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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Rupeni Caucau carded for high tackle on first Toulouse start

Rupeni Caucau carded for high tackle on first Toulouse start

Rupeni Caucaunibuca made his first start for Toulouse in the Top 14 on Saturday as his new team went down 32-25 to Clermont. To compound matters, the former Fiji star was yellow carded for a dangerous high tackle.

In what was a shock move for most, the troublesome - yet extremely gifted - Caucau was taken in by Toulouse after Agen wanted nothing else to do with him. In a career that has been a bit of a rollercoaster, hes been given the opportunity at the biggest team since he was an Auckland Blues player many years back.

Far from being in his best shape, Toulouse insisted they could slim him down and hes apparently already shed a lot of the extra baggage picked up over the years. He did score a try for the French Barbarians against Tonga last weekend, but it wasn't quite in the same fashion we were all treated to in his earlier days.

He did last 50 minutes in that game though, surprising his new manager Guy Noves. "I didn't think he could last 50 minutes - I thought he would only play 30," he said.

Against Clermont they played him at second center but after just 13 minutes he was sent from the field after this reckless high tackle on Julien Malzieu couldn't go unpunished.

Luckily neither player was injured, but it initially had the look of something that caused have caused some damage. There was a nice touch afterwards though as Caucau, on his way to the sin bin, went over to apologise to Malzieu.

Hopefully well see more of the incredibly talented Fijian over the course of the next year. Class is permanent and theres no doubt that rugby fans all over the world will be keeping an eager eye on his progress as he attempts to get back in shape and stay on the straight and narrow.


Time: 01:47

Posted at 11:08 pm | 60 comments

Viewing 60 comments

Anonymous December 07, 2010 10:18 pm

looks like hes still got the pace

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Anonymous December 07, 2010 10:24 pm

I hope he gets his act together soon. He's already 30. He is truly gifted.

Who knows where he could have been if he maxed out his potential. What a shame.

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Anonymous December 07, 2010 10:27 pm

Fair enough. The way Malzieu caught his knees made it look particularly bad though.

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Juggernauter December 07, 2010 10:28 pm

Superb player. Shame he never quite reached his potential. I mean, and lost a spot at the last World Cup. I mean,is even weed that good?

He and Seru Rabeni should go head hunting some time soon. I remember Rabeni at the World Cup, not a single tackle below the neck. Very fine players both anyway.

Cheers

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Anonymous December 07, 2010 10:28 pm

Pure class: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6qdM6O26CY&feature=fvwk


Such a shame he's all over the place. Could've been at the top.

View Video

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Von December 07, 2010 10:42 pm

An extraordinarily bad tackle.
Can't wait to see more Caucau though, hope we get to see some of the old magic returning.
Looks fatter than ever if you ask me, but that never seems to have caused him any problems before...

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mat December 07, 2010 10:54 pm

the way malzieu fell made it look worse, good to see him apologise.

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Anonymous December 07, 2010 11:03 pm

Not that bad of a tackle. Malzieu just fell awkwardly. Technically it was high and I think that & the fact he had the edge on Caucau meant that he got the yellow.

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:-) December 07, 2010 11:14 pm

There was no way that guy was getting outside of Cau cau... He caught him with such ease!

He's not a malicious player, just an awkward fall from the other guy.

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Anonymous December 07, 2010 11:42 pm

Surprised the ref didn't have a wee meeting with the players to give them a good telling off

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Link December 07, 2010 11:45 pm

I agree with the others, the fall did make it look worse than it was but it is a fair yellow

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Resident Troll December 07, 2010 11:52 pm

WHAT? This is worthy of a yellow? Geez in the _I_N_S_E_R_T_ Hemisphere that would be absolutely fine, just these card happy _I_N_S_E_R_T_ hemisphere refs ruining the game....back in my day we'd have our necks broken and our faces ripped off and we'd carry on playing...blah blah.....blah blah.....blaaaaaaah

Anyway, im falling in suit with most of the comments, the way malzieu's legs got caught made it look nasty...a sort of slow then quick slam action....

I think the ref got this one right...looked bad from his point of view so was probably more than a penalty but not red worthy...

I think Caucaus handled it very well...i think the way he lay there with a 'oh sh*t im in trouble' kind of stance was perfect...I get a little tired of someone doing a bad tackle then standing up and starting a fist fight with the nearest opposition player.....he knew he'd done wrong and didnt want to get collared for fisty cuffs...

as with others, i cant wait to see more of him...(in terms of game time...not in terms of his ever increasing gut...)

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Alexander December 08, 2010 12:26 am

Whoa chill out guys, in NZ amongst Islanders this is like a standard tackle, because that totally justifies a dangerous, head high tackle like this one!!!

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craig December 08, 2010 12:33 am

It's a T14 match, Clermont v Toulouse to boot - there was always going to be a card here.

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craig December 08, 2010 12:36 am

Is Ricky Januarie his physio trainer?

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 1:03 am

Definitely deserved a yellow. But it was made to look much worse as the clermont player went to his knees and then got whipped to the ground by momentum.

Good to see an islander at least try to grapple, all be it high....

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Luxi December 08, 2010 1:04 am

why card? cos he's an islander
any european that busts that tackle gets a penalty against him and a talking to, but not islander and their so called 'bad reputation'; which is reinforced by media, ie those who understand french will get me, but for those that dont, the commentator says "first tackle, fijian style" 'pacific islanders always tackle too high"

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Pie-talian December 08, 2010 1:58 am

I saw the number on his back, the mohawk, and his sheer bulk and thought it was Bastareaud..... but then he actually outpaced someone. Couldn't be Big B! Then the Toulouse shirt dawned on me, and it could be the one and only Rupeni Caucaunpronouncable!!. If it was deliberate and timed (which it clearly wasn't, Malzieu leans into the hit rather than running straight) his only motive would be a 2 week ban to recover from running about in the first 5 minutes ;)

Rustier than the exhaust of the groundskeeper's tractor, but he's still got it. We always speak of his quite frankly unfair abilities ball in hand, but in defense (as he proved in the HC against leinster a few years back with 2 try savers) he has a knack of stealing/ripping/dislodging the ball, shame he closed his eyes and went for that big egg shape of Malzieu's head instead!

Any reason he was at 13? I didn't catch the game, how was he used? or was he just playing his own game as usual? Something tells me he has one eye on the World Cup, he'll get there as long as he keeps his other eye off the pies.

-Pietalian

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Bill December 08, 2010 2:05 am

Just a high tackle, card seems harsh, but it is France, home of the card happy ref.

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Tom December 08, 2010 2:07 am

Look, I know you Europeans love carding players, but do you really think this is a particularly bad high tackle?
Hoenstly, he wasn't hurt, he got him round th shoulders and dragged him down, not so bad, penalty should be fine. Maybe talk to Caucau. But card every high tackle? Crazy.

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smith December 08, 2010 2:15 am

Who are you talking to, Tom?

None of us carded Caucau, so what the shit are you on about?

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 2:28 am

the only reason it should be a card is if its dangerous. he doesnt strike him high like powells hit on mccaw he just grabs him round the neck. id say a penalty although it looked bad so its hard for the ref to call and its a big match in fairness to him. if it is a particularly dangerous clothes line/punch /swing then it should be a straight red not a yellow.

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 2:37 am

The thing is guys, with your comments you should really say 'with all the angles, replays, slow motion, whilst in the comfort of (wherever) sat on my arse, I personally do not believe that was a card worthy offence'

To call the referee crap because he effectively made a decision with thousands of eyes on him with only that initial view to go by that you disagree with is a little sad no?

I mean my initial look as the video started was 'ooo that looked bad' so i can only imagine what the ref saw as he tried to get a good angle...

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caucaurules December 08, 2010 3:38 am

I love this guy! So he's fat and likes to smoke, big deal. He's touched by God with talent. Just because he doesn't want to lift weights and live in a crappy climate is no reason to be harsh.

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 6:25 am

yea nothing in it, very classy by caucau to apologize

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 6:54 am

love to see the props tackling the little people some times
dont know who had the biggest belly lines man(assistant ref) or Rupeni

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 7:36 am

I watched the game, and the tackle did not look good at all in full speed. The referee kept his calm despite the fact that the tackled player lay there like a right princess--apparently on the brink of death before making a miraculous recovery--and a bit of argy-bargy was going on. All in all, clearly the right decision for the yellow. Sloppy, dangerous play that can't be tolerated, but nowhere near malicious or otherwise heinous enough to require a sending-off.

From the coaches' standpoint, it has to be quite frustrating. Here's a boy charging down another back who's at full gallop, and he looks like he's coasting. But, as soon as he gets to the tackle, (which took place 13 minutes in, mind you) he tackles him like a winded donkey. A simple form tackle would have shattered the other player's ribs as he had just handed-off another tackler and had semi-hurdled up into the air (which I think was the cause of Caucau's misplaced tackle).

The sheer athleticism of the boy, who is carrying at least 17 stone, as an outside-centre is preposterous, but he just doesn't commit to being in good physical shape or having the right form on defense. If either of those things were rectified, he would be a truly special talent.

Finally, good on him for carrying himself the right way after he made his mistake.

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Nathan December 08, 2010 9:47 am

I truly can't understand some of the reactions there. Come on, the guy wrapped his arm around Malzieu's neck (and clung to it), that's a f***ing high tackle ! And a dangerous one, that is. Not intentional, not malicious ok. But it clearly deserved the yellow.

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Enough December 08, 2010 10:01 am

Penalty only

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 10:52 am

@ Pie-talian: "Caucau" is a medical joker of the injuried centre Yann David who in the future will replace Jauzion. Guy Novs searched a player with a big potential to break through the oponents lines.
In the future Sylvain Nicolas (who is injuried too) will replace Jean Bouilhou.
In France we say maybe Byron Kelleher will leave Toulouse to play for th Stade Franais.
(Sorry to my english)

Mathias of Toulouse

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NiWiTa December 08, 2010 12:58 pm

Nice one @Craig - lol - I think Caucau must eat at the same burger restaurant as Ricky Januarie too!

Poor high tackle and probably deserved a yellow. At one point (more visible by slow-mo admittedly), the tackled players feet appear to be levered of the ground through use of his neck by Caucau...

Still talented player - hope he gets' fitter.

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Fabien78 December 08, 2010 1:16 pm

He definitely still has pace, Malzieu didn't get a chance to go past him...

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 1:19 pm

The player toulon deserved the yellow card...

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Mike December 08, 2010 1:43 pm

Caucau is an amazing player. Even there, he only looked like he was jogging. I'd probably have him up with Carter, O'Driscoll and Campese as my favourite players to watch in the modern era.

Oh yeah, yellow was probably deserved :)

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 2:20 pm

WOW! Caucau still has pace with all that extra weight. I expected Malzieu to get around him but Caucau cruised along side him with such ease.

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Anonymous December 08, 2010 3:23 pm

Quite funny reading half of the comments moaning about how cause he was from the SH he got carded.. I really doubt the ref took an extra 2 minutes to discover his nationality and then be like "oh your from samoa, yellow card to you"... when i first saw the clip i thought Caucau slammed his head down on the way down with the tackle, but after watching it closely you can see its Malzieu legs that get caught... but i from intial views and am sure the refs it did look really bad

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Chris December 08, 2010 4:18 pm

Refs are getting conned these days. All you need to do as a team is blow up something ridiculous at any marginal tackle, and the ref will bring out a card.

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Von December 08, 2010 7:39 pm

I don't get why some people are bothering with trying to defend this tackle. I might well actually be Caucau's biggest fan but you look at this objectively, it is clearly a yellow card offence. He's high, he's got Malzieu pretty much in a headlock with his forearm tight round his neck. None of it looks in any way cynical or malicious at all to me - that has nothing to do with it, it's simply a dangerous high tackle.

Anyway, I'd like to draw attention to two pieces of brilliance about the tackle:

His positioning when Malzieu gets the ball. A lot of people would have rushed out to make the tackle and probably got done by a simple side-step inside. caucau tracks Malzieu perfectly for speed and shepherds him towards the touchline. when Malzieu then accelerates so does the big man. Luckily for Caucau he's blessed with the speed to stay with him. All right, basic wing skills but perfectly executed.

Then the more impressive part is how he slaps down Malzieu's hand-off attempt. That's actually why he ended up going high, because he was reaching over the top of Malzieu's fend.

Very close to a perfect tackle, but sadly it wasn't and a yellow's the only fair result.

Top marks for sportsmanship, in refusing to get involved in the ensuing handbags, the dignified admission of guilt (he was almost walking off before the ref even said anything) and the polite handshake and apology to Malzieu. Not just him either, you see a few Clermont players making conilliatory gestures to Caucau.

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(u-p)rick December 08, 2010 8:16 pm

Im with Von on this one.

Especially with Caucau's choice to stay on his back on the ground, as a 'pissed off' opposition player i'd imagine it would be hard to start a fight with someone (and justify it) who is lying on their back with their hands in the air in a submission looking position.

And as Von said, why people are trying to justify it or say it wasnt card worthy I don't know....Caucau himself knew it was bad, hence why he was so apologetic...and agreed, I like the way the clermont players gave him a pat aswell..

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Bobby Nations December 08, 2010 8:29 pm

I can't stop laughing at Toulon's flyhalf in this video.

" Fight, what fight? Oh, look, my shoelace"

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Jono December 08, 2010 9:36 pm

It's just different interpretations in Europe.
You guys see these things as definite cards, where in the SH we usually wouldn't.
It's just a high tackle, not a particularly bad one. He didn't even hit him in the head, he just pulled him down with his arm round his neck.
Nothing particularly bad about it, the guy was fine.
It's just in Europe you guys instantly call for a card whenever any high shot happens.
Personally I think that's a damn shame, and is a soccer influence creeping into the game.
I just hope that same attitude doesn't creep into S14.
It'd soften up the league.

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Jimbo December 08, 2010 9:39 pm

It is such a shame that so many posters on here haven't watched that video and learnt from the sportsmanship of Rupeni Caucau. As others before me have said he immediately accepts his fate almost as soon as he hits the floor. Refusing to fight, showing the ref respect by actually waiting for him to show him a yellow card before running off and then apologising to the other player. No ill intent just one of those unfortunate incidents where a tackle goes bad and the punishment fits the crime. At least the player has the balls to accept his fate unlike some EA Sports players on this website!

@ Bobby Nations LOL thats what gives us back a bad name :)

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Anonymous December 09, 2010 3:58 am

Wow french men are ugly.

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Taniwha December 09, 2010 4:41 am

Dayum...He got fat.

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Von December 09, 2010 3:34 pm

Jono said...
It's just a high tackle, not a particularly bad one. He didn't even hit him in the head, he just pulled him down with his arm round his neck.

So, what's your definition of a high tackle then?

Jono said...
Nothing particularly bad about it, the guy was fine.

That has nothing to do with the decision.

Jono said...
It's just in Europe you guys instantly call for a card whenever any high shot happens.
Personally I think that's a damn shame, and is a soccer influence creeping into the game.

I don't want card-happy refs either mate. On this occasion I think all 30 players including Caucau, plus the ref and both touchies, were unanimous that a yellow card was a fair sanction.

Re soccer influence, what I really don't want to see is where players start demanding that the ref issue a card - you know where you see football players waving imaginary cards at the ref. To date, the only people I've seen doing it in rugby are John Smit and Steve Borthwick. Let's hope it never catches on. (Now off-topic, but talking about John Smit and refs reminded me of this piece of brilliance by George Gregan - remember this one? Classic: http://rugbydump.blogspot.com/2008/07/friday-funnies-gregan-chirping-smit.html)

Jono said...
I just hope that same attitude doesn't creep into S14.
It'd soften up the league.

*Rolls eyes*

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(u-p)rick December 09, 2010 5:24 pm

^^^LOL AT GREGAN, Definately the kind of scrumhalf you just want to give a massive booting to...(but as valuable as gold if he's on your team!)

@Jono
Watch the video again and look at where the ref was...yes on replay with nice hindsight and viewing it retrospectively without the referees decision as a precedent we can say well it actually looked worse than it was. But if you look at the position of the referee and then look at the tackle in full speed you see Caucau round the guys neck and what appears the be the french guy getting 'slammed' into the ground with the only cause was an arm round his neck....then you see Caucau lying on his back on the ground admitting full fault for the tackle and apologising for it....now you arent going to apologise for a legit tackle are you....so personally i think the ref's decision here was quite fair and i would expect much else from any other referees.

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(u-p)rick December 09, 2010 5:32 pm

''Look, Gregan is not over rated. And who says his tackling isnt good? judging from his size and weight, he could tackle a big man like lomu which other FOWARD PACK(so much bigger then little gregan) cant. He stopped Lomu's attack. therefore, lomu never scores in games against the boks before.'

That's quite an impressive feat by Gregan. His tackling is so good he stoped Lomu from scoring against a team he doesn't even play for.'
written by Gaz

Had to drag up this wonderfully sarky comment from the Gregan link that Von has posted...its made my day!

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Loui December 09, 2010 9:34 pm

If he wasnt a pacific islander the tackle wouldve been fine.

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Jono December 09, 2010 9:39 pm

It was definatly a high tackle, I agree with the penalty completely.
I just think a yellow card is a massive overreaction for what amounts to a compeltely accidental high tackle, which caused no injury and wasn't a hit to the head, more just draggin a guy to ground round the neck.
I am just not a fan at all of the attitude that we should card players every time they doa high shot.

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Von December 09, 2010 10:11 pm

@Jono - fair enough, the less cards issued the better.

I had a look at http://www.irblaws.com to try and find out how they actually specify when a bad tackle warrants a card or not... Found nothing. So it does seem highly subjective.

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T-Dawg December 10, 2010 2:13 am

Why is this guy so highly rated? He is fat and has no discipline of any kind, he scored one good try at international level... against Scotland, but everyone goes on like he is Christian Cullen.

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Anonymous December 10, 2010 3:01 am

@ T-Dawg. He can put on another 20kg and still be faster than you.

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Anonymous December 10, 2010 10:05 pm

I fucking hate this!Its a physical game FFS!It was a hard tackle thats all!Love Caucau!Shold have been play on

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Bill December 10, 2010 10:33 pm

T-Dawg if you'd seen him at his best, in 2001-2003 you'd know what everyone goes on about.
He's a complete shadow of the player he was and could have been.
He used to be extremely fast, with an incredible side-step. He had incredibly low centre of gravity and was really strong, so he could twist and break out of tackles like almost no one else.
He would beat whole defences on his own.
His best try (he scored a couple against Scotland and Fiji should have won that game) at international level was actually the won against France where he beat the whole French team from about 80m out and scored.
But outside of international in the S12 he was incredible too.
But then he got fat and stoned.

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Anonymous December 11, 2010 3:54 am

@T-Dawg

watch Caucau in 2001-2003 S12 against world class backlines. Back than the Brumbies & Tahs had a shit hot backline, Caucau made them look ordinary and he did the same to the Crusaders.

There are only 2 players I've seen who can single handedly dismantle defences, 1st was Jonah Lomu the 2nd was Rupeni Caucau. Lomu was a beast, Caucau is/was a freak of nature.

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Anonymous December 11, 2010 3:05 pm

A high tackle is NEVER non dangerous.
What's king of penalty you give for such kind ?

- paraplegic = yellow ?
- tetraplegic = red ?
- dead = red + 30 day bans ?

"awkwardly" ! Just try to run with a 120kg guy grasping your neck, you certainly make a "grassfull" fall :/

Urban

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Piggles December 11, 2010 5:38 pm

Poor tackle from cau cau but credit to him for fronting up and apologising. Prob a yellow so all fine with that,

But whats rougerie playing at? a bloke on the floor with his hands out apologising but he drags him around and tries to start a scuffle, does he think this makes him look big and tough?

Im all for sticking up for your team mates but that was just exacerbating the situation.

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Jono December 12, 2010 10:57 pm

Anon, head highs happen all the time.
You're massivley exageratting, and it's this kind of hysterical over-reaction that has led to this obsession with cards, primarily in the European game.
Heads high will always happen and should not reuslt automatically in a card.
We've all been head highed, it's something that happens in rugby all the time by accident.
It's a tough game.
Cards for everything just kill the sport. It's about physcial confrontation.

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Anonymous December 14, 2010 7:05 pm

It were abit harsh.
had to make the tackle and did.
never a binning

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Nomaaa December 15, 2010 4:13 am

@Juggernauter are you having a laugh bro!?

Watch the 2003 RWC highlights, he more than reached his potential.

In my opinion.

Weed isn't that good.

:-)

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