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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Paul Williams yellow carded for huge hit on Theuns Kotze

Alesana Tuilagi scored a hat-trick of tries as Samoa powered through Namibia to win their Pool D clash 49-12 in Rotorua. The hit of the match was this monster from Paul Williams, which resulted in ten minutes on the sideline.

Talented flyhalf Theuns Kotze, who slotted three dropgoals in Namibia's previous pool game, had made a break after turn over ball and broke through the first line of defence before meeting Williams, who failed to buy his second dummy.

The Auckland born Samoan fullback, who has played his rugby in New Zealand and Europe, absolutely smashed Kotze with a punishing hit. To his credit, Kotze popped up with a grin and walked away, while some of the bigger boys had a bit of a push and shove about it.

Williams was yellow carded by referee Romain Poit however, despite replays showing that he may well have been a little hard done by because of the impact of the collision. It could be argued that his shoulder was a bit high though. You can take a look below and decide for yourself.

Full match highlights are available on the official Rugby World Cup website here.


Posted by Rugbydump at 8:44 am | View Comments (42)

Paul Williams suspended for Dan Carter late hit

Posted in Rugby World Cup, Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 42 comments

dune September 14, 2011 11:33 am

Clean hit. Definitely not a yellow card. Don't like it when they seem to punish tacklers so easy nowadays.

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stroudos September 14, 2011 11:35 am


Tremendous hit. Must admit, when I first saw this at normal speed it looked like an outrageous clothes-line, so Romain Poite's decision to card him is understandable. But on the replays, it's clear that in fact it is a solid tackle, not high and with an "attempt" to wrap the player with his arms - as the commentator says it's a bit hard to hold onto him if he's on the ground.

I like to imagine Paul Williams saying "Dummy this!" as he puts the hit in.

And I echo RD's point: fair play to Kotze for bouncing up and getting on with it.

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BuzzKillington September 14, 2011 11:46 am

Fantastic hit, textbook and absolutely legal. Referee over reacted because the hit was savage in nature.

How good has this world cup been so far! I can't wait for the 2015 and 2019 World Cup. Some of the minnows look to become really strong teams in the near future.

If the USA and Canada can improve their competitions and player numbers, while managing to get a number of their boys in the big European leagues, they'll be real contenders before long.

Japan, USA, Canada, Tonga, Fiji and Samoa(I realise they're a good shot this year as it is) could all leave their group stages in 2019 if pooled right. And Eastern Europe should come good if Rugby takes off in Russia, but I think that will be a few years later.

Regardless of whether that happens or not, the competition of the global game is getting stronger and stronger.

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Natural7 September 15, 2011 12:09 pm

I think we need a European cup in between world cups.
the nations that are up and coming only play each other, then get smashed by established nations once every four years.
the only way Russia/Georgia and the rest can come on quick enough is more exposure to top flight internationals..

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tane September 14, 2011 11:52 am

rugbys turning into soccer soft. nothing wrong with that hit bullshit call.

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Malcolm Bradbrook September 14, 2011 12:06 pm

Another tricky one for refs and it's only going to get harder.

In my opinion this is a shoulder charge which Williams attempted to make look legal by having his arms away from his body at the point of impact. However the impact was from the William's shoulder into Kotze's shoulder'chin area.

I don't want us to go down the rugby league road in which hits like this are encourage. A good Union tackle should be between chest and waist - make it has hard as you like but stay away from the neck.

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BuzzKillington September 14, 2011 6:48 pm

That's all subjective though, isn't it. A legal Union tackle is anywhere shoulder down, objectively. It doesn't matter what or what you don't think is good, we play to the rules of the game. And players don't deserve punishment for legal tackles.

Why wouldn't you want to go down the Rugby League road where big hits are encouraged, by the way? Seems like a rather peculiar thing to not want big hits in the game of Rugby. It sounds like snobbery, really. I'm reminded of food critics turning their nose up at mass-produced and packaged foods, however tasty, just 'because'.

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stroudos September 14, 2011 12:23 pm

@BuzzKillington - agree it's been excellent so far for the neutral rugby fan and for those of us who enjoy seeing underdogs exceeding expectations.

However, in terms of the actual quality of rugby played, I'd say so far only NZ, SA and Wales have really delivered.

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Jayo September 14, 2011 12:24 pm

Brilliant tackle. Arms attempting to wrap around the attacker, shoulder well clear of head, chin and neck. Kotze got up and walked away, he knew it was good and clean, good reaction from him also.

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Jon September 14, 2011 12:27 pm

Clean hit on the replay, but bearing in mind the speed of the game, ref's have to make a decision there and then.

SH players do have a tendancy to hit without attempting to wrap their arms (not in this case), which DOES need to be clamped down on!

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Demosys September 14, 2011 12:33 pm

How can you consider this as a "perfect tackle".
It's (a bit high) shoulder charge. There is no intention from Paul Williams to grab his opponent. Williams had a lot of time to get in position and prepare a clean tackle.
So yellow card is perfectly justified for that kind of tackle we see too often.

It's Rugby Union guys not Rugby League.

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dune September 14, 2011 1:04 pm

Err... The Namibian player was trying to sell another dummy, therefore he had bad balance and wasn't prepared to take the tackle. Williams didn't seem to have any malice in his tackle and he was trying to use his arms. He just could not due the aforementioned reasons leading to the fact that Kotze was on his arse.

As you very well know even in union you actually take/deliver the hit with your shoulder. If you don't it's an arm tackle and your tackle will be broken more often than not.

Of course you're most likely going to stick to your opinion but it's still the wrong interpretation. Kotze took the hit like a proper rugby player, dusted it off and kept playing. You should do the same.

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Demosys September 14, 2011 1:26 pm

Hmmm thank you Sir Webb Ellis but I still know how to make a tackle.
It's clear that Kotze is not in position to break the tackle but that's not the problem.
What prevents Paul Williams to bend down and make a clean tackle?

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dune September 14, 2011 1:29 pm

Tackle was clean.

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moddeur September 14, 2011 2:13 pm

I disagree, Williams' arms make no bending movement whatsoever, and no amount of unpreparedness by Koetze can justify this lack of movement. It's a flat arm charge, hence a shoulder charge, hence a penalty. Don't know if it's a yellow card though, that's probably too much.

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Bob September 15, 2011 12:54 am

His left arm wraps around Kotzes back. His right arm is always bent, and bent as much as it could around the man and ball.

Great tackle. The likes of which we all like to see.

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i love bacon September 14, 2011 6:43 pm

It's a perfect tackle because, according to the laws, it's perfectly legal. That coupled with the tremendous power behind the hit make it a damned-near perfect tackle.

No such thing as "a bit" high. It started below the shoulders and stayed there. Not high.

He got both arms around the player. That's all the rules ask for.

If you want big tackles removed from Union, just say that - no need to hide behind anti-League rhetoric. Because per the laws in Union, this hit was fine.

Now, if you want to argue that maybe from Poite's vantage point, it looked like it couldn't been a dangerous tackle, then fine - that's the risk with putting in hits like this. But, in the end, it was shown to be perfectly fine. So, Williams was hard done by. But whatever, mistakes happen.

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Derrick September 14, 2011 12:33 pm

If this was someone like Butch James, he would've been punished much more harshly. I'm sorry, but I can't believe so many RD fans see this as a "textbook" tackle when there was barely any effort to wrap his arms around him.

Whether it deserved a yellow card, I don't know, but textbook? No, a textbook tackle has the man tackling the way Malcolm Bradbrook is describing in the comment above

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Izzy September 14, 2011 1:13 pm

Good hard tackle IMO. I've always hated the wrap rule.
Really enjoying the world cup so far. The 'minnows' are really improving, its great for rugby around the world.

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leadbetter91 September 14, 2011 1:39 pm

Demonsys you're talking nonsense. Dune is spot on - tackle was a beauty, should not even have been a penalty. Your argument concerning Williams's preparation pre-impact is flawed by the fact that Kotze stepped him a metre before the hit - therefore affecting any 'preparation' Williams may have done. Everything about the tackle was legal - the simple fact is that Kotze's impact off Williams was huge which made the collision look illegal. The tackle hight-wise was fine and the arms were wrapping around. The only reason they didn't wrap around fully was becaue Kotze was on the floor before they had a chance to. Kotze knew it himself - great hit. Ref's need to ensure their interpretation of the tackle is not influenced by the impact it causes.

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Colombes September 14, 2011 2:05 pm

Big hit! but Yellow card is a bit harsh here.
The namibian bounced on the samoan chest because of the speed.
but it's on the chest not on the neck.
minimum, the play continue
maximum, just a penalty to prevent the samoan team

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flyingpepper September 14, 2011 2:09 pm

Tackle was clean and good. But I am sat at my computer watching it in slow motion. Wouldn't like to make that call if i was a ref

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Rocky September 14, 2011 2:18 pm

It is the tackler's obligation to get his hands wrapped around the player. Nobody should have sympathy for him if he 'tries' and/or 'fails' and gets penalised.

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i love bacon September 14, 2011 6:47 pm

Actually, all the law states is exactly that.

Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.

Just asks that the player tries to do so. That's it. It's the referee's discretion whether or not he thinks the player tried, so sometimes calls will be made that, in hindsight, were probably not correct. That's the nature of the game, and that's fine.

But the law simply says the player must try to wrap. That's all.

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Huk123 September 14, 2011 2:24 pm

bad bad call, in rugby you are allowed to tackle!

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Full Back September 14, 2011 3:07 pm

This is anything but textbook. His swinging arm was limp, not attempting to wrap and he was way too near the neck for my liking. If this one gets let go then it sets a dangerous precedent for league type tackles in the game.
I for one enjoy the great running lines and offloads in rugby as much as the big hits. If this sort of thing creeps into the game then it will become a sport of behemoths doing nothing more than trying to win "collisions", we're already dangerously close to that as it is.
To all the keyboard warriors saying the game is getting too soft, I would suggest getting onto a pitch for a little reality check.
Yellow card is harsh, but then again this is the world cup, where precedents are set.
Between the shoulder and knees is where textbook tackles are made.

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BuzzKillington September 14, 2011 6:58 pm

But that's nothing like a League tackle. In League they'll either chest bump you with no attempt to wrap(and despite what you say, he made an attempt) or tuck their arms by their side and hit you with the point of the shoulder. This tackle resembles a League hit in absolutely no way, other than that it was a big shot.

I have no idea how you think that running lines and offloads would deteriorate if these sort of big tackles become common place. Last time I checked the running lines and offloads in League are superior to those in top-level Rugby, despite League having constant big collisions.

You get the feeling that Rugby fans who make constant references to American Football and League in efforts to dissuade from or criticise a trend or incident in Rugby haven't actually watched but 10 minutes of either sport.

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Juggernauter September 14, 2011 3:25 pm

I hope we don't get to close to football nor to League...

I can't help but feel that the refs are A BIT biased towards island players making these kind of tackles. Imagine if Warburton made it. Sounds silly but I think he would just be offered a warning. Okay, samoans ans fijians (not as much the tongans) kinda like the dirty play, I remember the great Seru Rabeni playing against Wales in France 2007; I'd have sent him off along with three or four of his mates for the hih, late and dangerous hits.

But anyway i feel the refs are more keen to show the cards to teams or players that do have a record, and in some cases that's good (i.e. Brian Lima, Bakkies Botha, Jamie Cudmore, Epi Taione at a time)

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Marvel September 14, 2011 5:26 pm

@ Fullback, you say "he was way too near the neck for my liking". Do you mean just below the line with his shoulders? ie Perfectly legal height wise. I can see why people are complaining about not wrapping his arms round, but to my mind, the worst should have been a penalty and no card.

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BuzzKillington September 14, 2011 7:10 pm

And just to make myself clear - Neither the shoulder charges in Football or League have anything but a minor influence on the nature of the game. You could outlaw it in both codes of football and all that would change is the tackles. The games wouldn't be fundamentally changed with shoulder charges gone.

What do some of you people think will happen if shoulder charges were made legal in Rugby, just out of curiosity?

Rucks, scrums, line-outs and mauls would still exist; They'd still be 15 men on the field; Penalty kicks and drop goals would still be worth 3 points, Tries would still be worth 5 etc. The only thing that would change is the ruck. You'd see more competition at the break-down and more turn overs. I can't see how that's a bad thing, myself.

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samoan observer September 15, 2011 5:36 am

1st sir Issac Newtons law of physics

LAW 1.An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by another force.

I think he was definitely acted upon by another force.

Laws of rugby will always give way to the laws of physics

Great rugby!

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Full Back September 15, 2011 12:14 pm

@BuzzKillington, I disagree that the running lines and off loads are superior in League, they tend to enter the contact rather than risk the off-load in the initial phases.
The high tackle is the most effective way of blocking the off-load. If you have to brace yourself for a high impact it becomes very difficult to off-load. If you're powerful enough to barge through players then they are obliged to go lower in order to ground you and that leaves space for the off-load.
I said it would set a precedent for league type tackles. This is borderline, if you let it go then the next guy doesn't even leave his arms out etc.
Changing the ruck, and the breakdown would lead to quite a mess on the pitch. Play would be less structured and ultimatley less enjoyable to watch. There's a reason that they don't have rucks in League and this is it. Full on shoulder barging where you have a ruck to defend would result in an elevated number of injuries in the game. It's something that is already creeping in, and that the new rules were brought in to compensate for. It's the reason you can't "seal" a ruck anymore.
I've played league, so I've seen more than 10mins of it thanks, as for American Football, well you brought that up, but it's hardly relevant, it is as they say, a whole different ball game.

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BuzzKillington September 15, 2011 1:39 pm

High tackles are illegal in League, Williams tackle wasn't high, so just what are you talking about high tackles for? And clearly you haven't played League, despite your claims, because if you had you'd be more than aware of the superior running lines and offloads.

Your post is ridiculous on so many levels! The reason there are no Leagues in ruck is not because of shoulder charges, but because rucks were considered negative and the rules were changed so that tacklers must release and allow the tackled man to get up and play the ball. To clarify - Rucks are illegal, that's why they don't happen in League.

Shoulder charges are shoulder charges, they have absolutely nothing to do with Leagues play-the-ball system. You seem to be connecting the two as if they come together, that somehow you couldn't have one without the other.

Allowing shoulder charges would NOT lead to less structure, it would not lead to a mess on the pitch, and there's no evidence to suggest it would increase injuries. What you actually find if you look at injuries objectively is that most the serious injuries in both games don't come from hits, but actually come from textbook wrap tackles where players are brought to ground awkwardly under the weight of the tackler. The shoulder hit is extremely safe when contrasted with rucks, scrums and textbook low tackles.

Your arguments hold about as much water as a spaghetti strainer. You're kidding yourself if you think running lines, and offloads especially, are superior in Rugby. There's 50 ball-playing second rowers in the NRL who can offload like SBW.

The rules in League promote the offload. In contrast, the infinite rucks in Rugby do the opposite - Evidenced by the fact most Rugby forwards struggle to throw a normal pass, never mind an offload in traffic

If there's one thing that's for certain, it's that having or not having shoulder charges isn't much more than an insignificant factor on offloads and running lines.

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BuzzKillington September 15, 2011 2:00 pm

Leagues in ruck? Argh, I've exhausted my brain this week.

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Full Back September 19, 2011 10:50 am

You clearly haven't read my post properly judging by your answer and you seem to confuse your personal opinion with fact on occasion.
I've played league as a centre and can assure you that for the first 3 phases the idea is to straighten the line and gain ground by attacking the space and not risking the off-load.
Rucks would be dangerous in league and as I already pointed out the rules regarding sealing in Union were changed for just that reason. Most injuries do not come from text-book wrap tackles but rather from people receiving hits while defending rucks or getting caught in an awkward position when rucks are being formed.
I've had a few ribs broken from shoulder charges and can assure you they hurt quite a bit more than when you're wrapped up.
I'm aware that rucks are illegal and it's my opinion that the type of tackles that developed have something to do with that. You're impression that they're not connected is an opinion you have and nothing else. It may surprise you, but even though league turned pro first, it used to be the working mans game and Union was for the private schools. It's not unthinkable that rucks were deemed illegal because they wanted to avoid injuries.
And finally if you look at the average league game stats you'll see that there are less line breaks than the average union game and far far less passes completed (despite your idea that most of the players are unable to pass). Off-loads are there or there abouts.

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Malcolm Bradbrook September 15, 2011 12:21 pm

Repying to BuzzKillington (sorry, IE won't let me use the reply function)

I agree it is subjective but in rugby we generally back the ref and he felt it was a dangerous tackle as did I. I suppose the subjectivity of this is that the hit was on the shoulder with a shoulder. I don't see his right arm wrapping but stiffly hanging.

I love big hits and want to encourage big hits. One of my favourite England memories is Mat Rogers being smashed (legally) by Josh Lewsey and other hits like Chabal on Chris Masoe and Henson on Tait bring me to my feet whoever I am supporting. But the key with them is that they were massive tackles *completely* within the rules. Leading with the shoulder (however it is disguised) onto the head area is a League tackle and, I don't know if this is snobbery or not, in my opinion designed to concuss the opposition player. I don't want that.

I know you can argue that this was not a tackle to the head but to the shoulder but it takes one small slip for that shoulder to ride up into the head which is why we have the below the shoulder rule.

I am not calling for Paul Williams to be banned for life. I am just saying that I think the ref got it right. Yellow card, 10 minutes, no ban. Job done.

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BuzzKillington September 15, 2011 1:55 pm

Who's this 'we' that you mention? I certainly don't back the ref if he's wrong. If he's wrong, he's wrong. So you don't speak for everyone with that mantra.

But mate, you must be kidding yourself! When was the last time you watched the Lewsey tackle on Rogers? It was much worse than this tackle! At the least Williams made an effort to wrap, however weak - Lewsey didn't even hide his blatant shoulder charge, he made 0 attempt to tackle Rogers legally. And Lewsey had form, he was one of the biggest shoulder charge merchants in English rugby!!!! You've baffled me completely with that statement. Saying you don't like malicious shoulder charges and then citing that armless hit is an oxymoron.

You've also misunderstood the rules of the game. There is NO rule in existence, in the game of rugby, that says tackles must be made BELOW the shoulder. The rule states that tackles are not allowed ABOVE the shoulder. The difference in what you said and what the rules actually are is massive.

Tackling shoulder to shoulder, so long as you make an effort to wrap - which is debatable if he did make that effort to wrap in this incident, granted - is absolutely 100% legal.

You're allowed, in the game of Rugby, to hit someone so long as it's below the head and neck. I don't know about every one else on RD, but my shoulders are below my neck.

PS. Hitting above the shoulder in League is also illegal. Although, as anyone who's played either game will know, every second carry you're gonna get hit in the face anyway! Lol

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Rugbydump September 15, 2011 5:07 pm

Malcolm, we've looked into the Reply error in IE and it should be sorted out now. Please try it out and let us know if any more problems? Cheers

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Malcolm Bradbrook September 15, 2011 5:33 pm

Working now. Cheers RD.

IE is a developers nightmare and the sooner it is rucked off the field the better (sorry for the pun).

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Malcolm Bradbrook September 15, 2011 3:50 pm

By back the ref I mean give him the benefit of the doubt. Many people thought Williams' hit was illegal, many didn't but many of those who didn't admitted that at full speed and without replays, their initial impression was that it was an illegal hit.

I would hate for us to get to a position where the thing people most talk about is contentious refereeing decisions. We have to accept they're human and crack on. Rugby is a fast paced game (accept when England play) so they are going to get things wrong every now and again.

I last saw Lewsey's hit on Rogers five minutes before posting the above comment. I saw his shoulder go into the midriff of Rogers but crucially both arms at shoulder level wrapping around Rogers. Perfect hard hit. I cannot see how we can see this tackle so differently. All I can say is that having discussed this tackle with hundreds of rugby fans from around the world, you are the first to claim it is a shoulder charge.

Anyhow. No matter. Let the festival of rugby continue.

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BuzzKillington September 15, 2011 8:06 pm

The only reason you don't realise he doesn't wrap properly is because Lewsey drives through and travels with Rogers. Rogers was stationary when he was hit and Lewsey drove right into his ribs, driving him backwards

It's an optical illusion. Don't you find it strange that an overwhelming number of supposed illegal shoulder charges(where the arms are tucked or not properly used) are almost always shoulder to shoulder? It's all physics. You go in at someones ribs and you can drive up and travel with them, which doesn't look bad even if you only make a half-arsed effort to wrap(hense why shoulder hits to the stomach seem much less common, because they're hard to judge). But when you hit someone in their upperbody even when trying to wrap they do one of 2 things, they either bounce back or their legs violently come from under them. You can't drive them back in the same way, making it seem much worse. Despite the tackles being the same in every other way.

It's just physics, Williams could go out next game and wrap just the same as he does in this video, but if he goes for the ribs nobody bats an eyelid, because if he goes lower than the chest it's going to look like he's wrapping as the bloke isn't gonna bounce 5 feet off him in a quarter of a second.

Absolutely the Lewsey hit was illegal, not a shoulder charge on definition though, my earlier post is wrong there. But Lewsey doesn't attempt to wrap when he smashes Rogers, he just raises his arm so it appears so. Brian Lima spent his career doing the same trick. Looks the part, but a charade effort at best.

Try it yourself next game mate. Hit someone who's stationary in the ribs with a 30% effort to wrap, then if you can, hit someone who's running 20mph from 40 metre up the field shoulder-to-shoulder, with the same 30% wrap(will help with size and strength advantage like Williams) The ref will ping you for the second but not the first, despite both being equally legal/illegal

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Theuns Kotze May 20, 2015 6:51 pm

Hey guys whats up. Ass I was the guy tackled...... or smashed I can vouch for Paul that it was a pretty hard and legal hit... good on ya mate see you in RWC 2015.

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