Friday, August 06, 2010
Yesterday I mistakenly said that the Drew Mitchell red card for two yellows was possibly the first of its kind in Test rugby. Thanks to a chat with a friend, and one of the comments on that post, I can now tell you that there was also the controversial sending off of Percy Montgomery against Wales in Cardiff in 2005.
South Africa won the game 33-16 on the first match of their European tour, but the talking point was without a doubt the Montgomery red card after he was sent from the pitch permanently in the 70th minute following a second yellow card.
The first, issued by Stuart Dickinson upon recommendation by touchjudge Bryce Lawrence, was for what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle on Shane Williams.
Ten minutes from time it was Montgomery and Williams again, but this time the Springbok fullbacks tackle was said to be high, resulting in a second yellow card which led to the permanent dismissal.
While many felt the decisions were harsh, especially for the first tackle, former Test referee Andre Watson stood by his colleagues. "You sometimes have to consider things from the referee's point of view. There was a definite run-up to the red card. Percy was earlier warned about a tackle he performed without using his arms.
"The touch judge thought it had been a spear tackle. It was a reckless tackle and he was shown his first yellow card. In the other instance Percy's arms were around the neck of the Welsh wing Shane Williams, which led to the second card and his suspension.
"The rule states clearly you can't tackle a player around the neck. It doesn't matter if the opponent is 2m or just 1.6m and if he stands upright or if he's bending down. It's the responsibility of the player performing the tackle to stay away from the ball carrier's head and neck. In this instance I don't have a lot of sympathy for Percy," Watson said.
Despite Watson justifying the decisions, the red card was later rescinded by IRB judicial officer Jeff Blackett after he ruled that the first tackle was legitimate and shouldnt have been yellow carded. The red card ruling was then overturned, and Montgomery was allowed to play in the next game, against France.
The Rugby Club Plays of the Week - Dear Refs, Sort it out!
The build up to the Drew Mitchell red card
Percy Montgomery interview, tribute, and classic try from 1997
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