Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Italy signaled their intent early on against the Irish in Rome this past weekend. In order to compete, they needed to be pumped up and take the physical battle to the opposition.
They did just that within 30 seconds of kickoff, but it went horribly wrong, resulting in them being down to 14 men from the get-go as fullback Andrea Masi was handed his marching orders.
Masi flew in on opposite number Rob Kearney with a wild and reckless challenge that sparked somewhat of a brawl within a minute of the match getting underway.
Masi received a yellow card for the dangerous tackle, and has since been cited, with his case being scheduled to be heard by an independent Six Nations three-man disciplinary committee in London on Wednesday.
If found guilty, Masi will more than likely be banned for Italys crunch clash against Scotland, the only other side yet to record a win in this years tournament.
With the incident occurring shortly after kickoff, leeway was seemingly given to Masi, with a tackle of this nature surely being worthy of a red normally.
So despite him on his way to a citing commission on Wednesday, the referees decision is still up for debate. Was the yellow card sufficient, considering when the incident occurred, or should it have been a straight red as it was high and clearly dangerous?