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All Blacks fined for waterboy Messam

Sensational Stepper Nehe Milner-Skudder

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Paul Williams red card for strike on Heinrich Brussow

There's only been one red card at the World Cup so far, so here's another look at the sending off of Samoan Paul Williams during their 13-5 loss to South Africa last week. A few days back it was confirmed that Williams would face no further punishment.

Anyone who watched the game live will acknowledge that it was a fantastic match but was ill-tempered and poorly managed by referee Nigel Owens and his assistants. Owens unsurprisingly received heavy criticism post match, particularly from the Samoan camp.

Flanker Heinrich Brussow had been held back and after repeated attempts to get free by swatting at Williams' arms, he was then struck with an open hand by the fullback. 

It wasn't the first off the ball incident of the match, with Owens taking a lenient view on at least two other incidents. Assistant referee Stuart Terheege described this one as a deliberate strike to the face though, hence the red card for Williams.

Replays showed that it wasn't a punch, and Brussow had stayed down for longer than he possibly should have. All things considered, it wasn't a huge surprise to see someone receive a red card. Owens evened things up a minute later by yellow carding John Smit for a deliberate knock down.

Williams faced a disciplinary hearing on the weekend and admitted his guilt, and received no further punishment based on the mitagating factors, which included the nature of the strike and the lack of injury that was caused from it.

There's a few things to note from this incident. Firstly, players who hold back other players should be dealt with more severely. Sure it has always been a part of rugby, but when it's deliberate and stops a player like Brussow from getting to the next breakdown, it becomes a serious problem.

The second point is that often we see players get away with striking the arm or hand of the player in an attempt to be freed from their grip. Surely both aspects should be addressed and stamped out if we want a cleaner, fairer game. 

Take a look at the related posts below they video. They're good examples of similar incidents, although the difference there is that they show the player being held back striking out.

Posted by Rugbydump at 2:48 pm | View Comments (61)

Posted in Rugby World Cup

Viewing 61 comments

cheyanqui October 06, 2011 4:29 pm

Considering Brüssow is from the Free State, he probably grew up with plenty of milking practice.

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Guest23 October 06, 2011 4:39 pm

17 seconds to get up from a tap on the face - what an absolute footballer.

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Bas Horneman October 06, 2011 4:40 pm

I've been yellow carded i.e. sent off for hitting the arm of the guy holding me. So yes. Holding should be punished by a penalty. Refs hardly spot it though.

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Reality October 06, 2011 4:53 pm

This was absolutely 100% Williams's fault. I mean he's illegally preventing the guy from getting to the next breakdown, and Brussow was just hitting the guy's arms to get him off him, it's not like he smacked him in the face. And then Williams gets up and smacks him one? Definite red. And who cares if it wasn't a closed fist? I mean you can still break blocks of wood with your hand even if it isn't in the shape of a fist.

Also, shouldn't Nigel Owen's have said, "You've deliberately struck a player" rather than "you've deliberately striked"?

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Full Back October 06, 2011 8:10 pm

No it's not like he's smacked him in the face, more like a punch to the back of the head, which is probably why Williams slapped him...and I do mean slap, what a cock Brussow is.
I've no time for dirty play but a bit of rough and tumble like this and we have a guy rolling on the ground? Italy's Serie A soccer players are surely nodding their approval.

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tin whistle October 07, 2011 6:38 am

you are 100% correct, I found the the grammar used in this video truly nauseating and it has no place in the game of rugby. That kind of shit should be left on the soccer pitch.

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opfazonk October 06, 2011 4:57 pm

ugh... yellow card would have been enough. brüssow fell like an italian footballer... disgrace for a player i used to respect so much...

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G472 October 06, 2011 4:58 pm

Something should of happened with Brussow as well from most of the camera angles he seemed to be hitting Williams repeatedly on the back of the head you cant really blame him for retaliating in such a minor way

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MojoLoko October 06, 2011 4:58 pm

Nice to see Heinrich getting a taste of his own medicine. I don't condone violence, unless it's against thuggish little saffas, and whatayaknow, Heiny fits the bill nicely.


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ChristopherPam October 06, 2011 5:09 pm

Brussow was hitting him repeatedly, which the TJ recognized, and Williams gave him a smack.

I may have gone yellow for Williams, but I don't necessarily disagree with the red. However, Brussow deserved a Yellow for those strikes, and it is those repeated strikes that lead to the headshot.

You want good game management... Brussow gets a yellow, Williams gets a red (or even a yellow) and both get a break. Teams are 14v14, and play goes on.

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Johnny03 October 06, 2011 5:09 pm

well my estimations of brussow has gone down, he got tapped in the face and hit the deck like that, and you can see brussow hits williams in the back of the head aswell, what a little bitch

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Jackkonb1 October 06, 2011 5:13 pm

you mustn't do justice gy yourself. I would punish both.

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Bunn October 06, 2011 5:22 pm

I would say that the first few of Brussow's blows were more on the back of William's head than arm, but it was stupid of Williams to strike back and you will get red carded for that type of things. I have no idea why Brussow fell over let alone stayed down for so long, I thought South African culture was supposed to be macho? Great player, awful attitude.

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Guy October 06, 2011 5:23 pm

Wow. Great acting. Lots of milk involved. Is this South Africa's pride?

Brussow must have hurt himself more when he hit the grassn than when he was hit.

Besides, he doesn't have clean hands himself either. It's hard to see from this angle but I wouldn't be surprised if he had hit Williams in the head too.

Ref did the right thing though. Did not see the incident and followed the Touch Judges advice. Can't blame him for following the play of the ball.

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JayFlaherty October 06, 2011 5:38 pm

Should have sin-binned him.....

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i love bacon October 06, 2011 5:47 pm

I think you already hit the nail on the head:
Replays showed that it wasn't a punch, and Brussow had stayed down for longer than he possibly should have. All things considered, it wasn't a huge surprise to see someone receive a red card.

Brussow is a great openside and he's typically a pretty tough player on the pitch (he's played through injuries before)...but man, he ought to be a bit embarrassed by how hard he went down by an open-hand strike from a fullback (granted, that's one large fullback...).

Williams deserved at the very least a yellow card, and a straight red is reasonable enough. No need to act like a bitch and blindside a guy with a strike to the head, just because he was punching your arms when you held on to him over a ruck (though some of those did look to connect to the back of Williams' head, so I guess maybe he figured he'd just return the favor...)

Either way, a silly incident that didn't need to happen. Thanks dickbags, for not letting this tournament go by without at least one red card.

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stroudos October 06, 2011 5:49 pm

I really feel strongly about this.

I think the footballer's dive by Brussow is utterly despicable, sets a very dangerous precedent and must be eradicated immediately.

This sort of thing is a poison, it has totally ruined the game of football and will gradually destroy rugby if it's allowed to go unpunished.

It's particularly annoying as I had been quite a fan of Brussow. Now I have totally lost all respect for the bloke. The girly bitch-slaps, the dive... Fucking disgusting.

I really don't think Williams did much wrong here at all. So he's holding the guy - by the bottom of his shirt! So what, shake him off. If he did actually whack Williams's arms instead of throwing poncy girly punches at the back of his head, he might have found it easier to break free. When Williams gets up, after being punched in the head FOUR TIMES (watch the replay at 1:25), he gives Brussow a SHOVE. Yes, a shove. Not a punch. Not even a slap. A shove. A shove to the face, but it's still just a shove.

Brussow is a cheating diving cunt. AND he's sinned against one of the most fundamental tenets of the game:


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Full Back October 06, 2011 8:13 pm

But hey you're right, I'm the first one to criticise dangerous/high tackles, but this? What the fuck? How does he show his face, I'm a back and I'd rather fake NOT being hurt than hit the deck like, it's all backwards...going to root for Australia this weekend!

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flyingpepper October 06, 2011 9:57 pm

that should go on the back of a t- shirt.. "A forward must not be decked by a back"
Shameful dive, one of the reasons i dislike football is because of this sort of thing

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flyingpepper October 06, 2011 9:57 pm

that should go on the back of a t- shirt.. "A forward must not be decked by a back"
Shameful dive, one of the reasons i dislike football is because of this sort of thing

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jimter10 October 06, 2011 11:19 pm

You're spot on with everything you said

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Marc October 06, 2011 5:50 pm

From the replay it looks like Brussow strikes him in the head at least twice from what I can see not just on the arms. He shouldnt have been holding him but they both are as bad as each other.

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Guest October 06, 2011 6:03 pm

Speaking as a referee, player and coach I have serious objections to the actions of both players. After thinking it through, here's what I think:
1 - Paul Williams deserved a penalty and a stern talking to, if not a sin-binning for his hold on Brussow. It was a deliberate infringement of the laws, and as such is a cynical offense. Is he the only one that does it? No, but the others are wrong too.
2 - Heinrich Brussow hitting Williams' arms (and head, it appears) went too far. The first one or two swats at the arms could be classified as trying to get free, after that it was unnecessary and juvenile. No card or penalty reversal, but Owens should have told him off.
3 - Williams' strike deserved the red card. It was open-palmed, but it was far more than a simple slap. It was a fairly powerful face-palm strike. Kudos for the Assistant Referee for getting it right.
4 - Brussow's drawn-out anguish after the face-palm was silly and overly theatrical. While on the field of play it is difficult to immediately assess whether the reaction is legitimate, and by the time that enough information is gathered to decide if he was milking, play has generally moved on. The citing commissioner should do something about it; that would be an excellent use of the citing policy. The game was brought into disrepute by the shameful acting of Brussow, and he needs to be punished for it.

The World Cup is a global celebration of a great sport, and there is no room for cynicism.

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New and Improved October 06, 2011 6:27 pm

All these guys here commenting about Brussow doing an oscar. It wasn't a slap, it was a strike with the palm. Almost like pushing a guy's nosebone into his brain. I'm pretty sure if any of you were in Brussow's shoes you would have been carried off either dead or crying. MANU SAMOAAAAAA's going HOME...........

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BuzzKillington October 06, 2011 6:37 pm

I think people realise a palm thrust can hurt and impair you, hell, a police officer friend of mine always told me if you wanted to disable someone without an assault charge to give them a strong palm to the chin. As good as a punch if you aren't expecting it. So most people know it can hurt and do damage.

What people - or myself - are taking issue with is Brussows reaction. Yes he was hit, yes I imagine it hurt and possibly dazed him, but he definitely milked it.

I fancy he could have gotten to his feet immediately, if he wanted to. It's clever play, but you'd also be a bit dirty if you were Williams.

I won't slander him for it myself, but he's gone down in my estimations because I personally don't like people exaggerating injury, it's a slippery slope. I wonder if the roles were reversed would your opinion be the same?

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jimter10 October 06, 2011 11:20 pm

I see you have the Highveld sense of humour, I can't wait for the scum to get drilled out of the world cup

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Owz October 06, 2011 7:10 pm

I really hope the South African players give Brussow some stick for this and I hope he is genuinley embarrased.

Many of you will recall him slamming Martin Williams into the ground on the Lion's tour 09. Williams of course got up and laughed it off, as you would expect from any self respecting back rower, he didnt stay down and rollaround like a complete fairy.

No room for it, especially seeing as Brussow is clearly a tough player!

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Obie October 06, 2011 8:02 pm

also look before at 11 secs... Steijn bitch slaps him ... maybe he was a bit antagonized..

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Frenchie October 06, 2011 9:00 pm

Brüssow is a little shit! He deserved that.

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Guest October 06, 2011 9:42 pm

If in any other situation a player repeatedly struck another across the back of the head people would be calling for a red card. What's different here?

Brussow's football dive is pathetic, second the suggestion that he should face a disrepute charge.

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stroudos October 07, 2011 12:10 pm

Where do we sign?

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jem October 06, 2011 10:10 pm

How can Brussow deserve a card? He was the victim trying to get away.
You start carding the victims and next thing, players are deliberately holding other players back, knowing that if the victim retaliates HE gets sent off, not the offender.

Thats just ludicrous!

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UHtiger October 06, 2011 10:44 pm

The retaliator gets done all the time, especially when punches are thrown.

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UHtiger October 06, 2011 10:41 pm

Funny all the "open palm strike" talk. It was a push, dont try to talk it up and make it more than it is. Paul Williams should have got a yellow at best. Brussow hits Williams twice in the hrsd whilst trying to free himself, surely that means he should have been red carded as well. Milking is the main reason i hate football/soccer. My opinion of Brussow has now hit rock bottom.

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Juggernauter October 06, 2011 11:27 pm

I think it was a big over reaction by Brussow. Okay, a guy is holding you down in a ruck, you try to set yourself free and the guy just won't go off, then he stands up and smacks you on the face. He definitely had everything in his favour to escape punishment.

On the other hand, Williams. Holding a guy down in the ruck (albeit pretty cynically), realizing that the guy is complaining to the referee and let go, only for frustration to get him to smack him in the face.

Of course the ref was going to go in Brussow's favour (I still think that the milking by him is disgusting), but they're professional players, grown up men and know what they are doing, and you can't react like Williams did.

Personally, I'd have warned Brussow for the milking and showed Williams the yellow, but that's me sitting quietly un my sofa with footage and repetitiosn of the event.

I don't personally like Nigel Owens, but he's a human being and can get one wrong.

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stroudos October 07, 2011 8:41 am

I do like Nigel Owens, in fact I think he's one of the best refs. In this incident, he was stitched up by the idiot touch judge.

The only criticism I would make of him is I think this was still playing on his mind when he carded Smit for the "deliberate knock-on", which I thought was actually a reasonable attempt at an interception. I actually think these get penalised a bit too much - if you cycnically swat the ball down fine that's a yellow card offence, if you're running through and trying to catch it but just can't quite keep hold of the ball (as in Smit's case) it should just be a scrum to the oppo. I love a good interception and I worry that players will start to find the threat of a yellow card if they balls it up too much of a risk.

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Patrick October 07, 2011 11:56 am

hmm, tbh i thought the yellow card to Smit was pretty fair, yes he might have been going for the interception, but hes an experienced player and probly knew what he was doing here. front row forward going for an interception with one hand?... seems like it was a deliberate knock on

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stroudos October 07, 2011 12:17 pm

I don't know, he's a pretty dextrous front-rower - check the catch at 0:45, or better still the replay at 1:20:


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Patrick October 08, 2011 8:04 am

haha pretty unlucky for me that smits pulled that off then, i stand corrected, mad catch :P

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mendorugger October 07, 2011 1:52 am

clearly he has bashed him in the back of the head for at least three good whacks before he starts in on his arm. Then takes a fall like a soccer pro. Williams has to be smarter then that though. Clearly not a red card strike and yellow for both would have been more appropriate. Brussow conduct should go under review as well. Last I checked you cant bash anyone, for holding or striking you first. This is the position poly teams have put themselves in for years of dirty and illegal play. Sorry to see Williams get such a heavy handed punishment, but he has to expect that he is gonna get the worst when it comes to this. Just as side note, how come we always see Polys bashing whites but no coconut on coconut foul play. that would be refreshing for a change huh? is there some unwritten code amongst islanders that says you only bash whites and high tackle whites. Its the same in our division too. I find the best way to deal with the polys, is to not take any garbage from them, they respect that and usually piss off.

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UHtiger October 07, 2011 5:42 am

Your probably not a league supporter but you should have seen the Tonga vs Samoa game in the Rugby League world cup, they were bashing the living hell out of each other.

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stroudos October 07, 2011 8:32 am

"coconut on coconut"?? Is that considered acceptable language where you come from?

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mendorugger October 10, 2011 3:40 pm

Yes in fact it is considered acceptable where I am from. I am the adopted son of a Polynesian family and so we use this word in our family, our community and everywhere. I dont usually take the time to answer such ridiculous PC questions, but your perhaps genuinely curious. Cheers pal.

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stroudos October 11, 2011 12:57 pm

Well, I admit I may have been a bit like the vicariously offended PC-man, but also genuinely curious. Would it be a bit like N***** though - all right for you to say but not outside the community? if I, as a white Englishman, started referring to Polynesians as coconuts I can't imagine it would go down too well...

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Kimi October 07, 2011 10:35 am

This is just unbearable. Brussow hitting Williams like that.. Brussow would have deserved the red, and Williams a yellow. And don't tell me he was trying to free his arms off, I don't think you can catch someone's arms with the back of your head.

Brussow, you chicken. Go play soccer. If you say "You have to let the ref decide, and not try to make your own rules", then Brussow HAS to be punished too, and has to be sent off.

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Babar19 October 07, 2011 10:50 am

I believe he had every right to do something as if you look Brussow was hitting williams on the back of the head, and at the end of the day it was more like a push to the face then a punch looks like Brussow has been playing to much Fifa.

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katman October 07, 2011 11:03 am

Three things:

1. How the Samoans can complain about the reffing is just beyond belief. Can only be to deflect attention. If Owens had blown that game to the letter of the law, they would have finished with about 9 players on the field.

2. There is no way that Williams deserved anything less than red. Whether it was the fist, the palm, the backhand – doesn’t matter. It was a strike to the face. Ref and touch judge got this spot-on.

3. All the Kiwis here moaning about Brussow going down should remind themselves of his little incident before launching into him. Kinda puts things in perspective:


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stroudos October 07, 2011 11:54 am

Here is a re-enactment of Adam Thompson's part in that video:

Another player flouting rugby's most fundamental tenet: a forward shall not be decked by a back. In this case, by the smallest guy on the pitch. Outrageous behaviour and I hope a heavy drinking fine was awarded.

Not sure why you think the people complaining about Brussow are kiwis, but judging from your points 1 and 2, I reckon you must have watched this game through green-tinted spectacles!

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katman October 07, 2011 12:12 pm

I meant that of all the complainers here, the Kiwis should down a tall glass of shutthefuckup.

And regardless of the colour of your own specs, if you had watched the whole game you would probably agree with at least my point 1. A couple of minutes into the game it became clear that the Samoans cared little about the result and a lot about the fight.

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Tim October 07, 2011 1:36 pm

So there is a difference between a punch to the face and a punch to the back of the head in the rugby laws...

Didn't know that.

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Juggernauter October 07, 2011 1:45 pm

Yeah I agree with point 1. The samoans kept commiting illegal tackles all game long (I particularly saw Stowers and Schwalger deliver three apiece).

Thety are playing magnificent rurgby, staying in order, going throw the phases, but still lack that discipline.

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stroudos October 07, 2011 12:26 pm

Fair enough. And indeed the first documented dive in rugby (that I'm aware of anyway) was committed by a Kiwi - can't find the video at the moment but have you seen that clip from about 20 yrs ago, where the AB lock falls over in a lineout claiming he's been pushed (he wasn't), and they win the game with the resulting penalty? I think it was against SA as well!

I did watch the whole SA v Samoa game and thoroughly enjoyed it. Two hard, physical sides with quite a bit of skill on show too. Yes, the Samoans played hard and abrasive - that's the best way to play against the Boks, who pride themselves on their hard and abrasive physicality! Wales and Samoa both took the direct, physical approach and it very nearly paid off for them. Credit to the Boks that they were able to front up and combat them.

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katman October 07, 2011 12:42 pm

The Welsh have surprised me more than any team at the WC. I reckon they’ll take the Irish and then cruise straight to the final. There are no real weaknesses in their team, and players like North, Roberts, Jenkins and Warburton are among the best in their positions in the world. That’s going to be one hell of a game.

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Guy October 07, 2011 6:35 pm

To put Brussow's acting even more in perspective: tiny swan-diving-Ashton stayed on his feet when another Samoan tried to deck him.

And he is a winger, for crying out loud!!

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Stefan October 07, 2011 9:08 pm

the thing which annoyed me most in this video is the holding in at the ruck. sure it's smart to hold down the man in the ruck for a couple of seconds if you can get some quick ball out but williams was just taking the piss with the lack of subtlety and persistence.

cba to add to the debate about the slap afterwards, most angles have been covered, but the holding down is the thing that grates on me, particularly when playing myself. but very little talk about potentially clamping down on that...

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Ian M October 08, 2011 3:10 am

You armchair forwards are hilarious.

1. Why didn't Brussow want to hit Williams properly to get him to let go? Because if he had it would be Brussow, not Williams, heading for the bin.

2. The rules say a deliberate STRIKE to the head is a red card. It doesn't matter whether that's with an open or closed fist, a strike's a strike.

3. It looked to me like HB took a strike with the heel of Williams' hand to his chin. That's almost as tough to take as a full punch. You take the same amount of force and energy, it's just the initial impact that's a bit less painful. So to say he shouldn't have gone down is just ridiculous. You can't tell from the clip how long he stays down for, but he's up and having a go at Williams by the time the ref blows it up.

At the end of the day HB is a South African flanker, and the one thing you can say about them is they're no pussies. Some of them are dirty violent thugs, but none of them are pussies.

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stroudos October 11, 2011 1:00 pm

I didn't call him a pussy. Quite the opposite.
I called him a cheating, diving bastard.
(To be fair, I wouldn't call him either to his face).

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wolonel October 10, 2011 11:45 am

When Brussow had the hissy against Martyn Williams on the Lions tour we all knew he was what he is immediately. This is even worse this time (it's not a proper strike lads-the dive confirms it), and keep an eye out for him because sometime in the future, he's gonna do it again...

How do I know? Coz he keeps getting away with it, and his hot little head can't help himself! A fantastic world class player who I wouldn't pick on my team in a million dignified years...

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quins1 April 11, 2012 3:40 pm

brussow is one of my fav players but he over reacted to the palm to the face

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WillN December 17, 2013 6:35 am

Red Card for Paul Williams, yet Chabal KOs Marc Giraud and that is merely a Yellow.
The double standard of Rugby continues!

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