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The Dimitri Yachvili stamp on Racing Metro's Henry Chavancy

I'm not sure Chavancy did anything wrong. Once the initial tackle was made he came through the gate, stayed on his feet and got his hands on the ball before the ruck was formed. The tackled player was holding on, then the ruck formed and quickly turned into a pile of bodies. There was no way that Chavancy could have gotten out, and in fact Biarritz should have been penalized for not releasing the ball.

After all that, Yachvili comes in and does his best Fred Astaire impression on Chavancy's leg which wasn't really preventing the ball from coming out. Foul play indeed! Yachvili should know better, and he deserves to sit for a long time.

3 Years, 2 Months ago

Is Carlin Isles the world's fastest rugby player?

To all the nay-sayers: Isles is an excellent option to have on the paddock for a sevens team. Speed kills.

His size isn't really an issue; there are 6 bigger guys on the field for the US...use him as a sweeper at the back on defence, and the gas-man on the wing on attack.

To those of you that are lamenting the death of skill in sevens: it takes skill to fix guys enough to get the ball out there; also, the game will evolve new defensive systems to deal with this kind of threat.

To those of you worried about how quickly he got into the team: he fits. The team made a selection, and he's scoring tries (and from this clip, it looks like he stopped on too). A national team should be about having the best players on the pitch, not "earning your stripes" through some convoluted seniority/experience matrix...if he is the best wide man in sevens, get him on the pitch.

To the rest of the world: watch out for the USA in a few year's time...if this is what they can come up with in 12 weeks, you'd better believe there is more coming. Gotta hand it to the States, when they want to win, they don't muck about.

The sport is gaining profile, and as such more and more naturally gifted athletes will take it up. Like any other sport, as it increases in profile globally, you're going to get more and more naturally gifted athletes learning the game. How scary would it be facing a team of Usain Bolts who had learned the game? The giant, fast, fit guys are coming, and they will learn skills.

I'm stoked for Rio! We might see some mind-boggling and exciting athletes take the field. I only hope that my country (Canada) is able to keep pace with the growth of the game (so far, so good).

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Hooker Dylan Hartley cited for striking Ulster's Rory Best

Anyone else notice the excellent work by John Afoa? He comes in, gets Hartley off his mate, then runs off to join the play. I reckon things would have escalated if it weren't for Afoa's timely and well-executed intervention. Quality bloke.

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Cardiff Blues' Lloyd Williams red carded for alleged dangerous tackle

On a side note, this whole citing vs. refereeing debate is one that I haven't run into as a rugby referee yet, but as an ice hockey referee I had a couple of run-ins with the citing/hearings system that I felt undermined the authority of referees. In both cases, myself and my two colleagues that were handling the games in question noticed that our officiating suffered for a good period of time after having our decisions overruled, or a token 1-game suspension being handed down.

There seemed to be two sides to it: first, you were careful not to make big calls, instead handing out smaller penalties because you didn't want to get dragged into another useless hearing. This had the effect of making it difficult to manage games properly, as everyone knew it should have been a tougher call. Second, borderline offences would get called more often, and we were jumpy on the whistle, because no matter how much you try to be consistent and professional, you are worried about getting into a situation where you might have to make a big call again.

I wonder if we're seeing a similar effect here: the higher-level referees seem to be suffering from the "I don't want to be the next Alain Rolland" syndrome, while the lower-level referees seem to have a case of the "If I go big here, I'll look tough on 'crime' and it'll bode well for later".


3 Years, 5 Months ago

Cardiff Blues' Lloyd Williams red carded for alleged dangerous tackle

Interesting discussion so far...I'll give my opinion first, then bring up a larger discussion point...

My opinion: the referee did well. According to the letter of the law, it was definitely penalizeable: there was no control and no-one can honestly argue that the tackled player was brought to ground safely. A centimetre or two in a different direction and we could be dealing with a broken neck. I've actually seen it in person: a player landing on their shoulder and head, and the game was called off and they were sent to hospital for surgery. Two years later he was able to go back to work part-time and was lucky to still have full motion in his limbs. It's not something to be toyed with.

The topic for discussion: do you think there would be as much outrage/controversy/whining, etc. if the citing commision got things right? For example, in this case the red should be ample punishment. There was no malice, just dangerous recklessness. I'm sure the player has learned his lesson. That would leave citings for bigger issues, and for things that were missed in the game (ie: A. Hore's flying elbow).

I think that the "justice system" at the IRB has gotten all out of whack. A card is a significant punishment, and unless it's an extreme case of violence/something that can't be dealt with within the laws of the game, there should be no citing!

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Chris Hala'ufia suspended for five weeks after straight red card

I definitely think the red was harsh. Technically, it was a penalty under law 10.4(j):

"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."

His upper body did come into contact with the ground while his feet were still off the ground...but really?

It wasn't particularly dangerous. Old mate was only really in danger of being winded, as he lands pretty much flat on his back. His head and neck and shoulders were in no danger. The only reason Jewell's legs went beyond the horizontal (not in the rules, but a guidline" is because he was folded like a cheap lawn-chair, and deservedly so.

I can see maybe giving a penalty for that hit to help set the tone and manage the game (it WAS borderline) but carding for that is definitely a stretch. I agree that his history makes for the lengthy ban, but disagree that there should even be a ban.

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Three red cards in heated Leicester Tigers vs Bath battle at Welford Road

I'm not sure what footage the citing commission had available, but if they have the same footage as us, they don't really have enough evidence to make a judgement on Louw's elbow. I wish there was, because personally I feel that there is no call to drop elbows. If you feel like smashing someone's face, at least have the decency to use your's softer.

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Kurtley Beale late try snatches win for Wallabies over Wales

Henkie, it worked because Zee has a ridiculous amount of pace. I'd imagine there are a few wingers who could pull that off...but only a few. Ngwenya being one, and I reckon Habana might have pulled it off.

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Kurtley Beale late try snatches win for Wallabies over Wales

Speaking as more or less a career winger, you're right CC...Cuthbert made a hash of that. He had plenty of time to do something with the defenders. Beale and Barnes did a pretty good job of boxing him in towards the end, but he had about 30m of run where he could have come in slightly and made more space for him to use later. Also, given that he's one of those monster wingers that seem to be all the rage right now, you'd think he could have fought a little harder to avoid being hit into touch. His team-mates aren't exactly slowcoaches, and I'm sure if he'd cut in that he could have stayed in bounds and kept his feet for the second or two that it would have taken his support to get there in numbers.

You'd think the nation that gave rise to Shane Williams would be able to find some wingers with a bit of sense and a wee step...

3 Years, 5 Months ago

Bryan Habana awarded IRPA Try of the Year 2012 for try vs All Blacks

I agree...not the most impressive effort, and the chip and chase was certainly very lucky, given how badly the kick was sliced!

3 Years, 6 Months ago