Wednesday, May 12, 2010
It's midweek, so time for some madness as we take a look at this short clip from the Super 14 that shows Chiefs front rower Nathan White letting loose on Waratahs prop Al Baxter when the two sides met on the weekend.
The clip was requested earlier in the week, so I thought it would be pretty interesting to get it posted to show you all exactly what happened, and how blatant punching can apparently be forgiven on the rugby pitch these days.
In a week where two players were suspended for dangerous tackles, it's a little strange to see that White, who launched (and landed by the look of things) at least three solid punches on Baxter, got away with this with little more than a penalty against his team.
In general it was a pretty bad weekend for the officials, and Steve Walsh kept with the low standard as he looked out of sorts at times in this game, and lacked his usual confidence when it came to decision making. He also found himself having to perform Matrix-like manoeuvres to get out of the way on more than one occasion.
He picked up criticism not too long ago for winking at a front rower after penalising the other side, and at the beginning of this clip you can see him once again being just a bit too friendly.
When it came to the scuffle though, Walsh, after consulting assistant ref Vinnie Monroe, decided to just give the players a talking to and a penalty. A while back that was considered great reffing.
Perhaps there's a school of thought that will say the same now even, and fair enough if that's what you subscribe to, but we were also told recently that punching on a rugby field is a direct red card, or at least a yellow. White's punches looked like the real deal, so should he not have been sent to the cooler?
Compare mistimed, reckless tackles that get a few weeks out of the game, with what we see here, and once again we've got confusion when it comes to how the game is, and should be, policed.
So the point of this post isn't to have a go at Walsh himself, it's merely to get a bit of feedback regarding your thoughts on the matter, as I'm sure opinions are divided. Maybe it was simply a case of both Walsh and Monroe being uncited..
The question for you is:
Was this well handled, or should White have been carded?
On a sidenote, coming up on RD we've got highlights of Leinster vs Edinburgh, our Super 14 Pick of the Week, the next episode of School of Hard Knocks, Guinness Premiership highlights, and any other interesting clips we come across.