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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Steven Shingler red carded for spear tackle against Cardiff Blues

Young Welshman Steven Shingler saw red on Friday night for a tip tackle against Cardiff Blues that resulted in a straight sending off for the London Irish midfielder. The Exiles played the rest of the game with 14, and ultimately went down 24-18 in the Heineken Cup second round game.

Shingler, a former Wales u20 and Scarlets player, had hoped to attract attention with the return to his homeland. "It'll be nice to go back to Wales and put down a marker," he said before the match.

"It'll be nice to show that I'm still here and in the mix and hopefully I can put in a good performance and get people talking about how well I performed and show them that I am one for the future,"

Unfortunately with less than 20 minutes on the park, Shingler got himself red carded by referee Jerome Garces for his tackle on Dafydd Hewitt. London Irish head coach Toby Booth stood by him.

"The way the game is being officiated around the tackle means if you are not precise you may pay a heavy price. The young lad is devastated. There was no malice in it. He is a young man coming back to Wales, wanting to impress," he said.

"The guy jumped up and if you are not quite in control of your emotions or are just a little bit off with your timing, that is the outcome. The safety of players is paramount. These are big physical people playing a very tough game.

"But if you are out by a fine margin you can pay a heavy price and we have seen that," he added.

Shingler was sent off at the same time as his brother, Aaron, scored a try for the Scarlets.

Are you okay with the red card coming out for a tackle of this nature, provided it's consistent?

Posted by Rugbydump at 2:15 pm | View Comments (63)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 63 comments

ruckinmaul November 20, 2011 4:59 pm

very dangerous indeed.

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LeicScarlet November 22, 2011 8:32 pm

That looked "manufactured" to me.... I am not the only one surley? Dafydd Hewitt jumped off his left foot then rolled out with his right shoulder....... Shingler had finished any attmpt to go further half way through the tackle as he was off balance and falling to the right.

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Colombes November 20, 2011 5:03 pm

fall on the head = red
end of the discussion

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wow-jiffy-lube November 20, 2011 5:13 pm

Definite red to the letter of the law. Interesting to see the way Hewitt bounded straight up though, suggesting either that (a) there wasn't as much force in the tackle as it appeared or (b) Dafydd Hewitt is one tough muthaf*cka. Take your pick.

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iwillneverbeablueprf November 20, 2011 5:32 pm

I am a welshman, but a vocal hater of the blues, so I'm not that biased honest BUT......

The commentators have made a big deal about this and have said that the law is too harsh, and have pretty much treated it the same as warburton's in the wrc final. In my eyes those are two very different tackles, this is significantly worse than warburton's and should be a red. Whereas warburton's was dangerous to a degree but nowhere near as bad as that one and should have just been a yellow.

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JHorlock November 20, 2011 5:42 pm

Very dangerous, no doubt, but I think what the commentator said about there being some responsibility of the ball carrier too is fairly valid...

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kiltie November 20, 2011 5:59 pm

rugby is getting soft. yellow card maximum.

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moddeur November 20, 2011 6:06 pm

In my opinion it wasn't as vigorous as the Warburton one, and although player safety must always come first I think that this type of tackling should only be penalised with a yellow. I don't think that punishing with a red card will make these tackles disappear, so why ruin the game?

I lifted a guy two weeks ago, when tackling, and my first reaction as he was going up was "uh-oh, better get him down safely", so I think it's always possible to hold back. Players that don't hold back are obviously unaware of what they are doing (I don't believe that a single player out there wants to break someone else's neck).

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iamaj8 November 20, 2011 9:30 pm

"I don't believe that a single player out there wants to break someone else's neck"

Try asking Brian O'driscoll that...

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BuzzKillington November 20, 2011 11:14 pm

Why? Has O'Driscoll admitted that he wants to break peoples necks?

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Nemeketh November 20, 2011 11:26 pm

What are you refering to ?

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Hry November 21, 2011 12:43 am

I'd say it was pretty obvious he was talking Umaga/Mealamu, Lions/NZ '05

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BuzzKillington November 21, 2011 11:44 am

I know what he was referring to, but Moddeur said "I don't believe that a single player out there wants to break someone else's neck"

O'Driscoll can't answer whether Umaga or Mealumu wanted to break his neck, only Umaga and Mealamu could.

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kingkeithearls November 20, 2011 6:12 pm

he lifts him in the tackle, the tackled player twists therefore he starts heading downwards and the tackler does not drive him into the ground. yes it was dangerous but not solely because of the tackler. yellow card. also, the ref should judge on the reaction of the tackled player too as he just gets up and on with it

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Andooo November 22, 2011 1:57 am

Judging from the reaction of the tackled player only encourages overacting, I agree with you otherwise, but it's just an awful idea to base the punishment on the tackled players reaction.

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O Bife Velho November 20, 2011 6:35 pm

Yep , red card and well deserved , this is about the worst i´ve seen in a long time , straight down , head rolled under , neck exposed......and yes , (b) Dafydd Hewitt is one tough muthaf*cka.

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 20, 2011 7:00 pm

Another welshman getting stitched up for this new referee fancy of spearing. But in this case, ironically, Shingler the younger could be looking to play for England. His brother, Aaron, I am told, could be on the bench for Wales soon. Watch and see and shoot.

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 20, 2011 7:10 pm

Ok rugbydump, I know I am at the last wotsits for posting songs, but how about a documentary of the Neath Valley, the breeding ground of many recent Welsh props? It is from the early 1960's, and has a good clip at the end of Neath Rugby club clubhouse, everyone discussing things and that. Have a look,


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poccio November 20, 2011 7:20 pm

oh etch...you crazy crazy muthaflipper.....i really enjoy your posts!

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 20, 2011 7:34 pm

Really? "Some" people don't get me. But thanks for the true love bro.

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stroudos November 20, 2011 7:22 pm

Penalty against Hewitt for playing on after being tackled!

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poccio November 20, 2011 7:24 pm

there's a couple of things..first it didn't look to harsh to me, but maybe it's because the guy who got tackled got up right quick....and i understand that with the rules the way they are it's a red...what i don't understand is the suspention after that (like for warburton), i mean i always thought the citing was like a punishment if you got away with a crime but if you already get red why twist the knife?

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 20, 2011 7:30 pm

Am I right in saying tackled player should try jump in the air to get tipped on head these days, to get a red, since ref are so numbnuts? Looks like it - a festival of red cards has started.

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BuzzKillington November 20, 2011 8:16 pm

The tackled man practically speared himself. Was incredibly dangerous but I can't entertain anything more than a yellow.

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stuart November 20, 2011 8:17 pm

i agree that it is a lot worse than warburton's, however i thought the same as the commentator, daf hewitt is wriggling when he's in the air and so shingler doesn't have much or any control of how he lands so the tackle looks worse than it is. i think you'd have to say it's a red, but more importantly only this type of tackle is or should be a red. ones where you get dropped or slammed on your back shouldn't be, they should be yellow. just my 2 cents.

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 20, 2011 9:12 pm

It's become a joke. Jump up, land on your head, and get the other so-an-so sent off.
Refs are pathetic. Bring back Roger Quintterton I say - he is better than this nonsense even.

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 20, 2011 9:54 pm

Northampton "Saints" tried to tear a nineteen year old talent legs apart. Is that rugger?

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Juggernauter November 20, 2011 11:04 pm

I agree with kingkeithearls, yellow card, you can see there's no malice in it, that the tackled player has twisted and that he's not hurt. Why send him out??

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Sankeor November 20, 2011 11:28 pm

Hmmm... Really people I try to understand your mindset, but for those who say:
"ok, this one might get a red but Warburton one definitely should have been a yellow"... You have to determine a specific limit to say here it's a yellow and here it's a red. But these limits do exist, and have been rightfully applicated (and I find it very out of place for the commentators to question the rules... I know in some countries it's common, but in my opinion that's simply dirty).
I think the vast majority who criticize the refereeing on spear tackles never endured any spine injury and have no idea what the danger is about.
And by the way, maybe Hewitt is a tough muthaf*cka but he's also a lucky muthaf*cka for sure.

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Sankeor November 20, 2011 11:33 pm

And if we had to take in account malice, we would live in a very complicated world...haha

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Hry November 21, 2011 12:52 am

I think with the Warburton tackle, a lot of the whiners would have set a specific limit at whether or not the tackler is Welsh and playing in an important game.

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flyingpepper November 20, 2011 11:31 pm

Like it was said in the world cup it is a collision sport not a contact sport. The responsibility of the tackler should be lost when the ball carrier starts twist. Really at that speed they want you to control someone who is purposely trying to move and twist. clearly none of the guys writing the rules today have played for awhile

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BTyler1 November 21, 2011 12:08 am

This commentator is clueless, there is no question that is a dangerous tackle which deserves a straight red! To also try putting blame on the ball carrier is the most stupid bit of commentary I've ever heard and that's including the utterly useless commentators on itv for the world cup!

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Stilesy November 21, 2011 12:09 am

If we start basing decisions on things like "malice" and the tackler being a previously "clean" player, it starts getting too subjective. We need a clear set of rules, which we have. Personally I think they're too harsh particularly with cases such as this:


At the end of the day referee's can only follow the guidelines they're given by the IRB, and yes sometimes they use their experience to let the game flow. But when player's get dumped on their necks, then action needs to be taken.

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Hry November 21, 2011 12:51 am

That Chabal one was obviously just a wrong decision. Perfect tackle. Not much to do with lifting players there. Plus it was a long time ago, I haven't seen one of those given in recent years.

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Stilesy November 21, 2011 2:41 am

Yeah a bit irrelevant to the whole lifting argument, but there have been a couple of less clear cut examples:

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stroudos November 21, 2011 9:27 am

Stilesy, Here's how I'd have adjudicated those tackles:
Chabal - play on, perfect tackle.
Palu - penalty (no card) against Palu for a straightforward high tackle. I do think he made an attempt to wrap Kearney, which is all he's obliged to do.
Banahan - yellow against Bergamasco for "simulation". Perfect tackle by Banners.

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Hry November 21, 2011 12:49 am

God I'm sick of commentators whinging about this. You lift a player in the tackle, you take the risk of a red card; what is so difficult to understand in that? How often do you see the best tacklers in the game (McCaw/Pocock/old Chabal/old Lima) take players off their feet? Virtually never, because they're aware of the risks involved. The rule is not changing any time soon, and rightly so for the safety of players, get used to it.

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BuzzKillington November 21, 2011 12:41 pm

Hmmmmmmmmm. Chabal picks players up off their feet all the time, it's almost his trademark

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Sankeor November 21, 2011 10:52 pm

Indeed (but he usually does it well).
I am surprised Hry did not mention Thierry Dussautoir, who succeeded to Serge Betsen as France's defensive champion.
In my opinion he is the best tackler since 2007 and his record against the Blacks in Cardiff (38 tackles, 100%).

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UHtiger November 21, 2011 6:51 am

Theatrics are starting to creep into the game. More and more players are laying down when not hurt to draw a penalty and now when anything happens the whole team stops what they are doing to appeal one as well. Starting to look more and more like soccer everyday.

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stroudos November 21, 2011 9:42 am

Absolutely. Simulation and aggressive appealing to the ref are a plague and really must be stamped out urgently if rugby is to avoid being ruined the way football has suffered.

Obviously the lying down when not hurt part doesn't apply here! - I seriously think Hewitt should have been penalised for playing on after being held in the tackle - but the way all his team-mates immediately start screaming at the ref is symptomatic of a wider poison creeping into the game.

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stroudos November 21, 2011 9:37 am

The rule is not changing any time soon, and rightly so for the safety of players, get used to it.

Well that's precisely the point though isn't it. The interpretation of this law has changed siginificantly and relatively recently too. The IRB directives urging red cards to be shown for tip tackles have been issued only in the last 12 months. Admittedly, professionals must be aware of this and have to adapt behaviour accordingly, but this change in interpretation does require big changes in technique and mental approach to the tackle area. Not easy to do, when many of these players have been used to driving people head/shoulders first into the ground for years.

I'm not saying it's right and neither am I trying to play the tough guy, but I'd say as recently as about 2005-06 this Shingler tackle would have been celebrated as a great tackle from a young player.

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rugby08 November 21, 2011 1:50 pm

There's way too much focus on these tackles now. Why isn't there a red card every time someone tackles someone in the air? Smells of hypocrisy to me.

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mise November 21, 2011 3:14 pm

i dont think the player was being especially theatrical - just trying to get out of the tackle and TBF he got straight up and went into attack. Didn't have to, could have laid down to guarantee the sending off.

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armchairref November 21, 2011 7:55 pm

Agree 100% with BuzzKillington. The man practically speared himself by leaping in the air in an attempt to come down on his own ear. Difficult to see in real time though. Too much play acting creeping in and crying foul and trying to influence the ref.

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Sankeor November 21, 2011 11:07 pm

No, the man did not spear himself, the tackler just made a spear tackle and that's the result anyway. That's not because he twisted himself in the air that he is responsible with such a bad landing.
To prove you what I'm saying I'll show you this (this debate reminded me of this ad) :
Number 14 (E.Ntamack) perfectly executes this twist, allowing his partners to play quickly after him. That's part of the game, good players always do it !

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Glyn Lewis November 21, 2011 9:50 pm

I'd be interested to hear Sam Warburton's opinion on the tackle . . .

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krip November 22, 2011 12:29 pm

They should ban forever those comentators...
This is a possible neck breaker! And yes you CAN control it anytime anywhere. These guys are professionals for that reason. No excuse!

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NeilT November 22, 2011 3:41 pm

I think that referees should treat these kind of tackes in the exact same way that football referees treat two footed tackes. Straight red cards every time.

I know people will moan about football references being made here but there are distinct parallels between the two offences.

Just because the carrier hasn't been hurt, it doesn't mean that the tackle is fair. It's a very dangerous way to tackle.

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rugby08 November 22, 2011 7:10 pm

Do you think players tackled in the air should be red carded?

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NeilT November 23, 2011 3:57 pm

With tackling in the air, I think it varies. If a player has a tendency to try jump over or into tackles, the referee should show leniency, as the tackler is already committed.

With tackling a player in the air as they have jumped for an up and under, I'd see no problem in a red if it was deliberate. But sometimes I feel referees mistake clashes in the air with tackling in the air.

Don't get me wrong, I love the physicality of rugby and wouldn't want to see that lost in any way, but people need to see the very thin line between physical and dangerous.

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Pretzel November 22, 2011 11:26 pm

I can't really reply to individuals, but from reading a number of posts there is a comment or two about how Hewitt got straight back up........

This does not = leniency on the tackle...

Tackles cannot be judged (although I suppose they sometimes are) on the final outcome.

I personally thought Tuquiri's spear on McCaw many years ago was one of the nastiest I have seen, (in terms of where mccaws head is) but from what I gather mccaw played on (after wriggling on the ground for a bit)... yet it look potentially neck breaking (more so than this tackle or Warburtons tackle..and many others)

I think there has to be some CLEAR definitions of when a red should be given for such a tackle, and if so send the referee's to a training session to get them all on the same page... (idk, have a player tackle and spear tackle "dummies" and TELL the referee's what should be issued for each tackle;- ranging from nothing to a red).

Could there also be some sort of directive which means before a referee issues a card he must consult with the touchies? Even if he ignored their advice (which he would be allowed to do) it would be on record that "something" was said.

As for this tackle.... meh, it didn't look bad as Hewitt did get straight up, but if we are going to be consistent I'll go with red..

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Promin42 November 23, 2011 8:29 am

Have tip or spear tackles always been an instant red card offence and has anybody got any stats on the number of serious injuries resulting from tip or spear tackles as opposed to regulare "legal" mean's of tackling?

Personally I think tip tackles should be a penalty or yellow for a repeat offence and spear tackles a red. The ban's being imposed are too long. inconsistant with other offences and don't reflect the spirity of rugby.

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stroudos November 23, 2011 11:46 am

Absolutely agree. I'm not aware of any documented instance of serious injury resulting from a "tip" or "dump" tackle. Spear tackles are different - I make the distinction that in a spear tackle there is a deliberate downward movement by the tackler.

You're right that the punishment of these tackles has got out of hand. It's right that player safety is protected but all rugby players and fans love a big tackle - for many of us it's the main thing that attracts us to the game.

Imagine if the current laws had existed during Jonny Wilkinson's prime. A young player with a reputation for tackling well above his weight would have spent more time in front of the disciplinary committee than he did on the pitch - this example is representative:
And, by the way, Bishop wasn't hurt in this tackle, any more than Clerc in the RWC or Hewitt on this post were.

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angus May 14, 2012 9:44 pm

hi the law has been for ages if u have him on the horizontal and does not return to ground safly it is a red

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stroudos November 23, 2011 12:28 pm

Have tip or spear tackles always been an instant red card offence
No, they haven't, which I think is why many players (even the younger ones) are still struggling to adapt.

The IRB ordered refs to clamp down on spear tackles after the O'Driscoll incident on the 2005 Lions tour. I would argue that that wasn't even a spear tackle, it was an off-the-ball assault - but that may open up an unwelcome can of worms.

Either way, this incident played a major part in leading to the 2007 IRB ruling which said that "tackles involving a player being lifted off the ground and tipped horizontally and were then either forced or dropped to the ground are illegal and constitute dangerous play".

In June 2009, the IRB introduced a new directive that sought to emphasise that these tackles "must be dealt with severely by referees and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary process."

I understand that there was another IRB directive just before the 2011 world cup reminding refs that they really had to clamp down on these tackles. Which is why Rolland really had no choice in sending off Warburton and why the disciplinary committees increased sanctions against tacklers who hadn't been penalised as severely during the game itself.

So all relatively recent changes and a quite short amount of time for players to adapt to what is effectively a complete overhaul of tackle laws. Having said that, professional teams and coaches have been aware of all of this, so they should be able to adapt.

The problem, I think, is that the laws are being made and implemented by people who don't actually play the game; and the people who actually play the game don't want these laws, or at least don't want such dogmatic interpretation.

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GJR November 29, 2011 6:23 pm

Love that Tom Shanklin appears at the 8.40 point. Thanks for sharing - as a Welsh boy living in the US it made me very nostalgic for home.

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roj December 08, 2011 10:50 pm

as someone who knows shingler personally, he is the least malicious person ever. i agree by the letter of the law it is a red card. but something has to change, the commentator says it all.

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angus May 14, 2012 9:41 pm

my dad is a ref and tought me everything def a red

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