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Wales vs England 1999


Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw



Monday, January 03, 2011

Sam Tuitupou and Keith Earls big dump tackle on Richard Fussell

A few weeks back Munster travelled to the Liberty Stadium and went down 19-15 to arch rivals Ospreys in what was a tense Heineken Cup game that exposed one or two in the Munster pack, and was littered with refereeing inconsistencies.

One of the talked about incidents came in the 32nd minute when visiting centers Keith Earls and Sam Tuitupou combined to sandwich, lift, and dump Ospreys wing Richard Fussell.

All three are fairly lightweight but the power of Tuitupou was on show as he and Earls slammed Fussell to the ground in what on another day would have probably been penalised. On this occasion, it was left alone, much to the surprise of many after recent soft tackles have been blown up the second a players legs point skyward.

In fact later in the game, Munster replacement Lifeimi Mafi was yellow carded for a spear tackle which by all means didn’t look dangerous, but was ruled according to the letter of the law.

This ‘slamdunk’ of a tackle happened pretty quickly so it looked as though referee Romain Poite made a split second decision to ignore it, but it was close to being dangerous, so both players seemed lucky to get away with it.

If nothing else, it was quite spectacular looking, so here it is for you to watch, judge, and give your verdict on. If you were ref on the day, what would your call have been?


Time: 01:27


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58 Comments:

  • ... yes.. Yes... YES!!! THIS MOMENT HAS FINALLY COME!!!

    I'D LIKE TO THANK ALL MY RD FRIENDS AND RD FAMILY FOR GIVING ME SUPPORT THROUGH THIS AGONISING PROCESS

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANKS

    By Anonymous Judgement Dave, at January 03, 2011 8:37 pm  

  • I would think that a card would only be called for if it was consistent with other calls. If something much less dangerous/hard was carded later in the game, then this should have as well. I don't have a problem with this not being called, but don't turn around and give a card to something that is less borderline than this! It's all about consistency... if a ref is consistent, it's hard to argue. Even if it's consistently bad, at least it's bad all around.

    By Blogger Chris, at January 03, 2011 8:39 pm  

  • congrats!!! can we get this guy a medal! im mean... he got... FIRST, holy cow dude. well done dave, well done!

    as for the tackle, i think its fine, earls kinda of throws him, but munster 12 keeps contact all the way down!

    By Anonymous VictorSoCalRuggger, at January 03, 2011 8:39 pm  

  • By strict ruling of the law, the player was turned past the horizontal, so that his upper back, shoulders or head made initial contact with the ground. That's a spear, with is a card.

    This is not as bad a spear as I've seen, but by the letter of the law, this is a card.

    However, I didn't see the match, and if worse infractions were let go, then no, from a consistency standpoint, this wouldn't be a card. Still, the risk of neck injury is so high with these dumping tackles that you never want to see them get let go.

    By Anonymous Christopher, at January 03, 2011 9:05 pm  

  • This is spectacular but I found the ref made the right call. A yellow card would have been very harsh.

    This is no high tackle. Earls released Fussell mid way down and I do not believe Tuitupou is malicious.

    Good teamwork I would say

    By Anonymous Flipje, at January 03, 2011 9:10 pm  

  • TEXTBOOK!

    By Anonymous Citing Commissioner, at January 03, 2011 9:17 pm  

  • earls appears to have a bit of malice the way he seems to try and throw him to the ground but tuitupou just puts in a solid hard hit. right call from the ref although maybe just a wee word with them the next time play was paused

    By Anonymous DJ, at January 03, 2011 9:20 pm  

  • Barnes is a prat comparing that to O´driscol, for starters Earls had the ball!!! Good tackle, Earls jumps and loses balance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 03, 2011 9:41 pm  

  • It seems to me the centre jumps in the tackle, he's not actually lifted, then the tackle pressure from both oponents make him flip a little, nothing wrong for me.

    By Blogger Anton, at January 03, 2011 9:53 pm  

  • ^^ Earls is one of the tacklers.

    I wouldn't have complained if that was a penalty and a card - I've seen softer ones given. I really think that Tuitupou has been a disappointment at Munster, but we'll see if he can turn it around as it's still early days. Munster haven't been able to replace the excellent Rua Tipoki in the centre.

    By the way, I would have thought that Earls was pretty blameless in the tackle here, but other people's milage may vary.

    By Anonymous Mike, at January 03, 2011 9:57 pm  

  • Barnes comes off as a bit of a racist here in my opinion. I see very little difference in the actions of the tacklers except for the colour of their skin. The only comparison to the BOD tackle was that a Caucasian is tackled in part by an islander.

    As for the tackle, I guess by the letter of the law it's illegal, however in my day would have been seen as textbook. I'm all for the protection of the players though and at te least a penalty could be awarded.

    By Anonymous Canadian content, at January 03, 2011 9:57 pm  

  • Does anyone have the link to the video where Kaino punches Phillips vs. Wales?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 03, 2011 10:06 pm  

  • Canadian,

    I agree it's a very bad comparison - the Mealamu/Umaga spear happened at the side of a ruck after the ball was gone. This was an actual tackle, so totally different. No need to bring that episode into it.

    I'd be very slow to label somebody as racist based on such slender evidence though.

    By Anonymous Mike, at January 03, 2011 10:13 pm  

  • Was there not a clip a month or two ago, where the player landed in the exact same position and got carded and most people agreed with the card?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 03, 2011 10:37 pm  

  • Christopher

    As far as I'm aware, the word spear [tackle] does not come up in the IRB rule book once. Also, with regards to tackling, the word horizontal does not come up at all either. So what's all this talk about letter of the law, etc.? I don't think a spear tackle is actually defined under IRB laws.


    And from what I have heard from commentators, a spear tackle involves driving a player, head first, into the ground, neither of which happened. He was thrown to the ground, released before he hit the ground and he landed on his back.

    How is this comparable to the BOD spear tackle, as the commentator says? Normally that guy's a good commentator.

    By Anonymous KG, at January 03, 2011 10:45 pm  

  • What a surprise, time and time again these NH 'football' refs are screaming about a perfectly legal tackle, these happen every SH game and the moment they happen in the NH the refs and weak fans start going off on one!!! It's laughable how bad your rugby is, even at our weakest (autumn) you still couldn't beat us!!!

    By Anonymous Luke, at January 03, 2011 10:48 pm  

  • I think it's sad that the old dump tackle has been so much maligned of late. Of course sticking a guy on his head or neck is unacceptable, but sending a guy back from whence he came is one of the most satisfying things you'll ever do on rugby pitch. Fussell was not put in danger here, move on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 03, 2011 10:52 pm  

  • "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."

    Seems as if the tackle actually was illegal. Damn. It looked so good.

    By Anonymous KG, at January 03, 2011 10:58 pm  

  • Luke, what country are you from?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 03, 2011 11:00 pm  

  • ball carrier clearly jumps into the tackle is not lifted, therefore that law isn't broken.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 03, 2011 11:59 pm  

  • Fussel knows how to fall! You see him hitting the ground "judo" style with his right arm.

    By Anonymous alasdair, at January 04, 2011 12:20 am  

  • Considering that both the ref was directly next to the tackle and no citing was given afterwards I'd say a perfectly legal tackle

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 12:57 am  

  • Luke - obvious troll fails obviously.

    By Anonymous Mike, at January 04, 2011 1:10 am  

  • Nothing wrong with this tackle ffs. Ball carrier's center of gravity is high when contact is made, his torso stays still while the momentum causes his legs to go forward and up. There was no deliberate 'tipping action'.

    "..Watch the left shoulder of Tuitupou does he just topple him over and send him down..." Idiot commentator.

    Anyone who analyses a tackle frame by frame in a dynamic game like this is a fuckwit

    By Anonymous atarsx, at January 04, 2011 1:45 am  

  • "Barnes comes off as a bit of a racist here in my opinion."

    Barnes is racist, so it's no surprise he comes off as such. You'll never come across a bigger wanker than Barnes.

    This tackle is fine for me.

    By Anonymous HeavenlyDivine, at January 04, 2011 7:10 am  

  • good on the ref, if that had happened in this years tri-nations it would have been a yellow plus a couple weeks on the sideline.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 10:02 am  

  • He jumps into the tackle and isnt dropped, end of!

    By Blogger koremeltdown, at January 04, 2011 10:39 am  

  • What the fuck is Dowi on about here with "not that dissimilar to Umaga and Mealamu on O'Drisoll"?

    The last time I heard something so outrageous it involved PdV and ballet. The Umaga incident was nowhere near the ball and was a premeditated dump on the head, more like a wrestling piledriver than a rugby tackle.

    This is absolutely fine. It wasn't even a tip tackle I don't think, as they don't pick up the players legs.

    By Anonymous JK, at January 04, 2011 11:22 am  

  • Correction, Barnes not Dowi.

    By Anonymous JK, at January 04, 2011 11:23 am  

  • Yellow card.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 12:08 pm  

  • Good call imo.

    I have had it up to my proverbials with this nonsense. Its not Keith Earls or Hacksaw Sams fault if some goon jumps into a double tackle.

    I also don't think he was "tipped past horizontal".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 12:12 pm  

  • Winger jumps into it, so his momentum carries his legs up.

    Earls might get a word in his ear about dropping him in the tackle, but nothing more than a highlight reel hit.

    By Blogger Richard, at January 04, 2011 12:27 pm  

  • 'What a surprise, time and time again these NH 'football' refs are screaming about a perfectly legal tackle, these happen every SH game and the moment they happen in the NH the refs and weak fans start going off on one!!!'

    Man we all wish we were as hard as the SH guys. I mean everything awesome that we can do, you guys can just do better apparently. Like this tackle, the sort that happens every two seconds down there, every match, apparently. *Sigh*.

    Hell, I almost wish they WOULDN'T BRING UP THE NH V SH TOPIC, as it makes us feel soooooo insecure....

    .....alternately, how ON EARTH did this video and subject manage to bring up the debate?!! Perhaps their EGOS are too big for their own good......

    By Blogger Alexander, at January 04, 2011 12:57 pm  

  • The only SH players are Japanese and the islanders, most of the Kiwis, Saffas and Aussies are from the NH.

    They're just too dumb to realise this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 1:31 pm  

  • The bounce after the tackle was pretty good too

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 1:32 pm  

  • finally! this is rugby! if you take out tackles like this one your killing the have of it!

    By Anonymous Martin, at January 04, 2011 2:30 pm  

  • great hit not illegal!

    By Anonymous Enough, at January 04, 2011 2:41 pm  

  • I wish stuart barnes would fuck off and die.

    By Anonymous Jack, at January 04, 2011 3:59 pm  

  • When you are carrying the ball, don't run into contact high. Definitely don't jump into two defenders.

    By Anonymous tb, at January 04, 2011 4:05 pm  

  • The double-tackle is impressive because the ospreys player jumped into their arms.
    After it's the interpretation of the ref.

    a special word for the commentators who always mention o'driscoll - mealamu accident. i think that o'driscoll is not the only player who have been injured by cathedral tackles. this o'driscoll fanclub references begin to be very annoying.

    By Anonymous Colombes, at January 04, 2011 4:29 pm  

  • Woe betide a center partnership that has to go up against Sam and Mafi. However, the blind side wing will have to be vigilant with the two boyz frothing at the mouth like a pair of rabid dawgs eager to paralyze someone in the tackle.

    What is it with the Islander boyz, I hit a Samoan with a text book chest high tackle over 3 weeks ago and I still have a headache, mild whiplash, and the fucker set up a try for his team.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 4:51 pm  

  • He jumped into it

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 6:28 pm  

  • Anonymous said...
    The only SH players are Japanese and the islanders, most of the Kiwis, Saffas and Aussies are from the NH.

    They're just too dumb to realise this.


    This post is brilliant. Have a look at a map and let us all know when you've found Japan!

    By Anonymous Von, at January 04, 2011 6:36 pm  

  • Is that ROG getting boshed at the end of the clip?.. surprise surprise.

    By Anonymous H, at January 04, 2011 6:38 pm  

  • Good tackle in my opinion. Earls isn't really involved, once he realises Tuitupou's already got it covered so you can take him out of the equation altogether. Tuitupou makes a good hit and brings the guy to ground safely.

    An anonymous poster above quite rightly says "sending a guy back whence he came is one of the most satisfying things you'll ever do on rugby pitch". I totally agree. And I've been on the receiving end far more often than I've dealt this type of tackle out!

    By Anonymous Von, at January 04, 2011 6:44 pm  

  • Colombes said...
    a special word for the commentators who always mention o'driscoll - mealamu accident. i think that o'driscoll is not the only player who have been injured by cathedral tackles. this o'driscoll fanclub references begin to be very annoying.

    100% agree and disappointing to hear this sort of hyperbolic crap from Stuart Barnes, as I usually like him. He also usually seems to favour the tackler in these instances too - or, come to think of it, is that just when Matt Banahan's doing the tackling??

    By the way - never heard of the "cathedral tackle" before, but I like the sound of it!!

    By Anonymous Von, at January 04, 2011 6:56 pm  

  • H said...
    Is that ROG getting boshed at the end of the clip?.. surprise surprise.


    LOL! Good spot. The human speedbump strikes again. I want to know how he doesn't get injured...

    By Anonymous Von, at January 04, 2011 7:00 pm  

  • Don't be surprised to fly when you jump into a tackle... If you follow the rules, penalty could have been given against the ball holder.

    By Anonymous Dalma, at January 04, 2011 7:20 pm  

  • The guy landed on his back, and one of the munster guys kept contact till the end... fair tackle! If anyone was to be penalised, it should be fussell for that little hop before the tackle, in fact, i think thats what helped the tacklers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 7:22 pm  

  • No it's O'Leary getting boshed by Hibbert I believe. O'Leary is one of the strongest tackling scrum halfs in the NH at least. Hibbert is a bit of a tank with ball in hand, watch how low his center of gravity is, shoulder on shoulder, no chance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 04, 2011 8:48 pm  

  • If anyone is to blame on the "spear" tackle, it's Keith Earls. Tuitupou had his arms around Fussell's waist and looks to be making a legit tackle after Fussell left his feet in contact. Keith Earls kept his arm high and finished his movement with a shove just below the neck region.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 05, 2011 2:19 am  

  • bloody idiots with their "umaga's tackle on odriscoll was premeditate".
    Could you tell me the lottery numbers for next week, was just wondering, since you can obviously read minds and know what umaga was thinking maybe you can tell the future aswell.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 05, 2011 6:32 am  

  • I think this is one of the first clean hits i have ever seen from Sam, he is usually wrapped around someones neck!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 05, 2011 12:07 pm  

  • Good tackle.
    Thank god it wasn't carded.
    It's just a good hit.

    By Anonymous Jono, at January 06, 2011 2:42 am  

  • Oh, and please, shut the fuck up about O'Driscoll. There ahve been many spears before and since that one.
    GET THE FUCK OVER IT.

    By Anonymous Jono, at January 06, 2011 2:43 am  

  • Barnes is the most bias, retarded commentator in rugby.
    He loves anything england, followed by anything NH and hates anything else.
    He's also often completely clueless about what's happening on the pitch and doesn't know wnaything about modern rugby.

    By Anonymous Bill, at January 06, 2011 2:49 am  

  • It doesn't matter where a player is from anyway. If they are from the NH but play for a country in the SH that makes them a SH player!

    By Anonymous Von, at January 06, 2011 9:25 pm  

  • Why do people keeping saying 'bias' when they mean 'biased'? E.g. "the commentator is bias"...WRONG!! 'Bias' is a noun. 'Biased' is an adjective.

    Too many spear tackles affecting the old noggin? :)

    On an unrelated note, I saw BOD yesterday queueing immediately in front of me at an ATM in Dublin before I flew back from my hols. When he was done, he gave some money to a homeless person sitting on the street. Fair dues to the guy. Couldn't believe how small he was though.

    By Anonymous Grammar Police, at January 08, 2011 2:20 am  

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