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Ed Quirk lashes out with elbow and knee after being held off the ball

All this to say, Quirk was a dick and should be punished. Whether or not it was dangerous, some things just aren't cool.

8 Hours, 43 Minutes ago

Ed Quirk lashes out with elbow and knee after being held off the ball

One of my favourite things about rugby is that generally people acting like dicks are sorted out on the field until the "dick level" is balanced. Add to that the fact that if the "dick level" exceeds a certain total, the ref gets involved and it's simple and straightforward. Take for example this simple formula:

- Chiefs lock holds Sunwolves flanker = he's a category 3 dick, and dick level is 0-3.
- Sunwolves flanker rubs his elbow in Chiefs lock's face = category 4 dick move, dick level is 4-3 (total of 7)
- Sunwolves flanker knees lock = upgrade him to category 7 dick, dick level is 7-3.

At this point, things can go three ways:
- nothing further happens (unlikely) and Quirk goes on his merry way as a category 7 dick. This is bad for rugby as a whole, because he'll be a cocky dick because he got away with it. No-one likes a cocky dick.
- a Sunwolves player delivers a late hit or "gives him the bidness" in the shadowy depth of some ruck, thus bringing the dick level closer to balance (likely around 7-7, plus or minus 1). Games continues on, Quirk recognizes that being a dick has consequences and saves his prickishness for when it's absolutely necessary.
- the referee decides that at 7-3, the total dick quotient for the game has exceeded the level he's comfortable with. He issues a penalty (-1 dick level), a yellow (-4 dick level), or a red (-total dick level of carded player). This brings the dick score of the game to an acceptable level, and theoretically moves it closer to balance.

8 Hours, 43 Minutes ago

That brutal 30 seconds of collisions between Wales and Ireland

There's a whole lot of poor tackling technique on display...

1 Week, 10 Hours ago

Italy ruck tactics bemuse England and agitate coach Eddie Jones

Hit enter too soon...
Poite's interpretation of a ruck was not "a very non-common sense application of the rules" it was a literal interpretation and application of the ruck law. In any other game, a ref calling a cleanout on a prone player a ruck would be incorrect.

4 Weeks, 4 Hours ago

Italy ruck tactics bemuse England and agitate coach Eddie Jones

Disagree with your last point. A ruck, by definition in the law book, is "a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground."

Clearing out a tackler who is not on his feet does not form a ruck, it just clears the tackle area.

4 Weeks, 4 Hours ago

France's Caroline Boujard cited after reckless mid-air tackle

I agree with Guy - there's no way you can blame this on the jumper. She's doing what she's been coached to do for her entire rugby-playing life. The only way that the approaching French player could be surprised by the jump would be if she had been living under a rock for the past 40 years and only just crawled out in time to go onto the pitch...everyone (wingers especially) know that people typically jump for kicks that are landing anywhere near everybody else. The French winger should have been expecting at least the possibility of the English player jumping; instead, she's either charged in recklessly or deliberately targeted a player in the air (I choose to believe the first option).

I also agree that the suggestion that the English player be penalized for jumping into a tackle to be preposterous, both for the reason Guy mentions (not in possession of the ball and therefore not eligible to be tackled) but also because no-one has ever been penalized for such an act even though jumping for the ball takes places several times in every game at pretty much every level of the sport.

No matter how you slice it, this type of challenge was penalty (and likely card-worthy) well before the recent directives from World Rugby.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

Francois Steyn red carded for attempting to take Johnny Sexton's head off

If you're putting your shoulder into someone's chest, and your head hits their head, then you're in a really awkward position and I'd love to know how you ever thought you'd make a tackle like that. I'd also love to know how you thought you would be able to wrap the guy you're tackling (unless you have arms like Matfield).

I think the slippery slope in terms of high tackles also applies to wrapping - time was, you had to remember three things when making a tackle: spine in line, cheek to 'cheek', and bands of steel. Slowly over the years it's become "get all up in his grill with as much force as possible, and if you can throw an arm more or less around him."

2 Months, 1 Week ago

Will Skelton carded for slap after theatrical James Davies fall

Exactly - if you're worried about the possibility of carding him for playacting if he wasn't, then you have a really easy out. Ref chat should have gone something like this:
(to Skelton): "You've made contact with the head - you know there is zero tolerance for that, so off you go" *show yellow*
(to Davies): "I'm not convinced that your reaction was genuine. Embellishment has no place in our game. Regardless, you pulled him out of the maul by the head and neck, so it's a yellow for you too."

2 Months, 1 Week ago

New directives under fire once more as Brice Dulin gets carded for challenge

Or you could make it illegal for the kicking team to contest in the air - the defender may still jump, but is 'safe' until he touches the turf.

It would certainly change the strategy around kicking - which may or may not be a good thing. Kickers would likely be more tactical about placement of the kick; teams would likely chip and chase a little less often; chasers would have to focus more on timing the hit and turnover skills post-tackle; defenders would need to be very aware of body position in the air so that they land prepared to take contact. You might also see the development of different sets of aerial skills - a quick catch-and-pass in the air to a waiting teammate, tap-backs or deflections, and who knows what else.

I imagine the grubber would start to get used a bit more, but the biggest difference would probably be that teams faced with poor attacking options will opt to recycle the ball again instead of trying the up-and-under. That alone is worth it, as far as I'm concerned.

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

New directives under fire once more as Brice Dulin gets carded for challenge

I wonder...if Dulin had ended up with the ball, would Halfpenny have been penalized? If they both catche the ball, do we just send 'em both off? If a kick lands on the field and there's no-one there to catch it, do we penalize the kicker? What's the airspeed velocity of a coconut-laden swallow? If a train leaves London for Reading at 10am travelling 35 km/h with three cars which are each half-full and another train leaves Reading for Basingstoke with a full load and travels at 32 km/h, what's the price of bananas in New York?

Inquiring minds want to know!

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago