Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Friday, December 04, 2009

Three high tackles, Three entirely different outcomes

Yesterday Samoan back Henry Fa’afili was suspended for three weeks following his high tackle and red card against Italy last weekend. This once again makes a mockery of the disciplinary process, as there were two very similar incidents recently that had entirely different outcomes.

Despite Fa’afili’s clean record, the tackle he made on Luke Mclean was deemed to be dangerous and an independent Disciplinary Committee banned the Leeds Carnegie player until Dec 21st.

Fa’afili was red carded for the tackle. That alone was questionable. A yellow card would probably have sufficed. To get suspended as well, throws the whole process into question.

The problem is the inconsistency that we’re seeing week in and week out. If that type of tackle is a red card worthy offence, fine, but we need to be clear about that.

Not too long ago All Black Dan Carter was given a one week suspension for a high tackle on Martin Roberts of Wales. The tackle was missed by the ref as it happened, but Carter was given a slap on the wrists after the Welsh media and coach made a hoo-hah about it.

So one week because it was missed on the field, but three weeks for Fa’afili after he was red carded and penalised. Was Fa’afili’s tackle so much worse than Carter’s?

Then, during the clash between Ireland and South Africa at Croke Park, JP Pietersen stuck out a despairing arm in an attempt to stop Tommy Bowe as he stepped inside him. His arm caught Bowe square in the nose, but no action was taken.

Referee Nigel Owens apparently said Bowe ducked into it. Even if he did, it was still a dangerous tackle, as the blood from Bowe’s nose confirmed.

Pieterson was neither penalised, nor carded, and there has since been no suspension. Can we then assume that Fa’afili’s tackle was three times as bad as Carter’s, and Pietersen getting nothing was because the Irish didn’t cause a stink about it?

I’m tempted to say that had Ireland lost the match, Pietersen would be suspended by now. If Wales had beaten New Zealand, the Carter hit would be forgotten about and he would never have been suspended.

The point is that this year, the disciplinary process has been a farce, and something needs to change. As fans, we’re not only baffled by the decisions most of the time, but we’re also being let down when it comes to understanding the processes.

Were these three tackles so extremely different that one got nothing, another got a week, and the third warranted a red card and three week suspension?

According to the powers that be, the answer is apparently a resounding yes.

Time: 0:56
Music: Hold on Me by Grinspoon
Extra: You can join us on the forum to discuss this video in further detail here



  • If anything, Fa'fili's is the least bad. The other two involved swinging arms, at least he got some shoulder. It's ridiculous.

    And it was Martin Roberts who was tackled by Carter, not Thomas.

    By Anonymous Will Topps, at December 04, 2009 10:19 am  

  • ^ True story. Thanks mate. Fixed now.

    Hopefully this vid illustrates the three tackles nicely though. I also thought Fa'afili's wasn't too bad.

    By Anonymous Greiffel, at December 04, 2009 10:23 am  

  • I think pietersen got away scot free because he is a small guy. Imagine if a second row had tackled bowe in exactly the same way, that would have done some damage and i think we would have seen a ban.

    I do feel nowadays that the authorities at the IRB are trying their hardest to make a mess of rugby.

    By Anonymous Rich, at December 04, 2009 10:29 am  

  • All three should just be penalties, yellow cards at most.
    All three are accidental head highs.
    None intentional, all just bad timing and technique and players either running past or cutting inside.
    Often when a guy beats you or is flying past you don't have time to think so you just react by throwing your arm out. That's where alot of head highs occur.
    It's illegal of course and should be penalised but never red carded unless it's a repeat offense or the ref deems it to be intentional.
    Reds are for repeated infringements or deliberate foul play, not just accidental head highs (which will always occur occasionally no matter how many laws are brought in to stop them).
    A ban should only be for something particularly bad, and a player's disciplinary record should definitely be taken into account.
    Fa'afili's suspension also suggests a certain bias against Islanders which has been discussed on this website before. That bias is wrong on many levels.

    By Anonymous Bill, at December 04, 2009 10:30 am  

  • Judging by the clip I would argue that of the three tackles Dan Carter's seems to be the better. If you look at where the hand is, it stays on the shoulder. When you look at the tackle by Fa'afili, his hand seems very much around Mc Lean's neck. The one by Pieterson seems to be more similar to this. I guess when the hit occurs these two tackles would put more pressure on the neck and spine than the first. So in that aspect I would argue they are worse, however I do not believe the rules make that kind of distinction (please correct me if I am wrong there).

    I do a bit of refereeing myself, albeit in a different sport and you just can't see everything in a match. Your bound to make mistakes even with touchjudges and a secondary ref. So even if the sometimes the decisions made by the displinary comittee are dubious, I don't think the refs should be too frowned upon. I believe I am quoting a previous post when I say: everyone makes mistakes at their job from time to time, the only difference is that a ref has several million people watching his every move.

    And if anyone wonders, I'm English and living in France and just an amateur of good rugby.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 10:30 am  

  • Fa'afili's is the worst as he catches him in such a way that he puts his neck at risk of being damaged. The others are both bad, perhaps Carter's is the least bad. I've been caught with similar tackles to all three and the worst ones to reveive are the ones that twist your neck like Fa'afili's did.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 10:33 am  

  • They were all pretty reckless carters isn't . Yellow cards for all of them but nothing more.

    Can't wait for the 'rugby is a man's game' and 'if you can't handle it then don't play' comments from the super hard people.

    By Anonymous Andy, at December 04, 2009 10:35 am  

  • The rules don't make a distinction about exactly where a head high hits, they couldn't possibly.
    Refs can't be amateur doctors either deciding arbitrarily what's more dangerous, they have to follow basic guidelines, which needs be are quite general.
    Fact is none of these tackles are anything particularly out of the ordinary, just accidental head high tackles. They happen in rugby fairly frequently and usually just result in a penalty or yellow card. Fifteen years ago, it was just a penalty.
    This thing with pulling out reds (often it seems when an Islander is involved, which is a whole other story) is new to the game and is a problem.

    By Anonymous Jon, at December 04, 2009 10:36 am  

  • I believe Fa'fili's tackle is far worse than the other two. Why? Because he grabs his opponent by the throat, and pulls him back. This is a lot more dangerous to one's health and that is what the sentence is meant to underline. On the other hand, I agree with every comment about the inconsistency of the disciplinary decisions.
    Cheers to all.

    By Blogger Martin, at December 04, 2009 10:37 am  

  • I will say that referees are not machines, so to ask complete consistency between all of them is a little much - consistency within a single match, though, certainly.

    But that's no excuse for the citing committees. And unfortunately it does seem that if you're an islander, you're predestined for a harsher punishment.

    The worst one of them, in my view, was Pietersen's - just from how it connected with Bowe's face. But I was actually glad that Owens let it go...at least he let something go and the game could flow; in the case of high tackles, I'd rather they err on the side of allowing the game to play on rather than being over-cautious.

    I'm sure the summary is right, though. If Ireland had lost, it WOULD have been made into a big stink, as the tackle potentially saved a try from happening. But I think the worst thing is how small nations, particularly the Pacific Islands, get looked over more scrutinizingly for big - not just high - tackles (Tuilagi, anyone?).

    By Anonymous momo, at December 04, 2009 10:37 am  

  • Fa’afili's tackel was the least worst looking. how JP didnt get at least a weeks suspension i dont know.

    By Anonymous ireland101, at December 04, 2009 10:40 am  

  • They would all seem to be open to the referee's judgement. If he notices for a start that the tackles are a bit high (even that much isn't clear for Carter's tackle for example) then he can give a penalty but then surely it is open to interpretation whether he gives a yellow card or not. If he thinks it was accidental but not very dangerous then just a warning will do whereas most people would say that swinging arm high tackles are justifiably yellow cards as the potential risk is much greater.

    By Anonymous John F, at December 04, 2009 10:41 am  

  • I agree with most of what you're saying John F, a head high could range anywhere from a penalty to a yellow and it's gonna come down to the ref's interpretation.
    But a red for an accidental head high is always the wrong decision unless it's a repeated offense by the same player and he's already been penalised and warned.
    Otherwise it's overkill.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but this is the same ref who only gave Burger a yellow for gouging but gives a red for this?

    By Anonymous Jon, at December 04, 2009 10:50 am  

  • Fa'fili's is definately the worst. While JP Pietersen's does pull Bowe back by the head, Fa'fili's does so by the neck is easily the most dangerous of the three. Carter's looks bad but probably has the lowest risk of causing an injury.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 10:51 am  

  • I don't think Fa'afili's is any worse.
    Bowe was the worst hurt, and he just had a busted nose.
    I've been on the end of plenty of swinging arms and coat hangers. To be honest half the time I didn't even really know if I'd been head highed (adrenaline and getting bashed will do that).
    But they happen, I've done them, and never on purpose. If I got sent off for doing a clumsy accidental head high like Fa'afili's tackle I'd be shocked.
    Same goes if I was on the end of it. Shit, I'd be happy with a penalty most of the time.

    By Anonymous Jimmy, at December 04, 2009 11:00 am  

  • Why would you be shocked at being sent off for a high tackle? Whether you meant it or not, if it's dangerous enough ofcourse you should be sent off. Intention hasn't got anything to do with these, if it was deliberate then you're looking at a very long suspension. Unintentional but wreckless then depending on how severe should be between penalty and a yellow, maybe red if it's a shocker. Or you could just get away with it because the ref didn't see it like in these.

    By Anonymous Hungoveronafriday, at December 04, 2009 11:08 am  

  • Sent off means red, binned is yellow.
    I wouldn't be surprised to be binned for any of these tackles, but I'd be shocked if I got sent off.
    And yes, there's a big difference.

    By Anonymous Jimmy, at December 04, 2009 11:14 am  

  • There was a time when these would just be penalties and we'd just move on with our lives.
    Simpler times, but happier times too...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 11:16 am  

  • RD, you should have added the one on Vincent Clerc against Samoa, it wasn't even penalised and it was definitly illegal and very high!! The samoan (don't remember his name, number 7 i think) almost beheaded him!

    By Anonymous rodofle, at December 04, 2009 11:17 am  

  • Yeah there's no consistency at all here. But we've gotta remember that referees aren't simply robots trotting about the field. They're humans and by their very nature, fallible. This sort of thing will always happen. Yes if referees were all always the same then this might not happen, but then if your auntie had balls she'd be your uncle. It's not worth bothering about really.

    By Anonymous Tommo, at December 04, 2009 12:47 pm  

  • Carter's tackle isn't actually that bad. Its a huge hit and its a bit high but compared to the other too its no where near as bad. JP's tackle isn't as bad as Fa'fili's and both deserved at least a yellow, JP got nothing cause the ref said Bowe dropped his head into it? Does that mean he's saying he will let people off with warps around the neck and head providing they duck into it? What happens when a scrum half comes up against a lock and he catches him high? Is that fair game cause he's smaller??

    By Anonymous Conor, at December 04, 2009 1:11 pm  

  • Isn't part of the problem that the Pacific Islanders have a reputation for tackling high and therefore referees almost expect it from them? I guess a ref thinks he is dealing with a widespread problem when he bins/red cards them whereas someone like Carter has a squeaky clean reputation.

    I'm not saying that's fair you understand but I think that's where the disparity comes. I've read elsewhere on this site the claim that it's a race issue and I don't accept that, there is a reason why the Pacific Island teams have that rep after all. However, obviously it's not fair of the ref to prejudge a player or team based on past events.

    The JP tackle seems the worst to me because it has more of a swinging arm about it. Perhaps it wasn't penalised because the ref couldn't see it through the fog?

    By Anonymous Ted, at December 04, 2009 1:31 pm  

  • I think people are forgetting the issue here,

    It's not whether referees always make the correct decisions, everyone is in agreement that they are only human and bound to get some wrong.

    The issue is rather the outcome post match and the inconsistency that lies there.

    3 Weeks for Fa'fili and nothing for JP?

    Carters was high but probably an ingame decision by the ref should be enough.

    By Anonymous The Inside Shoulder, at December 04, 2009 1:42 pm  

  • Anyone notice the high tackle by Tom James on Tatafu Polota-Nau as he went for a try in the Australia vs. Wales game?? (61:33)

    By Anonymous Phil, at December 04, 2009 1:47 pm  

  • Yeah I did, and no one said boo.
    Something about when a player is scoring a try, it's like it's ok to head high (Jones on Polota-Nau) or shoulder charge (Kearney on Elsom).
    No penalty, no citing.
    Why let some incidents go, but give Fa'afili a red card, Samoa a penalty against and then post match ban Fa'afili (who has a clean record) for three games?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 1:59 pm  

  • fa'fili is simply a victim of samoas reputation. that said it was an awful tackle. JPs was also bad but that was a desperation swing of the arm, if he had gone 'high but legal' on bowe he could never have stopped him. although carters was the least dangerous, it was a calculated atempt to prevent an offload, which would have resulted in a try for wales.

    By Anonymous sully, at December 04, 2009 2:17 pm  

  • I don't think it's the refs at the game that are the real issue though. How can disciplinary comitees come up with such a random selection of bans. It sounds like the old boys on the board are picking out the islanders down to reputation. I can accept mistakes in game situation, but when you're looking at the evidence afterwards at least keep some consistency, otherwise these commitees become a farce.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 2:24 pm  

  • I honestly think that Pieterson's tackle was the worst, simply because he had no chance of tackling Bowe legally. Fa'afili and Carter just mis-judged legitimate tackles, whereas Pieterson got beaten then swung an arm. The issue isn't the refs but the disciplinary committees, which are becoming a farce

    By Anonymous H, at December 04, 2009 2:50 pm  

  • Actually I don't think Carters tackle was that high! I think that's ok for a tackle!

    By Blogger Alfred, at December 04, 2009 3:19 pm  

  • Pietersen should've got banned, fair play to the irish not complaining aboutn it or bekker. Disappointed bok fan, Pdv needs to go

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 3:33 pm  

  • I think they're all pretty bad, but certainly not worthy of suspensions.

    Carter seemed to hit with the most force, on the cheek, while Pietersen cracked Bowe 'sweetly' in the nose, causing the blood. He should have been penalised at the time, but there were at least two defenders behind Pietersen at the point of contact, so those who say Bowe would have scored are kidding themselves.

    Fa'afili was unlucky to be Samoan. I mean that in the nicest of ways too. It really is ridiculous though. Both the Carter suspension and his.

    As someone else said here, these things happen and to punish them like this is a bit much.

    In an ideal world, all three would have gotten what they deserved - a yellow card and a penalty against their side.

    Three Test matches, three very similar tackles, and we see 1 week, 3 weeks, and 0 weeks. Bizarre.

    By Anonymous FrankyH, at December 04, 2009 3:45 pm  


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 4:03 pm  

  • Agree with Bill couldn't believe the samoan lad and carter got bans. Pieterson probably deserved a yellow.

    By Anonymous Third Centre, at December 04, 2009 4:32 pm  

  • all three pens any yellows. the somoan is really unlucky as his is more like a tackle than the others which are swinging arms.

    whats worse,, in the Eng NZ game the ref penalised the Eng prop (Bell?) for throwing two punches in the ruck, now card no suspension??
    what about the SA second row (Bekker?) 's knee on the prone Irish player, both of those deserved red and a ban, but nothing given so far ???

    Fa'fili is really hard done by, the bigger names/countries get away with more.

    By Anonymous mat, at December 04, 2009 4:32 pm  

  • In reference to above, i'm pretty sure McCaw could pull out a sword and start maiming people but still get away with it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 4:38 pm  

  • Never really realised how inconsistent that the official are being until i saw these three together. I agree with Will Topps, Fa'fili's 'tackle' is the only one that doesn't have a swinging arm, so why is he penalised most?!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 4:44 pm  

  • The IRB is a joke.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 4:48 pm  

  • The Burger eye gouging incident was ridiculous. They are a complete joke and very inconsistent.

    In terms of refs being inconsistent and think this is a case of them not seeing the incident. Carters from others angles especially behind probably looks like a good tackle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 5:43 pm  

  • Slightly off topic, but during the NZ vs France game, when Sivs threw the in-pass to muliaina for that AMAZING try, he got shoulder charged by a french player (can't remember who) and nothing was done about that. I've seen refs give yellows and penalties for things like that (i.e not using your arms in a tackle). It wasn't the worst of shoulder charges, but it was still a shoulder charge. I think it still speaks to the inconsistencies in refereeing.

    By Anonymous Died and went to NZ, at December 04, 2009 5:50 pm  

  • I dont see what is wrong with giving out cards? most of us have played the game....some of us have done bad tackles, you reap what you sow....

    i think that they are all just as bad for their own reasons. i mean Fa'fili's tackle, he actually brought him down by his neck.

    JP's tackle was a clothes line that brought bowes balance off....

    Carters was a swinging arm....

    they all have the potential to ruin someones life/career....

    i think each deserves a penalty, and a yellow, and if the red comes out then i wouldnt complain!....

    tbh i know they are all SH tackles and i am a NH team supporter...so i know it looks bad on my part but really if it was anyone in any team i say the same thing......

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 04, 2009 6:04 pm  

  • So then why wasn't Kearney or James carded or banned, or even penalised?
    Like Carter, why weren't they cited post-match?
    It's the inconsistencies and arbitrary sentences handed out.
    If Fa'afili gets banned for three weeks so should all the rest (Carter, Kearney, Pieterson etc).
    Or better yet, be reasonable and let a yellow card suffice for most head high tackles, unless they're repeat infringements or deliberate.
    And head highs aren't as dangerous as you're making out. They are something that happens in rugby accidentally, we've all been on the end of them. A yellow card is usually more than enough punishment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 6:28 pm  

  • JP's was easily the least dangerous yet you have idiots here saying he should have been suspended for the longest. I guess that what happens when you're jealous.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 9:16 pm  

  • Very well-written article to go along with the video, Rugbydump. Keep it up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 10:04 pm  

  • "I dont see what is wrong with giving out cards? most of us have played the game....some of us have done bad tackles, you reap what you sow...."

    "That try" - aka that amazing Baa Baa's try in 1973 - never would have happened if refs were as quick to card as they are nowadays (especially French refs and a few other NHers - I'm not a biased SH fan, btw, just an observer).

    Cards and over-cautious penalties are silly wastes of time. Yes, there's a time and a place, but if no one is injured and the players are keen to continue...why stop the game? We're not Cristiano Ronaldos here...we can deal with a high tackle - especially a "soft" one like Dan Carter's.

    I say that knowing full-well it's a slippery slope and that dangerous play is sometimes potentially career-ending...

    By Anonymous momo, at December 04, 2009 11:22 pm  

  • IMO they are all yellow cards and no more. Pietersen's is the worst, he gives a huge swinging arm that hits the highest of the three. He was wrong footed and 'cheated' out of desperation. Carter's was poor timing and technique, but not far off from an amazing copybook tackle.

    By Anonymous Jeremy, at December 04, 2009 11:43 pm  

  • hahaha thank you RD for putting this up!! thank you for calling it like it is!! or at least making people think a little..

    as the title states, "three high tackles, Three different outcomes"
    Can someone show me where in the irb rules and regulation does it distinguish between hand placements during a HIGH TACKLE?

    and those who say dan carter's was the least dangerous.. i would have to disagree.. the player that Dc tackled was not cutting back on him.. DC a good angle to make a legal tackle..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 12:22 am  

  • Of course Fa'fili is not helped by the ISlander's reputation.

    But then, if you and Shane McGowan plead not guilty to being drunk and disorderly, who would have the better chance of beating the case on identical facts?

    I think we know the answer. Life's not fair sometimes.

    By Anonymous JPM, at December 05, 2009 1:37 am  

  • Of the three, I would say that the order of severity is Pieterson>>>Fa'fili>Carter

    I don't think the shoulder involvement in Fa'fili's makes it less severe - quite the opposite. The shoulder imparts a lot more force than a swinging are simply through conservation of momentum.

    At most, Bowe ducked about six inches. Given that Pietersons basically punched him in the nose, if he hadn't ducked he would have been stiffarmed across the neck. Anyway, he didn't duck, maybe just got a bit lower as he swerved.

    Carter's wasn't bad at all; he actually hit right on the top edge of the shoulders. Still a penalty, and very possibly a yellow, but no worse than that - DC seems like a clean player.

    By Anonymous HN, at December 05, 2009 2:00 am  

  • In addition, there has been a lot of speculation recently about reducing the number of players on the pitch and/or introducing rolling subs.

    Instead, why not instruct referees to be a lot more card happy - say to always give a yellow card for dangerous/dirty play or for the second of the same offense for e.g. offside. This would reduce the number of players on the pitch at any one time and would make players fresher as they had 10 minute breaks.

    Maybe allow up to four yellow cards a match before a red card? Or have a third colour that is equivalent to two yellows for worse offenses?

    Just a random thought that struck me, feel free to shoot it down.

    By Anonymous HN, at December 05, 2009 2:04 am  

  • Fa'fili got the worst because he is an islander, so apparently his is automatically worse than anyone elses.

    Im suprised they gave Carter anything, just because it is Daniel Carter and the Kiwis are shite without him.

    Pietersen probably didn't get anything because the ref didn't penalise him. It's clear that the ref's reactions have an influence on the disiciplinary outcome.

    By Anonymous T, at December 05, 2009 2:32 am  

  • It's the same in America. I played for a club a few years back. One of my teammates tackled an islander, I think Somoan, into touch and the islander guy hit his head on the concrete surrounding the pitch. The Samoan guy got up and said some choice words to my mate. My mate then clocks him!! Funny part is, the islander punches him right back and knocked my mate out!! LOL!!

    So the islander got a red card while my teammate sat out. I checked the disciplinary website after and found out the samoan got a three-game suspension.

    By Anonymous iron eagle, at December 05, 2009 2:51 am  

  • This whole theory that you hear about letting refs hand out cards like confetti to open up the game is the worst load of crap I've ever heard.
    Imagine yours was the side getting done over by the ref just the game was more open.
    Stupidest idea ever.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 2:57 am  

  • I'm not sure you do hear it - I don't think anyone's suggested it. Maybe that's because it's a shit idea, but I think it's better than removing positions completely, which even respected commentators like Guscott and Beattie have suggested.

    By Anonymous HN, at December 05, 2009 3:19 am  

  • the way the players react to the incidence often has a huge effect on whether there is a penalty or a card, in the same match of samoa v italy, lemi was definately hit high by a much bigger player however, he bounced off the ground and kept running. usually if a scuffle comes after adangerous tackle the ref is obliged to give a card.

    By Anonymous zacaria, at December 05, 2009 7:06 am  

  • i have to agree with the earlier comment, that they were all bad technique and accidental, but with the potential of something like that going so horribly wrong. that it is not a risk worth taking.

    By Anonymous zacaria, at December 05, 2009 7:11 am  

  • there was seriouse danger from all three tackles. i am confused how the swinging arm in tackles has been almost accepted in the game, as it can be just as dangerous as a punch if it catches the player on the chin.

    By Anonymous zacaria, at December 05, 2009 7:17 am  

  • Zacaria, it has always happened from time to time. It will always happen from time to time as well.
    There is no way, in a game like rugby, to stop accidental head highs.
    Players should not be sent off for them.
    They are not nearly as dangerous as you are making out.
    You'd think there'd been a huge rash of broken necks in the game from head high tackles or something.
    A penalty, and maybe a yellow for something particularly bad, is more than enough.
    The fact is, if you're talking about danger, the whole bloody game is dangerous.
    People can get seriously injured or killed in extreme circumstances in rugby simply from tackling, getting tackled, falling when taking a catch or a line-out and landing awkwardly or from getting smashed in a ruck.
    In fact the most dangerous thing is probably scrums, that's the greatest danger of getting a broken neck, alot more than a head high and perfectly legal.

    By Anonymous Jon, at December 05, 2009 7:31 am  

  • Jon, I'd agree, except that I think a yellow should be served only if the high tackle interfered with a real opportunity for the attacking side. Usually, that is when a try has been prevented due to a high tackle because the tackler over-shot the target, so to speak, and was left only with the option of a head-high tackle. Get what I mean? Just like how purposefully slowing down play by killing the ball once it gets near a defense's try zone is admonished with a penalty/yellow (if severe enough), so should it go with a high tackle.

    That's just my opinion. As a winger, I've been on the receiving end of plenty of high tackles, but I think someone here said it already - most of the time, you just keep playing; if it's not wholly unsportsmanlike or dangerous, it was probably an accident, and you should be more concerned with scoring that coaxing the referee into offering your side a penalty.

    By Anonymous tim, at December 05, 2009 7:42 am  

  • Yeah I agree with that.
    I don't really think the majority of head highs should be anything more than a penalty.
    Cards in general should be mostly for deliberate foul play (like gouging) or cynical, or repeated infringements (like a head high to prevent a try or repeated ruck infringements).

    By Anonymous Jon, at December 05, 2009 8:02 am  

  • hmmm, i dunno, i still think there are plenty of 'accidental happenings' on a rugby pitch which really are tough luck!

    there have been players in trouble for spear tackles where all the did was lift the player and then one of their team mates has hold of the top half of the guy, and they end up hitting the ground like a ton of bricks on their necks/shoulders etc....if the ref gave the initial tackler a card you could argue it wasnt what he intended and he wasnt the one that turned the guy.....but it goes back to the fact that if he hadnt lifted him there would be no issue....

    I dont beleive players should get away with high tackles....and those saying 'you guys make it out to be worse than it is' i think are wrong in some ways....maybe these tackles aren't that bad in your opinions, but the reason you cant tackle someone neck high is because it is dangerous!

    you stick your shoulders in someones ribs and break one....ouch yes, big deal? not really, its something that can be easily recovered from....it takes time and it may not be as strong ever again but the guy is alive....you break someones neck, things start to go very downhill...

    now im not saying instant red, but i am saying is players shouldnt be surprised to recieve one.... i suspect Fa'fili's card was the result of repeat infringements on behalf of the islanders, and it did look bad, and maybe because he was an islander....but in all honesty if JP had been given a red, i'd have thought it would've been unfortunate but not surprised!

    Spear tackles crept into the game slowly then all of a sudden it seemed like everyone was doing them, then spear tackles became red card offenses, and now there are very few!...maybe the same should happen with head high's...

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 2:42 pm  

  • What a load of shite no 7.
    There aren't guys getting their necks broken by head highs, it's another load of crap.
    It happens.
    It's a penalty.
    That's it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 2:54 pm  

  • I'd say penalties and yellows for each one......

    also bear in mind that all of them were done on players that had cut through the line, apart from Fa'fili's tackle although the attack was strong! so as last (ish) line of defence (i know there were more players around but it was a risky situation to be in!) i think the results of these types of tackles should be harsher penalties....

    ...hmm, actually i dunno, my point kinda got lost somewhere in there...

    By Anonymous :), at December 05, 2009 2:56 pm  

  • Oh yeh dickhead, and how many players do you know playing proffesional that have had their necks broken from spear tackles?!?

    i mean as far as im aware its none, it doesnt mean they aren't dangerous does it dumbass!

    the simple fact is there is a lot more to be damaged more easily up there than there is in the torso area and leg area, thats why head highs are illegal.

    Im pretty sure a retarded chimp wouldnt need me to explain this all over again!

    Oh yeah, as for 'it happens' well we see players punching each other, players stamping on heads, players spearing each other, plenty of stuff that happens, so should we just let all that go too, because it happens....

    or how about knock ons and forward passes, they 'happen' too, and the rules are a scrum to the opposing side for a knock on, so i mean should be forget those rules too?

    really you are talking a load of shite and your comment is pretty much a waste of time!

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 3:03 pm  

  • Yes you do see that stuff in rugby from time to time mate.
    It's part of the game.
    It's a very rough game son.
    It always has been, we don't need to lose the plot over it.
    These are head highs, ok, so penalties.
    But to be honest, scrums are probably the most dangerous part of the game.
    So going by your logic, we should get rid of them, because they might result in serious injury.
    Or maybe, you should just find another sport.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 3:42 pm  

  • no shit i am aware scrums are the most dangerous...but scrums are part of the game, illegal hits arent!

    These things are in the game 'son,' but they are not part of the game...

    and we are talking about the people at stake here! there are plenty of nasty injuries from perfecty legal tackles (i think if you open your eyes you will see i didnt say that anything which incurs injuries should be taken out!), i think we can do without the head highs.

    f*ck you're a pain in the ass!

    I cant type and watch baa baas at the same time!

    What i simply said was head highs are illegal, they put plenty of strain on the neck and if they result in a red in the eyes of the ref then we shouldnt be surprised but otherwise they should result in a yellow and a penalty!

    I then made a reference to spear tackles and how they came into the game, then the large amount of reds no matter how bad or not bad the tackle was, resulted in spears not playing a big part in games nowadays! so maybe reds will get rid of head highs!

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 3:56 pm  

  • No, head highs will always happen.
    Calm down.
    Red cards weren't introduced for this.
    The more I see them, I wish they'd never been introduced at all.
    They're only a recent addition to the sport.
    Again, just so it sinks in, head highs will always happen, by accident.
    You're living in a fantasy world if you think otherwise.
    his whole thing about carding offences out of the game is dumb as hell.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 3:59 pm  

  • .....yes well done genious, cards have not been around for long, but the concept has been around longer than you or i!

    Cards are only around so that everyone knows what is going on, the actual concept of punishing players for foul play has been round for a long time!

    yes of course head highs will happen (did i ever say they wouldnt?) just as i said spears are not always directly the fault of the tackler! (another player grabs the top half!) the fact is as the tackler it is up to you how it turns out!

    The only tackle out of these 3 which i believe to be reactionary is JP's but even then im not so sure! In all of them the players decided to take the attacker 'high' (when i say high i mean upper body) and if they had chosen to take legs this wouldnt happen!

    So they chose to take the player up high, this may have 'accidently' become neck high, or face/head high and then sorry, tough luck you deal with the consequences!

    so basically get over it!

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 4:29 pm  

  • oops 'genius'*

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 4:33 pm  

  • Cards didn't exist at all in rugby not long ago. I'm old enough to remember.
    Spear tackles don't always result in cards, and shouldn't.
    You're full of it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 4:54 pm  

  • ....can you even read?! did you not read what i said?!

    F*CK no wonder im losing my cool when typing, you are irritating, its like arguing with a pile of shit!

    I know they havent been around for long....duhh...did i not just state that!?

    but the concept has been around for more years than you or i have been alive.....wow...de ja vu...im sure i already said that!!

    for someone like you i shall explain further.....

    yellow card = Bad boy

    Red card = Very bad boy!

    now try and tell a player who doesnt speak a word of english that he is a bad boy (remembering bad boy = yellow card) he will stare at you and wonder what you are on about.....then tell the same player after constant infringments he is a very bad boy....(remembering very bad boy = red card!) what do you think will happen??

    The ability for a ref to get players to leave the field has been around always! the ability for a ref to show a coloured piece of card to a player which symbolises he should leave the field has not!

    I dont even understand why you are being a cock....really....what i said was high's like this should be a yellow and if a red is produced then what is the problem....

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 5:06 pm  

  • Now we all know Brian moores commentary is suspect but i just heard him in the baa baas match stating how you can still go high without making contact with the neck area which is very dangerous! i really dont see what is so impossible to understand about that concept!?

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 05, 2009 5:10 pm  

  • The problem is you're a pedant.
    And you don't understand the game.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 5:14 pm  

  • "The problem is you're a pedant.
    And you don't understand the game."

    Throwing around words you pulled out of the dictionary, who's being pedantic? And apparently you don't understand the LAWS of the game.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 6:11 pm  

  • No. 7, calm down mate, it's not like you to get drawn into one of these anonymous squabbles.

    Yes, they're always going to happen but that doesn't mean they should be tolerated. And just because I don't know anyone who's died from a high tackle, doesn't mean the situation isn't serious. I've been on the wrong end of a few and it hurts like hell.

    By Anonymous Ted, at December 05, 2009 7:31 pm  

  • If you ever play national age group rugby like me you know this is a common occurence, go watch ballet, I've been head stomped in the ruck and the ref hasn't even seen it, you get up and play.

    By Anonymous Les Bleus, at December 05, 2009 7:43 pm  

  • No.7, chill bro, and tone down the language and name calling please. Keep it cool and you're more likely to make your point.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 9:10 pm  

  • The worst high tackle of the year i would have to say is the tackle by Andrea Masi on Rob Kearney in the Six Nations. It was just disgusting.

    He swings the arm very high and straight into the face of Kearney who was about to fly donw the wing and either score a try or set it up for someone else.

    Some say it was thought about to injure him becasue they all knew he was a big danger man not just for his running but clearing up at the back and ripping them up at broken play.

    Not so sure about it being thought that much but it really is a nasty tackle

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2009 9:56 pm  

  • apologies people, the guy hit a nerve!!! although it could have been worse....i actually edited my reponses before i posted them...

    ...ill agree with the above anonymous and masi's tackle, it was awful!!

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 06, 2009 12:22 am  

  • You'd think we were watching soccer!
    I hate all this BS around tackles in union these days.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 06, 2009 4:08 am  

  • it goes to show how the first tear teams can get away with anything, these outcomes shows the same results as they did when they had to vote weather x-all blacks etc etc can play for the second tear nations come on this is why rugby will never be as popular as soccer .. sad indeed

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 06, 2009 3:49 pm  

  • .......to the above....you want to know what i think?......

    .....well i think you and rory lamont should meet up, you'd probably have the time of your life!

    By Anonymous :), at December 07, 2009 12:37 am  

  • @ :) for your comments above...

    you an aussie? gotta be.only an aussie will make comments like that. now go to the nearest mirror, see if your d*ck can touch your @rse...if it can..congratulations! now you can go f*ck yourself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 07, 2009 1:20 am  

  • Hahahahahaha at the anonymous above....nope im not an aussie....as at matter of fact im no where near....and as for my comments....

    well lets see, i made 2 on this, the first was my opinion about these tackles in which i got lost on my point, but it pretty much is these tackles should be penalties and yellows at the least. and my second comment was at the guy above me who sounds like a conspiracy theorist (unless that anonymous is you, i dunno, too many people without names and so comments cannot be accounted for make things difficult!) ......anyway if you had actually payed any attention to posts on this site you may have read 'The Ross Skeate diary' in which ross skeate makes a referance to rory lamont, whose opinion on swine flu is that it was created by the government....

    ....so yeh, learn to read properly and you might actually realise what i am talking about, other wise take your nation bashing lame comment elsewhere....

    ...really you have a small set if you cant even include something as a name! instead you hide behind 'Anonymous' so that you can make all sorts of different comments at everyone and try and brew up trouble....

    By Anonymous :), at December 07, 2009 3:14 am  

  • Good work keeping it down to 3 examples of rank inconsistency.

    I have a lot less to say about the refereeing in each of these three incidents, you can understand how mistakes happen when you don't have the benefit of a video replay. I do think however that with JP Pietersen, Nigel Owens had just earlier pinged Morne Steyn for a high tackle (on the advice of the assistant) which was nothing of the sort - so he gave SA the benefit when he had the next marginal call (although this wasn't marginal at all!).

    I will say this as someone who has played and reffed the game - when you tackle high, you always run the risk. Any of these three could have gotten carded, and none could have had a complaint. High is high, and if the ref sees it as such, you're in trouble.

    The citing process however is a different matter, and right now is a complete joke. Justice 4 Bakkies, as tacky a protest as it was, was in substance spot on. The lack of consistency by which players are brought before the suits is the main farce; then it is the arbitrariness of bans.

    As a Bok supporter, on the former point, I will not for the life of me understand why Matt Giteau didn't get cited for his high shot on Fourie du Preez. No idea. On the latter issue, how Schalk Burger only got 8 weeks for his eye-gouge made no sense.

    One day, these idiots upstairs will get taken to court by an "unfairly" banned player suing for lost earnings and the like. I am not one who imagines there can be perfect consistency on the citing process, but it has to get a helluva lot better and if it must take a visit to real judge for this to happen, so be it.

    By Anonymous Edbok, at December 07, 2009 4:20 pm  

  • Edbok, i have no experience reffing but have played a lot and i have to agree....

    especially with bakkies thing....i take it this is referring to the injury to adam jones?

    ...if it is then i can watch the replay again and again, and from what i can see bakkies went into that ruck with the intent to make his presence known (in other words cause pain perhaps...) just as anyone is taught, you dont go into rucks half assed! but as far as i can tell there was nothing wrong with what he did....and then (i have commented on this previously) the scotland italy game, someone took out palu with similar technique and recieved nothing....

    now, to me, what works for one player must work for another....

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 07, 2009 4:39 pm  

  • No. 7 -

    The "Justice 4" protest was not so much about the Bakkies ban (although they were pissed about this too) - but the whole arbitrariness of the citings process generally.

    And they were exactly right, as this Rugbydump post illustrates. This is not high-pitched whining or blinkered arguing, the citing system is completely messed up. I will always have some sympathy with the ref, because he only ever has one look at whatever happens, the citings guys have no such excuse.

    By Anonymous Edbok, at December 07, 2009 6:14 pm  

  • oh eh edbok i definately agree with that, i think it actually gives more life to the game having the fact refs miss things, honestly imagine how slow the game would be if the ref pinged every single thing in a game....

    I really think the same thing, if you are adopting replay after replay after replay and you are stopping someone from doing their job (banning players) there should be no excuse!

    These guys are being payed to watch stuff with all the slow mo's in the world and bearing in mind it is supposed to be the same governing body i think its ridiculous when calls differ so much.

    Now i really dont want to start debates on here again, but you watch burgers gouge and yes we dont get cameras in the end of burgers fingers to see if they did indeed go 'into' kearneys eyes but it looked bad! (no doubt) and someone like burger, who personally i think is a fantastic player has a bad track record for discipline and should have been banned for longer.....

    ....but then someone like bakkies actually performing a good ruck technique (apologies to adam jones, im sure it bloody hurt) getting banned.....

    its crazy!

    (im getting distracted as i write so im sorry if that doesnt make much sense...)

    By Anonymous No.7, at December 07, 2009 7:39 pm  

  • next time hi tackle the ref then shoved his own cards in hes ass haha

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 08, 2009 8:02 am  

  • JP Pietersen's tackle was careless and desperate, and showed complete disregard for rules. after being beat to the inside he illegally reached out and took bowe down by the nose. also south africa was despicable in their false accusations against heaslip.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 08, 2009 11:26 pm  

  • I do think it was bad form that the Saffas cited 3 Irish players after the recent game (all of which came to nothing), while the Irish did not cite JP or Bekker (with his nice knee drop on Wallace's head).

    Furthermore, I don't know why the citing commissioner ignored those clear offences and it makes me wonder even more about the citing process.

    Just to be clear, the argument here is not about what team A did to team B, it's just about consistency for all teams.

    By Anonymous Gavin, at December 09, 2009 12:12 am  

  • Under normal circumstances, a penalty would have sufficed. The only reason for harsh treatment is the team captain had already been warned about persistent infringement from the team. Still that doesn't justify a straight yellow card. (On a totally unrelated note, I don't the the Samoans are dirty but they're prone to being reckless when they throw their bodies into the tackle)
    Carter's case was tricky cox it was a minor offence which went unpunished. Whatever decision on the citing would have seemed awkward.
    The IRB spent too much time toying with the rules instead of getting their priorities right

    By Blogger vinniechan, at December 09, 2009 6:13 pm  

  • I can't believe some of the comments i'm reading here.
    Peitersons tackle on Bowe was obviously the worst.

    1) Both Carter and Fa'fili were taller than the men they were tackling and they both had their tackling harm chest high going in. Peiterson's arm was above his OWN neck swinging in, obviously going towards the neck head of Bowe.

    2) Carter and Fa'fili both wrapped in their tackle, around the shoulder/neck. These were high and deserved their penalty but was not intention (hence the wrap tackle). Peiterson did not attempt to wrap up Bowe. He came straight in, forearm to Bowes face. Watch his body during the "tackle" and see how his weight doesn't drop forward, like a tackling motion. He just swings in his arm.

    3) the Ref's comment that Bowe ducked into it was bullshit. Bowe was leaning forward while running, which is his running form. Watch any vids of him he always runs like that. His head was maybe 2-3 cmm lower than if he was standing straight up. Obviously not ducking into it.

    Yet Peiterson recieved no card?? He basically punched Bowe in the face with a running start. Seriously messed up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 09, 2009 9:43 pm  

  • definetely the least bad is carter´s one. he tackled a much smaller guy than him (roberts) and he was running when he performed the tackle, which gives you less stability to lower your body. petersons tackle was directly a punch in the face. no body movement is seen in the hole situation. fa´filli´s tackle deserved in my opinion a red card, but nothing more than that. i still can not elieve that petersen has not been sanctioned

    By Anonymous austin, at February 03, 2010 5:27 am  

  • I wonder if any of the respondants to this thread actually have any contact with or know of anybody who has suffered a severe broken neck as a direct consequence of a tackle. ALL Head high tackles should result in a Red Card in my Opinion and all of these guys should have a minimum of three weeks. There is NO excuse to target the Head and until there is a specific Law to enforce this and it is then supported and excercised by all referees and strictly administered via the disciplinary comittees worldwide by ALL the Rugby Authorities then players of all abilities will continue to make excuses whether deliberate or not ! Yes, I have had my neck broken in a tackle and now suffer from ongoing very severe spinal pain which will be with me until I peg out. Take it from someone who knows the consequences and who is living with it !!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 05, 2010 8:36 pm  

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