Recap from Highlanders' historic win

Rayno Benjamin's sneaky trip gets yellow

Brilliant Richie McCaw lineout move try

France convincing winners over England

Sky Sport NZ's Super Rugby Player Awards

Andrew Trimble big hit leads to try

Alipate Fatafehi huge hit vs USA Eagles

Some of the greatest amateur rugby hits

Matt Talaese red carded at fulltime

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Leonardo Ghiraldini in trouble after making contact with Cian Healy's eyes

In what was a great first half battle between Ireland and Italy, the physical aspect crossed the line a little twenty minutes in, as Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini placed his fingers over the eyes of prop forward Cian Healy.

Healy was clearly incensed as he lashed out at Ghialdini, creating a situation that was tricky to manage for referee Jonathan Kaplan. As you can see, he stopped the game and had a word with captain Brian O'Driscoll, stating that he didnt see anything and Healy shouldn't have lashed out.

"How is he supposed to react?" said Paul O'Connell to Kaplan, who obviously acknowledged the severity of the incident. In many ways you could see that Healy, despite lashing out initially, was actually fairly controlled, all things considered. 

You can hear a slight hint of sympathy from commentator Alan Quinlan, who himself missed out on the British & Irish Lions tour because of an eyegouging ban, but there's no doubt the hooker was in the wrong.

In a time when any sort of contact with the eyes is highly frowned upon, you can be sure that Ghiraldini will be sticking around in New Zealand for some time longer, specifically to face a discplinary hearing and subsequent heavy ban. He hasn't been cited yet however.

What are your thoughts on the incident, and the length of the ban he will no doubt receive?

Posted by Rugbydump at 3:24 pm | View Comments (34)

Posted in Rugby World Cup

Viewing 34 comments

stroudos October 02, 2011 5:14 pm

Didn't realise that was Alan Quinlan commentating. Awkward, considering his own previous. Presumably that explains the other commentator's comment "often inclined to give benefit of the doubt" - usually they're (correctly) unequivocal that eye-gouging's the most heinous of foul play.

Not sure on this particular incident though. Doesn't look intentional, but I think the actual offence is any "contact with the eye area", whether you meant to or not, isn't it.

· Reply · Report

Full Back October 03, 2011 1:36 pm

I think you're right stroudos, he limited himself to "certainly doesn't look good".
Ghiraldini's not usually dirty but who cares? What a my opinion.

· Reply · Report

Rebecca October 02, 2011 5:28 pm

Doesn't look too intentional, looks like Ghialdini was going for some leverage and got his eye. It looks like realised what he grabbed and pulled away quick enough

· Reply · Report

Jimbo October 02, 2011 6:20 pm

Please don't be so naive. He knew exacly what he was doing and there is absolutely no place for it on the rugby pitch. Deserves a long ban.

· Reply · Report

Reality October 02, 2011 6:29 pm

No I don't buy that Rebecca. You can see on the last replay that he had two fingers sticking out and into Healy's eyes, and the rest were closed. If you're holding onto something for leverage you don't do it with just your middle and ring fingers. And anyway, hanging onto someone's face for leverage is obviously just not acceptable. Also, you can see at about 10 seconds in that the arm he had in Healy's face put him quite off-balance, so I really don't think it was about supporting his weight or getting a better hold of Healy.

· Reply · Report

LND October 02, 2011 7:24 pm

One of many cheap shots in the game from the Italians, it's a pity they had to resort to that sort of play, it went on for the whole game. Ireland were very disciplined.

· Reply · Report

Andyboy October 02, 2011 7:43 pm

You can see as he joins the ruck against Healy, he deliberately goes in with his left hand under Healy's head. The way he does this looks unnatural to a player looking to counter-ruck. IMO he knew what he was doing.

As the last comment says, the Italian pack was pulling all kinds of cheap crap all game. Not surprising when their naive coach stated pre-game that they had the best pack, only to be dominated from the off by the Irish forwards. The longer that went on, the less the Italians liked it and the more they resorted to cheap cheating.

Well done to the Irish for seeing off a fairly average Italian team. I hope for his team's sake that Mallett learns from his mistake and keeps his gob shut in his next role.

· Reply · Report

ak October 02, 2011 8:00 pm

The italians are alot better that the played yesterday. That was an ugly incident of eye gouging on cian healy by ghiraldini. there is no place for that in rugby. 2 years ago alan quinlan got 3 months of a ban for a eye gouging incident. all things considered in this case it should be for longer considering that cian healy was rucking and had no way of defending himself at the time. i hope the irb make a statement of intent and give a ban worthy of the act of foul play it should be a minimum of 12 weeks

· Reply · Report

Colombes October 02, 2011 8:02 pm

Not so sure the eye-gouge was intentional
but the italians were quite undisciplined durin the whole match with some little cheap shots.
that said, deserved irish victory, great to see one celt team assured to be in semi's

· Reply · Report

johndoe October 02, 2011 8:53 pm

He knew exactly what he was doing. He could easily have not curled his fingers into the eye / eye socket area but he did. The guy deserves whatever ban comes his way.

· Reply · Report

johndoe October 02, 2011 8:55 pm

Also, the Italians played very dirty all match. I rate Parisse very highly, but he was very dirty today. Didn't like how he played.

· Reply · Report

LND October 02, 2011 10:55 pm

such as his body check on Darcy!

· Reply · Report

Guy October 02, 2011 9:44 pm

Well, I just hope that this is not going to be looked at by the same person that took the job of TMO in this game (no foul play at Bowe's effort...eehhmmm?????)

· Reply · Report

Eggman October 03, 2011 12:00 am

I think that call was becaue of the controversy about the forward pass try that was disallowed by the Video Ref in the SA vs NZ game shortly before the World Cup. The Ref was criticised for taking footage into account that, according to the rules, he was not allowed to. I think the video ref was unsure whether or not he was allowed to tell the ref about the tackle. He seemed to emphasise that there was nothing wrong "behind" the try line or something like that.
Personally I agree that he should've called it out and given the Irish a penalty try, but I am not entierly sure if he was actually allowed to make the call according to the rules, so I wouldnt be too hard on him..

· Reply · Report

Kiwi in Aus October 03, 2011 1:44 pm

Eggman you are comparing 2 totally different situations. Firstly what the video ref did in that SA vs NZ game was incorrect in law but totally right in that the try wasn't allowed as it was a forward pass.
Secondly the can look at footage that happens on or behind the goal line including footage immediately leading up to the scoring of a try/touchdown. As the Italian player grabbed the Irish player as they were going over the goal line it is within the scope of the Video ref and they can rule on it. Shaun Veldsmen didn't and as far as i am concerned he was wrong not to.
Lastly there is no way that was accidental contact he put his fingers in the eyes of Healy and should get the maximum there is no room for that in any sport let alone Rugby.

· Reply · Report

Eggman October 03, 2011 2:24 pm

@Kiwi in Aus
I agree that it was a forward pass. However, the boss of the IRB came out after the game and ciriticized the TMO for giving the ref the information on the forward pass, so he got critized for doing, what in my opinion was, the right thing.
The reason I brought this incident up was to explain a possible confusion the video ref in the Italy-Ireland game had as to whether or no he was allowed to inform the ref on what happenend. He must have thought that the infringement happenend before the in-goal area, and that he was thus not allowed to comment on it. I'm sure he remembered the rebuke the SA TMO received after his call and thought he'd rather not go there too...

While I agree with you that he should've said something, I'm just trying to point out a possible reason why the referee didnt.

· Reply · Report

mise October 02, 2011 11:08 pm

As could be seen from other incidents in the game, the Italians targeted Healy as he's been excellent this tournament. That adds to the evidence against accidental gouging.

· Reply · Report

i love bacon October 03, 2011 2:14 am

Paul O'Connell - never does the fact that he isn't the captain keep him from talking to the referee like he is.

Dunno if it was really an attempt to purposefully gouge. But Healey had every right to unleash some punches on Ghiraldini. Fingers near the eye should set anyone off. And that should settle the matter.

But if it gets judged to be intentional, then Ghiraldini should expect a lengthy ban. If fingers end up anywhere near someone's face, then be prepared to face the consequences of a gouging allegation.

Just a question: Ghiraldini isn't known to be a particularly "dirty" player, is he? If not, then that should play into his favor come sentencing.

· Reply · Report

brookmcg October 04, 2011 3:15 pm

Well he is captain of Munster and if not BOD it is him that does the talking, and he was only backing up his mate that could of lost an eye, he was right there after all.

Knowing that he is not a dirty player will come to his aid this time around but will haunt him forever as the world is watching and now his name is sin-ominous with dirty play.

· Reply · Report

Big Bear October 03, 2011 7:58 am

Drico is captain but is a back, so presumably Paul O'Connell is pack leader. There has to be one person on each side that can communicate with the referee about forward play. As an Ireland fan I would expect O'Connell to advocate strongly on behalf of an almost-maimed team mate.

And as for a suitable punishment to mete out, well, let's forget about bans and go biblical. Ghiraldini should have his arms bound back and Cian Healy should be allowed one good scratching swipe across his face. If he removes an eye, fair enough. If not, the Italian can go back to playing his grubby game. But he'll know what awaits him the next time he gets caught.

· Reply · Report

moddeur October 03, 2011 8:12 am

Eye gouging is unacceptable in any circumstance. Ghiraldini is going to get a few months.

I don't know about the "targeting Cian Healy" bit suggested by @mise above, Cian Healy did seem to set off a few Italians on his own too. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not.

Bowe's try was rightfully disallowed (did not ground the ball), but the video referee should have somehow called for a penalty try or a yellow card (because of a blatant obstruction). Do TMOs have that kind of power of suggestion?

· Reply · Report

Eggman October 03, 2011 10:02 am

Considering how the boss of the IRB and every single kiwi reacted to their try being diasalowed vs SA, I'd say no. However, maybe because the obstruction happened behind the tryline the videoref might have been allowed to say something.
And regarding the suggestion: I had the feeling that he tried to suggest something to the ref. He was really emphasising something, though I can't remember the exact wording. Something about "not groundned, no inteference *behind* the try line"

· Reply · Report

RaoulDuke October 03, 2011 11:55 am

I heard "No try and no foul play". Seemed to me like he was suggesting a 22 drop out but Kaplan didn't seem to believe what he heard/didn't hear him initially.

Shame for Tommy having all is hard work go unrewarded but good for birthday boy Keith Earls. Also great to see Andrew Trimble making an impact and looking so delighted for the man keeping him off the starting 15.

· Reply · Report

Rory October 03, 2011 10:53 am

The Video Ref said there was no foul play in the in goal area putting a bit of emphasis on "in the goal area" as there was clearly several obstructions and even a tackle before the in goal area however the Video Ref can only give the ref information on the events in the goal area.
I don't think Jonathan Kaplan picked up on it, you can see the shock on his face when he hears there was no foul... another shitstorm reffing an Ireland match as he awarded the Welsh try in the 6 nations where the ball was changed and they took a quick lineout though that was more the fault of the linesman.

The first disallowed try where Bowe juggled it was definitely not a forward pass though

· Reply · Report

Ash October 03, 2011 11:22 am

When we look at precedent by the IRB (not that they ever take heed of it themselves) but in 2008 Neil Best was banned for 18 weeks for what was described by the committee as 'accidental but reckless' contact with the eyes, not specifically an eye 'gouge'.

The problem with this of course is that Burger got an 8 week ban for doing it deliberately in 2009 and Parisse got 8 weeks as well in same year. Perhaps because Ghiraldini isn't a marquee name like those two the IRB wont be afraid to give him a longer ban (though to be honest I'm still 50/50 as to whether it was deliberate or not) and take the tough stance necessary if they believe it was deliberate. I'd guess as it's not completely clear cut any ban given will be relatively short.

· Reply · Report

BlueBlood October 03, 2011 12:41 pm

I was very let down by Italy yesterday, didn't think they were that dirty, but they seemed intent on playing a dirty game. And they were all led by their captain Parisse, a real disappointment from him.

· Reply · Report

2far October 04, 2011 12:42 am

I agree with blueblood,Italians were very cynical and dirty..

· Reply · Report

Huh!!!the3rd October 04, 2011 3:44 am

Healy has probably been the best front row of the WC (not many are awarded MOM awards as he was v Aus) and from the evidence of this game where he was clearly targeted all game, has lost his hot headedness. He was in the thick of it and bar this counter action kept his composure. Wasn't a fan of him up until the last few months but he's looking at 100+ cpas at this stage.

On the Bowe non try, while I missed Kaplan's question to the TMO, it doesn't matter if foul was outside the in goal area, if it was in the act of scoring, then its obstruction. The act of scoring does often take place outside the try line. In fact, Bowe was on the other end of this in Nov 08 against NZ, when he tapped the ball out of McCaw's way going over the try line. Bowe was yellow carded and a Pen try was given to NZ.

· Reply · Report

Mark October 04, 2011 4:27 pm

He either knew what he was doing or was so careless as to not realise that he was up to his knuckles in Healy's eyes. Hence disciplinary action was needed and 15 weeks isnt a day too short in my opinion!

· Reply · Report

RedYeti October 04, 2011 4:54 pm

If anybody had actually read the press releases from the citing commission, you'd know that they wanted to extend the sentence for Ghiraldini, to set a sterner deterrent for future-gougers, as the past punishments clearly aren't working (players are still gouging with the same consistency as before). Ghiraldini's ban was actually lowered from 24 weeks to 15 in the end, because of his previously good disciplinary record.

· Reply · Report

RedYeti October 04, 2011 4:55 pm

That was meant for the Facebook post, whoops

· Reply · Report

Commenting as Guest | Register or Login

All comments are moderated and will be removed immediately if offensive.