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Monday, July 19, 2010

Matt Banahan's tip tackle on Berrick Barnes

A month ago England wing Matt Banahan was suspended for a tip tackle he made when playing against the Australian Barbarians down under. In the wake of the Jean De Villiers suspension this past weekend, take a look at this and compare the two.

It took a while to track down a clip from the un-televised game and by the time I'd sorted it out, the dust had settled slightly. There was a request for it earlier today though so what better time to post the clip than when there's been a fairly heated debate about the De Villiers spear on Rene Ranger that many felt was a little soft.

In the case of Banahan, he was the third England player to be cited on that tour, with lock Dave Atwood having two charges of stamping being dropped on technicalities. Mark Cueto was then also cited for a hit against Australia - that you can see at the start of this clip - but that was also thrown out.

Banahan was third in line, and perhaps in some ways paid the price for the other two getting off scot free. His tackle on Berrick Barnes led to him being suspended for two weeks by New Zealand Judicial Officer Peter Hobbs.

By all means, it was a big hit and Barnes' legs were lifted above the horizontal. At no point in time was his head driven or dropped towards the ground though, so on initial viewing the ruling seemed very harsh. It certainly wasn't a spear, but perhaps was a 'tip tackle', as they like to call it these days.

If we're after consistency, and this type of tackle is indeed illegal, then when you compare the two incidents, the two weeks that De Villiers got suddenly doesn't look so bad.

This clip has also been posted because regardless of comparisons, some of you wanted to see it a while back and possibly never did.

I'd like to hear your take on it. Was this ruling on Banahan extremely harsh, or is the IRB on the right track when trying to stop tacklers from lifting players' legs in the tackle?

Time: 0:26



  • What a hit. Shame it is technically a bannable offense.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 5:32 pm  

  • Thought that was a good, solid tackle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 5:38 pm  

  • I really think this is getting ridiculous! By all means malicious spear tackles where players are being dropped or drievn down on their head or necks should be punished severely, but this was just a plain good hard hit and should if anything be encouraged! He got his shoulder into the perfect position, drove with the legs, wrapped the arms and went to ground with the tackled player. Textbook if you ask me!

    Same goes for the tackle on De Villiers as far as i'm concerned.

    Both excellent hits!

    By Anonymous Believer, at July 19, 2010 5:39 pm  

  • Well Banahan never dropped him, so I think it was a bit too harsh

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 5:41 pm  

  • The Banahan tackle looks like a big hit but fine to me as there's no attempt to spear the player into the ground. He ends up flat on his back, just as he would in a normal tackle. Banahan hits him, the player comes off his feet with the force of the tackle and with Banahan still holding him (using his arms as he should be) they both fall to ground

    On the other hand, Ranger clearly gets picked up, turned and speared head and shoulder first into the ground by JdeV. Definitely a penalty and maybe a card as there is a distinct chance for a nasty injury

    As for Cueto's tackle - hard but he does use his arms. The question is though - who is the Aussie player whinging like a little girl / football player afterwards??

    By Anonymous Paolo, at July 19, 2010 5:42 pm  

  • Yep. I like to see the big hits, but driving someone downwards in the head (more-so with De Villiers, is just dangerous). Banahan is just a monster, puts in the big hit but I don't see him driving his head through the earth.

    Ones that annoy me are the supposed 'no-handed' tackles, if you lead with a shoulder fair enough. But ones like Andy Powells in the lions tour was ridiculous (only a penalty conceded) but I seem to remember one in the NZ vs SA game too.

    By Blogger cp85, at July 19, 2010 5:45 pm  

  • Its hard for a much taller player to not "tip" a smaller play if he's going in low and then driving the player back.

    By Blogger keithxv, at July 19, 2010 5:52 pm  

  • - harsh and probably not worth the citing for Banahan. In earlier posting I argued that JDV was not malicious but could have controlled the tackle better and therefore deserved a penalty and one week ban. However this area is increasingly difficult and we don't want to undermine the physicality of the game.

    Despite being a four-eyed England supporter, I think Cueto should have received a citing for a shoulder charge although I enjoy watching them in rugby league...

    By Anonymous NiWiTa, at July 19, 2010 5:57 pm  

  • .........i see no one has asked the question of 'what did barnes do?'

    I mean, 'england has a citing in every match etc'

    maybe barnes was rude in a pub....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 7:15 pm  

  • Utter rubbish. Both tackles were fair, use of the arms and no danger to the opponent's head. Really disappointing that they got cited.

    The one second clip of Barnes crying like a six year old made me happy though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 7:42 pm  

  • To the question of "what did Barnes do?", surely everyone who's ever played the game has seen a little fella running towards them, licked their lips, rubbed their hands together with glee and thought, "right, I'm going to enjoy this!"

    And in the international game, Barnes IS a little fella.

    By Anonymous DannyDC, at July 19, 2010 7:45 pm  

  • The two hits are examples of a normal hit in lesser leagues such as mine where both men get up and get congratulated, a for making the hit and b for getting up from the hit, and there are no punishments from the sir/ma'am, or the ruling board of goveners. Both the hits in question have been text book hits, yes they have been hard but this is a contact sport not a slap and giggle sport like some I know of.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 8:20 pm  

  • Just another example of how Union is getting soft. They have completely outlawed rucking. Now you can't put a solid driving hit on someone. What's next! Uncontested Scrums.......wouldn't surprise me.

    By Anonymous MizzouRugby, at July 19, 2010 8:51 pm  

  • I think the tackle shouldnt be judged on how close to the horizontal line the tacklee is but more on the referees opinion of severity in the tackle, the force of which the player is driven into the ground and the risk of injury.. It looks like the Banahan tackle went to the horizontal line therefore the referee saw that as illegal instead of realizing there was little chance of injury. When I look at the Rene/JDV incident it does look like Rene dips his head towards the ground (obviously not to injure himself) but to make it look like that is the first point of contact.

    Eventually players will get away with going into contact upright and not get humiliated by being stuck on there arse. I actually had a dream about players lifting in the tackle then gently lying them on the ground.

    Realization should be made that the dangerous tackles are the ones like the Gregan tackle, Sivivatu flipping over his shoulder and Tuqiri on McCaw. That is dangerous but this is not.

    By Anonymous H, at July 19, 2010 9:07 pm  

  • I dont clasify that tackle as a spear tackle. Yeah he lifted and went off his feet, but he didnt dump the guy on his head or shoulders. It was a legit "dump" tackle that looked awesome! Unfortunately it was ruled incorrectly in my opinion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 10:15 pm  

  • Fine tackle in my opinion, IRB should back off.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 10:26 pm  

  • i agree, a nice hit but i think the problem was that banahan upended himself and drove his shoulder into him on the ground, there was intent. de villiers tackle didnt look as bad to me, i dont think de villiers ment to upend ranger, just couldnt hold him

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 10:39 pm  

  • big fan of banahan but it went past 90degrees. nothing you can do

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2010 11:25 pm  

  • As a player all I can do is shake my head in disbelief. WE ARE TAUGHT TO TACKLE THIS WAY.

    By Anonymous Fridge, at July 20, 2010 12:30 am  

  • Looked like a fair call on deVellliers, but a bit harsh on Banahan. On a side note is Matt Banahan the worst winger going around in test rugby or what?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2010 1:04 am  

  • Yeah he looks so pikey with his sleeves.. I passionately call him Matt Caravanahan.

    By Anonymous H, at July 20, 2010 1:19 am  

  • Nothign wrong with that tackle IMO.
    As an Aussie that shouldn't have been banned.

    By Anonymous |Jono, at July 20, 2010 1:42 am  

  • To be fair to the citing commisioner though, they have to use general guidlines, and lifting beyond the horizontal is what they look for.
    I guess i don't mind too much if they err on the side of caution when it comes to spear tackles, don't want anyone to have a broken neck, but the shoulder charge thing is way out of hand.

    By Anonymous Jono, at July 20, 2010 1:44 am  

  • tbh the irb is on the wrong track, sure some of the tackles might be dangerous but in the past few days the calls on so called "spear tackles" are getting a bit too rediculous. they're basically busy ruining tackled and making it impossible to tackle hard. they're turning rugby into soccer. The banahan tackle and the jdv tackle wouldn't really be considered spear tackles. that's just my opinion and everyone has one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2010 3:51 am  

  • sofar "Believer" has it on the target. i couldn't agree more

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2010 3:52 am  

  • de villiers put ranger onto his head.

    neither of these tackles had someone landing on their head, although the first tackle could be labelled malicious.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2010 8:07 am  

  • Anonymous DannyDC said...

    To the question of "what did Barnes do?", surely everyone who's ever played the game has seen a little fella running towards them, licked their lips, rubbed their hands together with glee and thought, "right, I'm going to enjoy this!"

    This comment above cracked me up!
    A fair tackle, Barnes landed on his back not his head so where is the supposed "Spear" aspect of this tackle. One of the reasons we all play rugby is for that big smash on the weekend, it is what sets us appart from every other game on the planet. The game we love.

    By Anonymous Bradders, at July 20, 2010 9:44 am  

  • i think stuff will ebb and flow as much as the tides.....

    right now they are desperately trying to cut out spears....so anything close will be viewed the same...

    give it a bit of time when 99% of games have no spears then they'll relax and the hits will come back, then eventually the spears, then it starts again....

    By Anonymous the voice of reason, at July 20, 2010 10:07 am  

  • Great hit, shouldn't have got a ban.

    By Anonymous Jamie, at July 20, 2010 10:16 am  

  • the JDV hit was illegal. This wasn't. and if you think im anti-Bok bias, go look at the law book. Everyone saying, "ohhh there was nothing wrong with it at all" you know very very little about the laws of rugby and it saddens me as a rugby player myself.

    By Anonymous angry player, at July 20, 2010 10:55 am  

  • Poor berick barnes

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at July 20, 2010 1:07 pm  

  • I think it was legal. Even if it was not legal, I don´t think it was dangerous at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2010 2:17 pm  

  • The tackles happen 50% due to the tackler and 50% due to the runner...as the runner gets hit he leaves his feet so ANYONE tackling him will pick him up....its a safety mechanism by the runner to get up and over the tackler to avoid contact with the ribs....I've been the tackler in this situation as well as a runner...its awfully hard to prevent.

    By Blogger Adam, at July 20, 2010 2:40 pm  

  • one word.... text book

    By Anonymous Ryan, at July 20, 2010 5:13 pm  

  • A proper tackle in that he wrapped his arms around the player and tried to drive him back. NO way should he have been cited or suspended

    By Anonymous mango, at July 20, 2010 7:48 pm  

  • Cuetos should have been cited. Banahans no chance. Barnes landed firmly on his back!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2010 9:13 pm  

  • I think the IRB is being ridiculous on suspending him for two weeks. That tackle was amazing, text book if you ask me. I don't mine being hit like that. They need to realize what kind of sport they are trying to control.

    By Blogger Toners, at July 20, 2010 9:29 pm  

  • The IRB is being ridiculous on this. Text book tackle to me!!

    By Blogger Toners, at July 20, 2010 9:30 pm  

  • both the hits shown (cueto's and banahan's) looked perfectly legal. There was no attempt to spear, he put him down on his back and went to ground with him. Absolutely nothing wrong with it

    By Anonymous Rob, at July 21, 2010 2:04 am  

  • in a couple of years tackling will be banned for good and we'll all have great touch rugby pros! isn't that awesome?!?!? (sarcasm)

    Solid tackle. Unless the head goes below hip level, then it's fair.

    This is getting crazy

    By Anonymous Pedro Fleury da Rocha, at July 21, 2010 3:23 am  

  • Both these hits were fine. JDV twisted Ranger in the air and put him down face first.

    I actually think berrick Barnes needs to be congratulated in the 2nd tackle as he held his form and didn't try and twist his way back to present the ball which causes massive complications in these situations.

    There should be seperate laws for the tip tackle and the spear as they are two different events. The tip tackle where the tackler lifts the leg and tries to get the runner on their back often gets made worse as the runner attempst to twist to place the ball. i still believe this what happened to McCaw.

    Also Ryan text book is two words.......

    By Anonymous Ned2or3, at July 21, 2010 7:03 am  

  • ^ haha, well spotted

    By Anonymous Scotsdale, at July 21, 2010 9:13 am  

  • Seriously, that was cited? THAT, and De Villiers suffered the way he did? Riiiiight, the authorities OBVIOUSLY know what they're doing!!

    By Blogger Alexander, at July 21, 2010 12:58 pm  

  • gonna go play rugby league now before i have to hug and shake hands with the player after every tackle

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2010 1:17 pm  

  • I find that the IRB are slowly exagerating the whole player lifting tackle rules. At these kind of speeds it is always amazing to see someone manage a tackle like this, and as a rugby player, it is a wonderful feeling to pull it off on the field. I admit that certain spear tackles are extremely dangerous but jean de villiers last weekend wasn't dangerous in the slightest. on the whole player lifting tackle side of things, the tackled player has learned to fall correctly, it's a hard mans game and we're going down the wrong path...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2010 1:18 pm  

  • I believe that lifting legs of the tackled player in a tackle is dangerous play per se and should be punished irrespective of whether it was actually dangerous in a specific case.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2010 1:37 pm  

  • Surely Banahan's tackle was just a classic dump tackle and not a spear tackle....I bet if it Was Richie McCaw it would have been deemed a brilliant tackle and no one would've looked twice...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2010 3:10 pm  

  • You see the way BBarnes went after the ref.. sickening. Reminiscent of Portuguese/Italian football.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2010 4:11 pm  

  • Bring back the dump tackle three reasons

    One - if loosing raises morale
    Two - gets rid of the girls in the game like the barnes
    Three - it makes the game more fun to watch

    I'm sure there could be a lot more reasons y but my take on it is bring it back!!!!!

    By Anonymous Woolysrugby, at July 21, 2010 8:36 pm  

  • Firstly, a dump tackle isn't an actual thing in the laws.
    It's just a term that some people use to describe a tackle where a player gets lifted.
    Secondly they are not illegal at all, and shouldn't be. It's only ilegal if you dump a guy on his head or neck, in a spearing motion.
    The problem is how you determine when a lifting or dump tackle (whatever you want to call it) becomes a spear.
    The rule of thumb these days is usually that he get's lifted beyond the horizontal.
    The problem with that definition is that often even though your legs are beyond the horizontal you'll still end up on your back with the only real danger being a couple busted ribs or getting winded.
    It's tough for the refs and citing commisioners to determine what is and isn't dangerous, and they tend to err on the side of caution, because no ref wants to officiate a game where a guy breaks his neck.

    By Anonymous Bill, at July 22, 2010 1:24 am  

  • I think Berrick Barnes, and the rest of the Aussies, needs to toughen up a little.

    Both fine, as was rangers hit and *insert players name here*, and *insert players name here*, ansd *insert players name here* etc.. etc...

    By Anonymous goodNumber10, at July 22, 2010 8:38 am  

  • The rest of the Aussies? What do you mean? Barnes tried to get a penalty given to him, he didn't role around crying. Fair enough if you think he shouldn't have had a whinge, though he obviously thought it was an intentional late hit.\
    But what's that gotta do with 'the rest of the Aussies'.
    You mean the whole country, or the Wallabies? Either way what the hell did they do?

    By Anonymous Jimmy, at July 22, 2010 8:53 am  

  • Seemed like a fair hit to me...actually looked like a great hit.

    "The question is though - who is the Aussie player whinging like a little girl / football player afterwards??"
    "You see the way BBarnes went after the ref.. sickening. Reminiscent of Portuguese/Italian football."
    You Thugs, leave sookface alone...ha ha.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 22, 2010 1:40 pm  

  • An absolute disgraceful decision yet again. I'm growing increasingly dissolusioned with the game ive have always played and loved. That there is the essence of rugby, good hard and straight forward with no malice. Why are old men behind desks taking our game away from us?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 23, 2010 7:55 pm  

  • It's all health and safety. It was a good tackle! Females play by Under 16 rules at my level. No picking up players at all! Where is the fun in that!?

    By Anonymous Miss Rugby, at August 18, 2010 7:47 pm  

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