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All Black Adam Thomson's boot on Alasdair Strokosch's head

Fair enough...I agree with the yellow, and with part of your point. It was a "please desist from lying on the ball" request, which the referee then followed up with a "please take 10 minutes to think about why you should desist from applying boots to people's heads" request.

All good, no harm done. I think any sanction decision (in this, and in many other decisions) is a political one: a bunch of suits in a room looking at game film and saying "we don't want children thinking our sport is full of rough play, otherwise they won't register and we'll be out of jobs!"

Thompson has learned his lesson, I'm sure. Let it end bans.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

All Black Adam Thomson's boot on Alasdair Strokosch's head

And TA-DAH! Browner has hit on the crux of the whole issue. If the ref had been a little swifter with the whistle, and penalized Strokosch for what was a fairly flagrant violation of the rules, then the boots to brains would never have happened.

While I'm not defending Thompson's actions, he didn't exactly fly off the handle and kick Strokosch...he was reacting to illegal play after trying to get the ball out through legitimate means.

Ref should have penalized "The Big Stroker" sooner, and it wouldn't have gotten to this point.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

All Black Adam Thomson's boot on Alasdair Strokosch's head

Ando, yes...we are generally given guidelines from the unions, and some from the IRB. Where I ply my trade (and until recently, played) we are encouraged to be strict (ie: red card) with boots on heads. It's not set in stone, but very strongly encouraged. Ultimately, it's still up to the referee.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

Vincent Clerc late hit results in Julien Saubade injured for rest of season

Having watched the full-speed video, I find myself agreeing with flanker2712...Clerc does exactly what he would have done if Saubade had caught the pass. There isn't even any hesitation on his part. I'm reasonably sure that anyone who sees a ball bouncing around on the deck has the first instinct of going for the ball, at least enough to cause a visible hesitation. There wasn't any; therefore I think Clerc honestly didn't see the ball dropped. his line of sight is obstructed, and Saubade looks like he's crouching to make sure he gets the ball over the line.

My previous opinion stands, more or less: it's definitely a penalty, because a late hit is a late hit, whether the tackler knows it's late or not. I do now think that you could make the argument that a yellow is a wee bit harsh...he does grasp Saubade during the hit, and really if that hit wasn't late then it wouldn't have been penalized.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

James Haskell big hit knocks out lock Alistair Hargreaves

I think the outcome was correct, but the process that led to it, and the justification for the call were rubbish.

High tackle: yes, even if Hargreaves ducked.
Yellow card: yes; the high tackle part was kind of accidental, but definitely a result of "The Brand" aiming for the collar-bone (pre-duck) in an attempt to put a big lick on Hargreaves. Also, there was a ridiculous amount of force. I'm not saying he should tackle softer, I'm saying he should be more careful with where and how he applies that force. Reckless play by Haskell, and he should spend 10mins thinking about how to legally and safely apply all the force his frame can exert.

On to the ref: as a referee myself (Rugby and Ice Hockey at fairly high levels), I know that nothing undermines your authority as hesitation and indecision. I agree with the user that posted that they would prefer to see the occasional mistake vs. the constant self-doubt. Make a decision, and be firm. If you realize later you've cocked up, then be an adult and admit it. You'll get a lot more respect from the players and coaches that way, vs. constantly passing the buck to the TMO or citing commissioner.

This is what should have happened (assuming the ref saw anything...):
- blow whistle immediately and loudly (dangerous play), and indicate the penalty
- blow whistle again and signal time off
- call over The Brand, explain that "the tackle was high, and reckless"
- show yellow card
- resume play (when possible)

Simple, clear and with authority. No need to explain further, no need to enter debates, watch highlights, etc.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

Vincent Clerc late hit results in Julien Saubade injured for rest of season

Hmm...I wasn't particularly clear in that last post.

The reason you should not use severity of injury as a yardstick for whether to award a ban or not is actually fairly simple if you approach it backwards: would you avoid banning a player because his action didn't result in injury?

Consider this example: player X shoves his thumb into player Y's eye socket. Fortunately, player Y doesn't sustain any damage beyond temporary eye-watering and mild discomfort. Since there wasn't an injury, does that mean that player X shouldn't be banned? Absolutely not! An eye-gouge is an eye-gouge, no matter the result and deserves a lengthy ban.

Cut back to this case: sure, Saubade suffered a serious and season-ending injury...unfortunate and regrettable. The offence is still a late tackle...the fact that it was a late tackle on a player in a defenceless position should be considered, but not whether or not the player was actually injured, and much less the severity of the injury.

If you penalize the injury and not the offence, things get really messy.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

Vincent Clerc late hit results in Julien Saubade injured for rest of season

I agree that the hit was late (and stupid...the ball was clearly gone), but you can't automatically ban a player because someone got injured, especially when the injury was the result of a freak combination of timing and distribution of weight.

If the same tackle had happened during the game, and Saubade had to be treated on-field but continued to play this incident would have been a yellow card at most. Same goes for a post-match citing: off-field yellow sounds about right.

2 Years, 7 Months ago

Elvis Vermeulen yellow carded for huge hit on Zee Ngwenya

I agree to a certain extent with both Guy and Pretzel...basically, the law was put in to make sure players weren't getting hit in the air, and I think at the time it was put in and amended, it seemed pretty cut and dry. Of course, the game has progressed, players are bigger and faster and timing is tighter.

I agree that it was a copybook tackle...I even agree with Full Back's post after this one...Ngwenya probably would have been hurt more if he'd had his feet planted.

I do however think that the call was the right one. The law says that a player can not be hit if he is in the air. Zee was in the air, Elvis timed it a little wrong, no harm done and penalty called. The letter of the law is the way it is because laws have to be as clear and easily applied as possible; ergo the "feet on the ground" application.

Where it gets tricky is the application, and that's the big secret to good refereeing. As objective as you make the laws, they are still applied subjectively. Referees are affected by the tone of the game, their personal views of things, previous experience, and a whole host of things. Ultimately, refs have to officiate as best they can based on two questions: is it safe, and is it fair?

Clearly this ref felt it wasn't safe, and that the game as a whole was getting unsafe/unfair enough to warrant a card.

Within the letter of the law, the correct call was made. Within the spirit of this particular game, the ref made a judgement call, and I have to assume he had a better feel for things than I do.

2 Years, 8 Months ago

Canterbury claim fifth successive title with ITM Cup Final win over Auckland

@ Ottawa Rugger - I think calling an intentional knock-on was a bit harsh, but if you're going to penalise and card for it in a 3-on-1, then at that level you should probably award a penalty try. The chances of one of those fellows spilling a 5m pass with no real defensive pressure are slim to none. P.S.: I'm also from Ottawa...are you associated with any of the clubs in town?

Second call: I agree...ruck was over, Aucks scrummy was waiting, Ellis was clever. Play on.

Back to the knock-on: I think Jackson was good to say that in hindsight he could have gone further. I don't blame him for not awarding the penalty...he didn't really have time to check on where the cover defence was, and had no replay at the time. Not his fault, and really part of the game. Refs are human...the teams make more mistakes than the ref does, so to say that one call forced Auckland to lose assumes that they didn't make any mistakes and scored on every opportunity.

2 Years, 8 Months ago

Juan De Jongh scores great try vs Sharks, celebrates with Gangnam Style

I always think of the advice one of my coaches gave me years ago: "act like you've been there before, and like you'll be there again".

I find these dance routines a little bit much, but I guess I'm a little conservative that way. I can understand if it was the winning try at the close of the match, but let's face it: De Jongh had a fair bit more rugby to play.

If it's like RSAImpi says, and they're blowing off steam then so be it. I personally think there are less "NFL" ways to celebrate.

2 Years, 8 Months ago