Hala'ufia crunches then slaps Wilson


Richard Hibbard & Kalamafoni double hit


Ludovic Mercier crazy reverse pass


Rugby's first ever OWN TRY in NRC


Nigel Owens makes not straight comment


Springboks edge All Blacks in thriller


Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


All Blacks snatch victory at the death


The Human Hurdle Attempt

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fiji's big tackling against Japan results in suspensions

Fiji's big tackling against Japan results in suspensions

Earlier in the week we had a look at the big hits from the Samoans during their win over Australia, so today here's a look at Fiji against Japan . Unfortunately for the Fijians, things went slightly differently, ending the match with just 12 players.

Many were surprised with Japan's first ever Pacific Nations Cup victory, and while they played well and have improved tremendously over the years, the Fijians self destructed.

Two red cards and three yellows later, Japan were able to score a late bonus point try, that gave them the tournament win. If they hadn't scored that try, Tonga would have claimed the title.

Fiji have since had two players suspended, Sisa Koyamaibole and Waisea Luveniyali. They will not be part of the match against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Friday night.

Number Eight Koyamaibole was given a two week ban for the tackle that earned him a red card, while flyhalf Luyeniyali, who was yellow carded in extra time, has been suspended for four weeks. Seru Rabeni, who was also red carded, escaped a ban.

While the commentary team felt the officials got most things completely wrong, Fiji coach Sam Domoni acknowledged that it was the lack of discipline from his team that lost them the match.

"It's unacceptable. We can't win test matches with 12 men. We can't blame the referees for the calls against us. We will go back to see the footage and review where we went wrong," he said.

Fiji play the All Blacks at Carisbrook, the last Test ever to be held at the famous old stadium, so they know the significance and sense of occasion it carries.

"Playing the All Blacks is like playing in the World Cup -- it only comes around every four years. The guys that are here are looking forward to the challenge tomorrow night. Playing against the All Blacks, you dont need any more motivation, if thats the case then we shouldnt turn up.

"This is a once in a lifetime dream for all of us ... well grab it with both hands and take the opportunity," he said.

Do you agree with the decisions of the officials, or think the commentators are correct?

Time: 04:33

Posted at 9:53 am | 95 comments

Another look at the Samoa vs Wallaby big hits

Pacific Nations Cup 2011 wrap-up - Japan victorious

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 95 comments

tehsniper July 21, 2011 11:50 am

Well, that's unexpected [/sarcasm]

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Dave_7 July 21, 2011 11:50 am

First!

They're a much better team than this. They have the skills to beat good teams, they just need to keep the hits legal like Samoa did against Australia. Hoping for some Island wins in September!

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:02 pm

I agree with all the cards, Samoa, NZ and Fiji is doing to often. Clean rugby out once and for all. Now they need to clean out this loose ball fiasco.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:02 pm

Writing first is stupid, writing it when you're actually second is just terrible.

I love Japan, they coul make a seriously good team in 10 years or so.

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Weka July 21, 2011 12:03 pm

I hope Collin Slades glass jaw makes it through tomorrow nights match.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:07 pm

Samoa tackles were hard but clean. Fiji's tackles were a lot more wreckless.

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rugby getting soft July 21, 2011 12:08 pm

That was one trigger happy ref right there. Bad discipline from Fiji, and lots of penalties, but that amount of cards was ridiculous. The number 8's was a yellow at the most, neither of them were spear tackles, and Rabeni would be a yellow too. Islanders getting picked on in my eyes.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:09 pm

Pretty much agree with the referee for all the decisions. The first red possibly should have been yellow but from the touch judges perspective it was pretty bad. Sometimes I think the commentators are irresponsible. They sometimes appear to be thinking about their own image, trying to sound like big macho men. It is a bit sad

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JAMIE July 21, 2011 12:14 pm

Those two reds should have been yellows. The last dump tackle shouldn't even have been a card. The spear by Bai could have been a yellow or a red.


Then again, we are looking at isolated incidents so it may have been better or worse than it appears on this video.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:15 pm

How stupid of Fiji not to adjust their game to the officials. Seems likely the this RWC will be very tough on shoulders and spears (and both of those were clear spear tackles, no attempt to bring the player to ground safely). Only point for me is that we seemed to have a TJ keen to impose himself on the ref, although both of those decisions were in clear sight of the referee.

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Paul July 21, 2011 12:16 pm

Ref was right! good call

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:25 pm

All the cards are right and with the rigght color

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English Neil July 21, 2011 12:26 pm

Love the last comment... Any more and we should put a round ball out there, well said lads... I don't agree with the second red, the Japanese playerhad time to duck and roll while he was grabbed at the shouulder, while it was a penalty offense, it wasn't a card worthy offense.

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stevo1992 June 03, 2012 7:15 pm

what a ridiculous comment, the player had time to duck and roll? he shouldnt have to duck and roll seen as the opposing player shouldnt be tackling that high. thats like saying you may as well get rid of the high tackling law because the players should just duck. Even saying he should have ducked is showing the player has gone far to high, supporting the fact it was a cardable offense.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:27 pm

In my opinion, the ref was quite right on all the decisions shown there. And think his decisions were influenced by other "borderline" tackles during all the game, but I haven't seen it, so I may be wrong.

Fiji could be a great team if they were cleaner.

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Peej July 21, 2011 12:34 pm

It just shows what a terrible ref Fitzgibbon is. For the first two, he was so dominated by Jonker that it seemed as if Fitzgibbon was the TJ offering advice!

Many of those were certainly penalties and yellow cards, I have no fault with that. But how was the last one a yellow, when Rabeni's was a red? It was far worse!

This guy should not be allowed to ref Test rugby.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:35 pm

All deserving of red cards. We hear so much about what should be done, but officials hardly ever follow it through. Clotheslines and spear tackles not only endanger careers but lives as well. Confident and correct decisions all.
And congrats to Japan on winning the Pacific Nations Cup!

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Francois July 21, 2011 12:44 pm

Fijians players can't tackle down because they are fats...

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Hackney Griffin July 21, 2011 12:46 pm

The first two decisions are terrible.
Anyone here agreeing with the cards/decisions fancy justifying the first yellow?
And while Koyamaibole ends high, the initial contact isn't high and he's wrapped his arms. That the force of the contact knocks the tackled player down while the tackler keeps his feet shouldn't make this a penalty, let alone a red card.

The last two however are both clearly in the "spear" spectrum. Not only are both players lifted, but both Fijians go off their feet. It's very clearly stated that you cannot twist a player beyond the horizontal and that you are responsible for their landing. Both could be red cards.

But importantly, it's worth wondering if Fiji had still had 15 players on the field at that point wether they'd have been putting in this kind of reckless hit? Or have they decided (no matter how wrong-headedly) to make at least a physical point after the referee has removed any chance of them winning the game?

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Hackney Griffin July 21, 2011 12:47 pm

Francois that's the shittest comment I've seen on this or any rugby blog for a long long time.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:48 pm

Union is refered to as the pussy code by rugby league followers as it is so soft.Rules are rules but it's a contact/collision sport let some things go ffs.

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waldo July 21, 2011 12:52 pm

Absolutely shocking refereeing and assistants weren't much better. Lets not forget that rugby is a contact sport. It is only deemed a dangerous tackle if the player is dropped, each occassion they were picked up and put down, perfectly legal. The 2 red cards deserved a yellow, definately not red!
It is a case of the islanders reputation getting picked on, its not the fijians fault if the Japanese are smaller, they are simply using what advantages they have. If the officials referee like this during the world cup, it will be a disgrace!

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 12:52 pm

I think the rest of the world admire and want to see the Islanders' physicality but it has to remain controlled.

I like the huge hits that are dished out as much as everyone but safety has to be a priority.

The ref set a presidence early on and had to give a card for every dangerous tackle.

I think it was just one of those games. One game doesn't make Fiji a dirty side.

JwS

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Pether July 21, 2011 12:56 pm

The ref may have been influenced by the TJ too much. He may also have been a little trigger happy and unfit for test rugby. The Fijians may be throwing their shoulders in too much and maybe the IRB need to set out clearer guidelines re dangerous play. But...

...the commentators for this game were a disgrace! It may be "a tough game" but it isn't violent, so dangerous tackles around the neck need to be penalised, not forgiven. And I'm not sure it's fair for them to sit in their ivory towers and criticise the ref for turning the game into a "farce" when the Fijians are the ones who should be criticised for their incessant foul play and/or not playing to the ref.

Wanting to appear macho (see earlier post) and (seemingly) controversial is not what rugby commentary is about. Making reasoned, informed and though-out comments is. Please change. Please.

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moddeur July 21, 2011 1:05 pm

The first yellow is dodgy, the first red is cleary a card, but maybe dark orange rather than red. The second yellow is clearly a card. The second red is not much of an offense.
The commentators sound a bit biased initially, though when camera angles shift they seem to soften their tone.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:06 pm

League's a collision sport, but I hate that phrase creeping into Union. No where in the principles of play does it talk about collision - it's about finding space and scoring tries. 'Contest' is the key word used in the law book, and that doesn't have to be reckless - or even overly aggressive for that matter. My favourite tackles to watch are those quick low take downs (like my kids who also wrestle are amazing at!) that presents the ball to the defence and allows for a quick jackal. ... Smith, Pocock, Brussouw, etc.

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Conman July 21, 2011 1:18 pm

I wonder is this a new IRB directive to referees in how to deal with these types of things ahead of the World Cup? I don't have a problem with trying to stamp out this negative and ultimately dangerous behaviour.

Having said that the first red was harsh I thought, a yellow would have been reasonable, but having given a red the ref (/TJ) left himself with no choice but to give the second red, which was a worse tackle. (Don't get how the bans were decided!)

The final yellow was a bad call, that was a definite red card! He picked him up and landed him on his upper back/neck area, very dangerous. He's lucky to only get a 4 week ban in my opinion!

Peej, very harsh critiscism of a young referee. Granted he has a way to go in his development but have you ever heard a referee overrule a TJ who is inverening in an incident of foul play? Not sure I've seen it before...

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Theo July 21, 2011 1:22 pm

The IRB laws on foul play directly copied from the current laws of the game:

"Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that players feet are still off the ground such that the players head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play. Sanction: Penalty kick."

Both spear tackles were clearly in breach of the laws. Fiji was playing unintelligent rugby and after the first card should have adjusted their game, they deserved to lose.

The tackles by Samoa were brutal, spectacular, legal and disciplined and that is what the game is about, controlled aggression.

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Chris B July 21, 2011 1:31 pm

The only Fijian who was unlucky was Rabeni - hung out an arm on an opponent stepping inside him and ducking down. Off balance, not a swinging arm. Yeloow at worst. None of the others can have any complaint

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M July 21, 2011 1:32 pm

Agree with Theo above. Everyone likes a big legal hit.

Fiji were just reckless, and two spears in one game is pretty good going.

Japan look to be playing some dcent rugby atm

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:35 pm

What a load of rubbish calls, only cards should had been issued should had been a yellow against no. 8 and no. 12, others were just big hits, not fijis fault that the japs are tiny wimps...

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nicolas July 21, 2011 1:35 pm

good job by the ref

the first red should have been a yellow...beside that .....

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:36 pm

I agree that the majority of cards shown where correct except the red which should have been a yellow and the yellow carding of the fijian fly half was a mistake, as it was the other fiji who pulled the japanese player over on to his neck but thats just my opinion and on the day the referees the referee

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themull July 21, 2011 1:38 pm

I didn't really see any red card offences there...Most were yellows and nothing more..

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:46 pm

Well the yellow card for Ba is unjustified as well as the straight red card for Rabeni. Too bad for Fidji, they have amazing players and could be real outsiders for the world cup with a good scrum and a better disciplin...

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:53 pm

Commentators are morons!

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:55 pm

i used to like fiji!!

seems to me like they are beginning to play like tonga or samoa rather then with thier own 'flair'

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 1:58 pm

The commentators were morons for giggling at a yellow after the clear and dangerous spear tackle at the end. Fiji had already seen the ref send off someone for a spear tackle so why do it again??

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Flinto July 21, 2011 2:10 pm

This made me laugh "Writing first is stupid, writing it when you're actually second is just terrible." :)

Crazy tackles, but also crazy commentary. Some old school fellas in there.

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Paolo July 21, 2011 2:17 pm

The 2 spear tackles seemed to me to be the worst with both players landing on their upper neck/shoulders

Rabeni's was a yellow at best and the No 8's, although i thought was harsh at worst, seemed to look a lot worse from the side the touch judge was on

Ref did look quite unfit and off the pace of the game though

It is a shame that Fiji seem unable to adjust to the tackling laws - they did to be sat in front of the Samoa v Aus video and shown that destructive tackling doesn't ne3ed to be dangerous as well

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Paolo July 21, 2011 2:18 pm

Sorry, typing quickly - meant to say..."they need to be sat in front of the Samoa v Aus video and shown that destructive tackling doesn't need to be dangerous as well"

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 2:49 pm

I have the feeling those Japanese players are just too light to play at this level...they were lifted up so easily.
Just an opinion by the way.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 3:01 pm

the dumping at the end is the worst of all...everything else is seen week in week out.

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Shane July 21, 2011 3:12 pm

I think the first red could have been a yellow, but both other red cards were very clearly warranted. Yes rugby is a physical game but it has to be policed properly to ensure the safety of the players. You can never take the physicality out of the game but it has to be tempered as well. I think the match officials got it right and should be commended for their consistency in dealing with dangerous play.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 3:40 pm

marius just wanted to get noticed by chipping in, tosser

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 3:58 pm

Rugby Union, the new Rugby League.

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Leeners93 July 21, 2011 4:07 pm

Rabeni's red card is the only one I would argue there,just caught off balance,no intent whatsoever

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Sander July 21, 2011 4:10 pm

I only disagree with the red card for the No.8; in my opinion yellow would have been enough.

Maybe the red card for Rabeni in the end was a combination of his reputation and the fact the referee might have had enough of the bad tackling?

Fiji are a good team, but seem to lack discipline on and off the field, unfortunately. Can't see them do a Samoa...

Shame, because to me they're still the most exciting rugby team and play with great flair and like all the islanders, really seem to love the game for the right reasons; having fun!

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cheyanqui July 21, 2011 4:42 pm

I think that everyone can make the case for yellows for each incident on its own.

However, when a team has committed 2-3 yellow card-worthy offenses for the same thing (dangerous tackling), the referee is right to upgrade it to a red card.

He has to be able to manage the game and protect the non-offending team -- especially when it comes to safety.

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cheyanqui July 21, 2011 4:47 pm

and as for the commentators -- if those bogans want to watch thugby, they can put on their V-neck jersey and turn on some NRL

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 5:26 pm

A good ref rarely gives two reds in an international match, especially without bringing the captains together for a chat first. Fiji was clearly attempting to make a statement with their hitting and initially at least the sir foolishly responded with cards rather than warnings.


You can see that the aggression cost the fijians independent of the referee. Around 45 seconds the defender clearly misses a tackle due to his eagerness to make a violent hit. The Japanese took an easy twenty meters off it. These things often solve themselves.


Its too bad that the deperate attempts to snag a jersey are called reds rather than yellows. A red has to be malicious.

That being said there was definitely a tackle or two that deserved a red card. The ref could have avoided that by being more delicate with the feeling of the match.

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 6:17 pm

Typical, we islanders can not play a single game without being targeted by refs for LEGITIMATE tackles. If you guys can't handle these tackles then go play soccer or some other rubbish!

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hurryupworldcup July 21, 2011 7:36 pm

"Typical, we islanders can not play a single game without being targeted by refs for LEGITIMATE tackles. If you guys can't handle these tackles then go play soccer or some other rubbish!"

Two points I have to that:

1. Samoa clearly showed islanders can play rugby very hard and legally just recently against Australia and going on to win convincingly.

2. Rugby union has rules for tackling to prevent serious injuries and inevitably erring on the side of caution is preferable to allowing dangerous tackles like the ones Fiji did (aside from Rabeni who I think was unlucky to be carded.)

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harrygcollins July 21, 2011 7:52 pm

hi tackles are unacceptable but i say the game has gone soft when you are getting sent off for a fair and big hit. if these tackles are considered unsafe the game has a bleak future

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 8:05 pm

that is shocking refereeing! absolutely no consistency at all! he is nowhere near qualified enough!

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 8:16 pm

The dump tackles seemed more or less debatable but the neck tackles deserved the cards given. The Fijians are so much better than that and all they needed to do was lower their arms and they would've been just fine. The ref should always call anything that intentionally or unintentionally hits the neck.

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hookme July 21, 2011 8:19 pm

half of you people must not have played in the last decade, each time the tackler went to ground with player and none were dumped straight on top of the head, horrible calls, ref just fancys blowing his wistle too much!

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TJ July 21, 2011 8:45 pm

wonder if the officials would have had the balls to even suggest some of those were penalties if they were carried out by one of the tri nations, france or england

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JG July 21, 2011 8:52 pm

Some silly comments here about the game going soft. The Samoa v Aus game showed the complete opposite.

I like to watch a tough encounter just like the next rugby fan, don't even mind the occasional dust up. What I hate seeing is players welfare being put at risk by stupid and dangerous play, its not done in the spirit of the game and the ref was quite within his rights to issue the cards he did - and good on him.

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Tasman July 21, 2011 9:35 pm

Commentators are ridiculous, they play tough.. easy tot criticize the ref..
Do they ever watch Fidji?
Fidji has a very bad reputation when it comes to late, high, non binding hits....

Started with yellow... warning was there

All reds were deserved....

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Canadian content July 21, 2011 10:11 pm

All the cards were appropriate, the colour of them may be debatable. But I'll side with a ref who's trying to protect players from getting injured. His first job is to ensure safety, amazing that Fiji didn't respond to his precedents. Like the coach said, they cost themselves the game.

Agreed as well that the commentators sounded like idiots. I'd like to see any of them in one of those tackles

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Anonymous July 21, 2011 11:37 pm

The whole referring was poor. The ref has been biaised by the physical difference between the teams. Moreover he didn't let a single advantage to Fidji while he let it last for minutes for Japan. Fidji could never have won that game...
And if the Samoans had played that game instead of Fidji with the same ref they would have end up playing at 10!

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 12:09 am

typical the SH gets screwed over again and again and again...sick of the IRB

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 2:03 am

That pig of a ref should card himself and stick to under 13's.
Didnt see the game but it didnt look like he got the Fijians together to collectively warn them to keep it legal. He just flashed his arrogant cards and walked away. I would debate he has more juty of care as a ref then the players, he needs to earn their respect and keep the game under control.....which he clearly didnt.

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Michael July 22, 2011 2:26 am

We'll see how they play against the Blacks tonight at Carisbrook. If they pull shit like that and get anyone sent off or binned the Blacks are going to make them pay in spades.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 2:27 am

The Fijians probly deserved a couple yellows for their tackling, but to set a record for the most card handed out in one game is a bit much.
They were treated a little harshly.

By the way the spear laws are stupid. Depending on how you read them, if a player loses his feet on his tackle and lands flat on his back, it could be considered a spear. It's craziness. Upper body is the term used. Upper body could mean everything above the waist.
So if a guy slips in a tackle and lands on his hip, that could be called a spear!
Stupidity.

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Eddo July 22, 2011 6:19 am

I'm kinda shocked the commentators are allowed to get away with their comments?! If a coach had said that crap, blatantly undermining the improved safety the IRB is trying to bring to the game and the reputation of officials, they'd be $20,000 out of pocket.

Simply put, Fiji made no effort to make those tackles legal. Swinging arms, Lifting and Driving, and then no attempt to even aim below the neck. On all of those attempts the players knew what they were doing. Bans well worth while - but I doubt the message will sink in.

I'd love to see a commentator get his press rights revoked next time.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 6:25 am

Both head high's that got red caerds were on Japan's 12, poor guy would have had a sore neck after this game. To the people complaining about them not being spear tackles need to check the ruling. Once you take them past the horizontal its a penalty. You can see in bot tackles the fijian players trying to impose themselves on the opposition players take it further than needed. They get the tackle to a certain point where it would be a good legal tackle then drive further. Samoa was a perfect example of how to impose yourself physically in a (mostly) legal way.

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Florian F. July 22, 2011 9:53 am

And many agree when I get a red for this!!?
http://rugbydump.blogspot.com/2011/01/florian-fritz-gives-finger-after-red.html

Talk about inconsistency...

This year WC is gonna be a refereing mess: hits, cards, rucks, dives, turnovers, forward passes, truck and trail, scrums...
I pray there'll be flair and skills.

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Bakkies July 22, 2011 10:01 am

Dont worry Florian, I dont think any of us other teams should turn up.

You french guys get screwed all the time, we saffas get screwed, and everyone else is shit compared. The only team that could put up a challenge will be the AB's but lets face it, they are the IRB's love child and will go through the tournament breaking the most rules and receiving the least amount of cards!

I say just give it to NZ, the rest of us will be cheated out of it anyway!

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josh19 July 22, 2011 11:21 am

Reading some of the comment on here youre all agreeing with the ref...
the so called spear from bai was not a spear if you watch it properly its the fijian 7 that pulls him over how is the tackler meant to control that?
the 8 should have been binned, rambeni got stepped and instinctivley stuck an arm out.. who hasnt done this? a yellow at the most. and the last card was a joke. clearly landed on the upper back not the head and it wasnt out of control.
man up everyone!

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H July 22, 2011 11:42 am

The commentator is an idiot!

Coming up with statements like "How is that dangerous?", and "This is turning into a farce".

I tell you what, if the Fijians actually learned how to fucking tackle properly then the game wouldn't be a farce!

The technique on the first red (which probably should have been yellow) card tackle was just plain lazy. Piss poor body position and crap foot work.

Seru Rabeni's was a joke. Again fuck all effort in getting low, approaching the contact zone upright.

The spear tackles were horrendous! And according to the moron speaking "not dangerous!" Bai should have allowed the player he tackled to fall behind him instead of continuing to drive forwards. The same goes for the second spear tackle.

1. Learn some technique Fiji. The Samoans have almost got it right...
2. Get a commentator on who actually gives a shit about player safety!

...breath out...

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Moorforever July 22, 2011 12:13 pm

Totally agree with the officials decisions. Bout time this was sorted.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 12:15 pm

I hope the IRB keeps up the good work, these swinging arm high tackles will ruin the game. Certainly it seems the AB's have been doing it for years - Hard Tackling by the likes of Chabel and Wilkinson - below the chest and wraping the arms around the body is skillful. If you haven't got skill or talent be a thug. And if you like this thuggery watch Fight Club.

I played rugby for 20 years and never needed to swing my arm - and let us be honest every rugby player knows where his body is and what he is doing - no excuses. The ref can judge

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clichy July 22, 2011 12:33 pm

I think that those cards are
the best thing that couyld happen to them.

They have to work on discipline especially for the WC. And that match will help them to do so.

I hope they will do a good wc, cose i'm bored to see always the same team.

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Adam July 22, 2011 1:03 pm

Dont like to criticise the ref as a rule but in all honesty, he got several of the cards the wrong way round - First red was a yellow, but the 2 spears should be straight reds and not yellows. The fact that the 10 got red carded in extra time suggests he shouldnt have been on the pitch anyway.
Pity that Fiji, who can play some great rugby, have followed in the footsteps of Tonga and Samoa where borderline legality in the tackle seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
Hard hits are fair and part of the game, foul hits let everyone down and could result in serious injury - the 2 speared players are lucky not to be in wheelchairs, especially the first one. Why any 10 thinks he can lift and controlled dump a number 8 is beyond me!

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Wessel July 22, 2011 1:09 pm

Calls seems more or less correct. I would have gone for the odd yellow instead of a red though.

But Fiji needs to clean up their act.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 2:01 pm

This referee is a joke!

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vinniechan July 22, 2011 2:35 pm

From the clip, it looked to me the Fijian were horribly disorganised. When defence pattern is in tatters, players get desparate and they're more prone to carelessness.
Samoa on the other hand has looked much more gelled since last last November and perhaps Fiji needs more time to get together and work things out.

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Jack July 22, 2011 5:59 pm

Look it is a tough sport, but if tackles like these keep going in with the size and weight and speed that players are nowadays at this level its only a matter of time before someone gets a serious neck injury which could severely harm the sport at grassroots level. the pacific islands and specific players have a reputation for infringing the rules in this area and get punished harder by the citing commission after the matches. I agree its unfair and detremental to the game if its over policed, but i cant stand these overly macho morons complaining about it because the players are so much more powerful than when they played it

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Dave July 22, 2011 6:10 pm

shocking tackles, players should be banned, thats the only way these thugs will learn, this happens consistently in pacific games, they should be ashamed

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Anonymous July 22, 2011 6:42 pm

Ref was a disgrace, yellow cards top for 8 and rabeni! Japan 8 needs to man up getting owned by a 10!!
The refs are going to spoil the game, I'm sure they're getting paid to turn it into non contact!! Rugby is physical, deal with it or play football!!!

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JW July 23, 2011 12:14 am

All of them were deserved except for the second one shown (the one where the japan player kicked the ball.) if at most it deserved a penalty for being high, definitely not a card.

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Anonymous July 23, 2011 3:17 pm

Fiji were victimised for their reputation, both high tackles were nothing more than penalties and the lifted tackles were both yellows. Its not fucking tiddlywinks

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Mike July 24, 2011 4:46 pm

Agree with all the decisions, except the first red which you could argue should have been yellow, but the officials got the best view of all.

It's ridiculous to blame the ref for the number of cards - what the hell is he supposed to do? 'Yeah, you nearly killed the guy, but I've already given out a red today, so you can stay on..."

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Anonymous July 25, 2011 10:45 am

The Fijians just showed poor discipline, if there was even any. It showed again during the All Blacks game

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Anonymous July 25, 2011 10:48 am

Simply put, I'd rather see a red card than to see the next guy break his neck and be paralysed for the rest of his life.

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Anonymous July 25, 2011 6:03 pm

All of the decisions here were correct. If you watch any game at any level with a Pacific Islander in the backline, you will certainly see high tackles. It has to be removed from the game, if not, a serious injury will happen.

In terms of Jonker and Fitzgibbon, they both knew that the were looking for and what was tolerable. When they saw the dangerous tackles they knew exactly what sanction to apply. A few people have said Jonker was attempting to dominate Fitzgibbon on the opening flags which is nonsence. They are both top level referees and Fitzgibbon did not need to interogate Jonker to make sure he was right. He trusted Jonker to make the correct decision by himself.

Well done both referees, boo to dangerous tactics (once again) from Fiji.

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Anonymous July 25, 2011 6:08 pm

This is just a lack of control from the Fijian team, and it happens all too often when playing squads that are just on the edge of breaking through to the top ten. The Japanese team has grown stronger by leaps and bounds within the past few years, but they are still a physically smaller team compared to the top tier of IRB rugby. The Japanese do have great potential as they rely heavily on their awesome speed and ball handling, but should be prepared to get thrown around in the rucks and scrums. That said, I think the Fijians simply got frustrated by the speed of the Japanese team, and used their superior size to take out some aggression. While this can be a great asset on the pitch, unchecked, it can also be your worse enemy. I don't agree with all the calls the refs made, but I do agree that there were some dangerous hits which needed to be made an example of. Bottom line, the Japanese went home with the title because the Fijians lost their composure. Once you see one teammate get carded, you should know to pull it back a little and certainly not put yourself in the position to join the sin bin club; no excuses. At this level of rugby, control is paramount and Fiji didnt have it.

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Anonymous July 25, 2011 9:23 pm

ive never seen a ref so soft,those 2 'spears' were both dumps as the players landed on their backs,there should have been only 2 yellows,only explanation is the fijians being picked on!disgraceful decisions

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Ed Moran July 26, 2011 1:48 am

I thought the ref was right on the ball. The commentators made right losers of themselves.
I like hard rugby but swinging arms round the neck have to be stopped. The lifting and head down dumping actions are potential neck breakers. Luckily the Jap players were good enough to take the impact on their back not neck or head.

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tinyh98 September 12, 2011 10:46 am

For the most part, I'd agree with the decisions - maybe the yellow for the No. 8 and Rabeni's card were a little hard - but the rest were spot on.
The commentator spoke of the game being santised too much - I don't agree. There is very much a place for hard, legal hits - not the ones where you pick someone up and drop them/drive them into the ground - they are illegal and deserve cards.

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JabbaWebb May 27, 2012 12:43 pm

I know rugby needs to be health and safety conscious but I mean big hits are part of the game, if you can't take/watch them then you shouldn't be a part of the sport :/

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mendorugger June 02, 2012 4:39 am

I fully appreciate the aggression level, however that type of play needs to be cited often. It seems that islanders are to often permitted to make dangerous tackles with little to no penalty. The commentators would probably have a different view on things had it been them or their mates on the field getting dumped and neck tackled. In our league, islanders get away with bloody murder and the refs hardly doing anything i think for absolute fear that they may not make it back to their cars. the game is plenty physical and insane enough without have to worry about getting head torn off by other guys tackling without caution. thats my two cents

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