage to consult as he obviously suspected that foul play may have happened ('I heard it but didn't see it').

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HowardTheDuck April 21, 2013 11:52 am

You're right, if foul play does occur and the ref doesn't spot it, he can ask the assistant referees if they have seen anything. However, if the Ass. Ref. has seen anything that may involve foul play (or law infringement in general) he will adequately signal it with his flag. :)

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Stanners April 21, 2013 12:37 pm

If you listen carefully, just before the Saracens player rightly points out he has been smashed, the ref says "Robin", most likely a question to the closest AR to ask if he has seen anything. given the lack of response, the ref had no option but to play on if he hadn't seen anything.
Failing that, if an AR sees something the ref doesn't they will normally come on over the mic anyway to point it out... so it would appear they were all just in the wrong place at the wrong time

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matt April 22, 2013 12:04 am

Is the premiership not part of the extended TMO rules?

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Stanners April 25, 2013 3:04 pm

Most Definately the Referee can bring percieved foul play to the attention of the TMO to have a look and suggest correct sanction. In this instance, as we know, this is useless as none of the officials saw anything.

Must admit, I thought that this could work the other way, with the TMO saying he has seen something, but again, that would likely depend on the camera shot he had at that moment (which would be the ESPN feed - so blatantly obvious), as by the time replays were being shown it would probably be too late.

On the other hand, maybe the TMO can't say he has seen anything... I'm not sure anymore, because I thought I had seen a TMO interrupt before

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Stanners April 25, 2013 3:07 pm

Oh, but yes, the game wasn't televised... Forgot that bit - No TMO available

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HeavyHooker April 21, 2013 4:17 am

I have an idea, let's start up a league called the SHRU (Southern HemIsphere Rugby Union) where clotheslines, late hits, tip tackles, shoulder charges, head raking etc are all legal and then let the rest of the world play a hard, fast, tough and LEGAL game of rugby. I am sick of hearing how the SH does things. Start your own league if you do not like the International rules.
This was a dirty, cheap and irresponsible hit and and 4 weeks was getting off easy. I don't care if he was sorry, stupid hit then pay a real penalty.

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devonB April 22, 2013 6:30 am

If you're referring to DrG's post, the poster and one other have already noted it as being sarcastic. It's a criticism of exactly the type of NH/SH comment that you have indulged in yourself. I watch rugby from all over and I can't say that I see any of the stuff you're describing happening more often in the SH. Not at all.

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larascasse April 21, 2013 11:01 am

It already exists and it's called rugby league mate!
these rules are what structures the game and makes it accessible to every body type. Remove that and in a couple of years, you only have teams of 15 tuilagi brothers, with no other game plan than crushing the guy in gront of him

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alechitto April 21, 2013 11:07 am

not the worst tackle, but where yellow card???? the future is 2 referees on the field. all is becoming too fast ...

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Ron_Mexico April 21, 2013 11:13 am

If you compare it to the so called "howler" from Fritz Lee, it's probably nowhere near one of the worst high tackles, so yeah, a bit of a exaggeration there.
Nevertheless a bad one and worthy a suspension, no doubt about that.

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Mezza1982 April 21, 2013 11:25 am

Brawnybalboa, Just to clarify. The audio you hear saying I didn't see it because there's a player in the way actually is the assistant referee not the referee. That's why he says Tim which is Tim Wigglesworth the referee. So the match official did check with him on the day and they both missed it. Unfortunate, but it happens and that's why the citing procedure is so crucial.

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 11:55 am

That being said, there is another assistant referee. I find it very unlikely that all three could miss a high tackle in open play!

Also I was under the impression that the Aviva Premiership were trialling the use of the TMO in situations such as this ("If foul play is referred, the TMO is to make recommendations as to the appropriate sanctions, as an assistant referee can currently do.").

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RedYeti April 21, 2013 12:31 pm

This game was not televised. You can hear someone on the ref's mic mention that there's no video during the clip. This is one of the strongest arguments against giving TMOs more powers: not all games actually have them

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Stanners April 21, 2013 12:32 pm

That, from the sound of it, was ITV commentary, meaning the game was not broadcast live and would therefore not have a TMO.
I agree, I was a bit confused when he didn't go upstairs if he heard it - even if he didn't see it - but I now think there wasn't one

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 12:59 pm

Fair enough!

The fact that they weren't trialling the TMO due to it not being a live stream is a bit of gobshite really! They obviously had professional cameramen there from ITV for the entire game. Why not hook a feed up to an independent TMO.

This was the aviva premiership, not national league 3!

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Stanners April 21, 2013 1:15 pm

I agree, in this modern age where all games are recorded for highlights anyway, why not just have a man at the RFU looking for problems...

Maybe, as much as it pains me to say, this is something this new TV deal will help with... but who knows

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HowardTheDuck April 21, 2013 12:07 pm

Late and high, unfortunately no one spotted it on the day so i guess the ban is duly four weeks.
On anoter note, in the Stringer/Fillol incident there has been a debate on players showing "genuine remorse" in hearings, and this being taken in consideration in ban length decisions.
Matavesi shows what I believe to be remorse and sportsmanship. I'm not saying he should have his ban reduced; but you show remorse on the field, when you realize you've done something stupid, not in front of a judge just to get two weeks off a ban.

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Reality April 21, 2013 2:10 pm

I think going over to him long after the incident takes place and giving him a pat can hardly be called 'genuine remorse'. His teammates could well have just said to him, "Give him a pat and you'll get your ban cut in half". For me, genuine remorse would have been immediately tending to the player he had just assaulted and staying with him, rather than just getting up and running off.

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matt April 22, 2013 12:07 am

I sort of agree, but I think genuine remorse should be the base line that is expected, and if players fail to demonstrate tangible regret for their actions then the ban should be increased

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Rugbyman April 21, 2013 12:50 pm

Drg, get off this your comments are bullshit, as we saw yesterday, all talk no action

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DrG April 21, 2013 1:55 pm

Lmao, "all talk, no action" what like creating another account and backing myself up?

Pray tell what "action" you wish me to undertake and perhaps if possible I'll accommodate...

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Rugbyman April 21, 2013 2:38 pm

Hahaha not another account just a different person from same club who thinks your comments are bullshit . ok so if its possible come and have a little shot in the russian league and we will show you high tackles , swinging arms ect ;-) as i said all talk no action from you big boy !

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Rugbyman April 21, 2013 2:38 pm

Hahaha not another account just a different person from same club who thinks your comments are bullshit . ok so if its possible come and have a little shot in the russian league and we will show you high tackles , swinging arms ect ;-) as i said all talk no action from you big boy !

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DrG April 21, 2013 11:22 pm

Buy me a plane ticket and pay my salary for the time ill have to take off and sure ill come play with you guys.

P.s learn sarcasm if you think I appreciate high tackles and swinging arms..

P.p.s if you think high tackles and swinging arms are something to be proud of then you need to get a reality check...

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AndyBoy April 21, 2013 3:57 pm

You can't even call that a tackle, it's just a swinging arm.

This needs a much longer ban - behaviour like that needs to be stamped out. Isn't it about time that players, particularly Southern Hemisphere players, be given a talk on how to tackle properly?

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Munster1923 April 21, 2013 5:11 pm

As a lifelong rugby fan who has been livibg in the US for a few years now, it's been interesting to observe how the different sports here operate.
Hockey has a really good in game review process that is detailed a little in the report linked below. Essentially, everything is reviewed from one central location with decisions reached almost before the ref asks for a second look.

Here's the article, if you don't know anything about hockey, some if it will be meaningless, but the speed and technology involved is pretty cool. I especially like the idea if the reasoning behind their decision been made available to the public almost instantly.

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Stubby April 21, 2013 7:15 pm

There is how it is now but it was a free for all prior. Why do you think 'enforcers' became a standard team position, like center or wing?

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matt April 22, 2013 5:45 pm

I don't see what your point is?

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Munster1923 April 21, 2013 5:16 pm

"living" not "livbg"...obviously been here in the US too long :)

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Gaucho April 21, 2013 6:41 pm

I was at this game and you could hear the bone crunch of the tackle in the stand.

The assistant refs in this game were pretty useless, they missed an a lot of things which were right in front of them. Looked like the league had to borrow a couple of old blokes from the clubhouse to run the line that day.

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Guest April 21, 2013 10:24 pm

Careless tackle and worthy of the ban,but for McCall to imply it was a deliberate tactic is ridiculous. Didn't see him complaining when Ashton got off scot free for his lethal high tackle on Fa'asavalu.

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browner April 22, 2013 2:15 am

Ashton's was poor techinque & reactionary, This bugger was deliberate - De Kock's never dipped of ducked, Matavesi simply took a cheap shot

Top end for me, 10-12 weeks

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matt April 22, 2013 12:10 am

I cant quite comprehend how this is only two weeks less than Hore's swing on Davies? I hate Davies, but that ban when looked at along side this, which is probably a case of carelessness, is just insulting.

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relation April 25, 2013 7:59 am

i must admit it was avery dangerous tackle, im Josh's uncle and knowing him and seeing him grow up from a baby im a little surprised, he is a placid bloke and that was not style or character. but' do the crime do the time.

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browner April 26, 2013 8:42 pm

Then you will have seen his tackling style get gradually higher & higher as he's become more & more professional - along with everyone around him.

high hits instead of tackles zzzzzzzzzzz

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