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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Alesana Tuilagi and Tom Wood red carded following touchline brawl

Two players were red carded in the first half of a fiery Aviva Premiership clash between rivals Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints yesterday. The Tigers won the match 30-25 in a game that had many talking points.

As you can see in the video below, powerful wing Alesana Tuilagi bumped off Chris Ashton before the England winger tracked back, caught him, and dragged him by his hair, sparking a touchline brawl that resulted in both Tuilagi and Tom Wood being sent off.

"You have to be a little bit careful, Ashton dropped a shoulder into Geordan Murphy after a kick and the tackle on Alesana, he's dragged him by his hair into touch," said Leicester's Richard Cockerill.

"I don't think there was a lot going on involving Alesana at all and he got the red card, we'll have to take a look and review it. He could miss Europe next week, which is massive for us on a massive call from the referee - Alesana hasn't thrown a punch, so what's he been sent off for?

"It's disappointing because I think the game was spoilt from that point. I've not seen all the angles but a yellow card for whoever they wanted to blame is enough there," he added.

Referee Wayne Barnes looked determined to get a stamp on the game, particularly after the way he handled last year's fixture. On that occasion it was Ashton and Manu Tuilagi who came to blows, and this time Barnes made sure the colour of the cards was red, despite having a few options.

"The sendings-off I thought were much to do with the rivalry, the lads were up for it - I thought yellow cards and settle it down would probably have been a better decision there," said Saints coach Jim Mallinder, who wasn't pleased with the officials for the call at after the winning try either.

Below are the match highlights, which feature the incident at the beginning of the clip

Posted by Rugbydump at 9:41 am | View Comments (109)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 109 comments

johndoe December 04, 2011 2:08 pm

Some players were very lucky to be on the pitch. I saw 3 Leicester (Tuilagi 1, Agulla 1, Murphy 2) players throw punches and 2 Northampton (Lawes 1, Woods 2) players. Murphy was very lucky to stay on the field. Tuilagi didn't really connect and Agulla's looked more like a lazy slap. Woods and Murphy were the worst offenders though. I found it funny how Murphy started pulling people away from the fight to hide what he'd done and spoke to the referee after as if he wasn't involved.

And absolutely petty and pathetic by Ashton. Pulling a man by his hair? Ashton needs to grow some balls and learn how to tackle. When he set up the try, he started jumping and screaming at the two Leicester defenders on the ground. Funny thing is that he let in two tries and cost Northampton the game for the second time in three weeks. The guy is pathetic and I have no idea why he thinks he can act that way, particularly after losing causing the loss of a game for a second time.

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patedelievre December 04, 2011 4:14 pm

there's always been something between A. Tuilagi and Chris-the Prick-Ashton.
such a shame to pull him by the hair... Ashton and Lawes are good, but they should be banned from the England Squad for their bad spirits and temper. England have enough good players to get shot of guys like them, together with Tuilagi.
If England are to remain something of an example on the pitch, it comes with fair play, and they're losing it...both 3 are excellent players and would certainly not be replaced by equal players, but the negative impact they have on the team (such a pathetic WC campaign) proves that being shot of them would certainly be a great asset for the rest of the team. I tend to disagree with the idea that the team should put up with thugs just because they are good. might be okay in other sports, but rugby's way too much of a team-oriented game to let these guys in.

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Full Back December 05, 2011 5:28 pm

From my point of view Woods ran in throwing low digs (for those of you who didn't see him throw punches look again). Murphy ran in to pull him out and Woods then turned and swung first elbow, then fist at Murphy, Murphy threw two punches back (wrong by the rules but understandable as a player in that situation) and then continues to pull out players as he was doing beforehand (not to hide what he did).
He then talks to the ref as he is the Captain..."as if he wasn't involved"...what was he supposed to do? Say "hey I know I'm the captain but I threw a few punches myself there, not sure I should talk to you"....That he was the worst offender is far from my opinion but hey, everyone has a right to their point of view.

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rugby08 December 04, 2011 2:09 pm

Should have been a red for Geordan Murphy and a yellow for Chris Ashton.

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johndoe December 04, 2011 2:10 pm

And I was very happy to see a bit of passion in a match. I know fighting shouldn't be encouraged, but it really adds an extra dimension to a game. Great stuff.

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The Claw December 04, 2011 2:16 pm

Can someone please drag that spammer ^^ out by the hair & give him a few punches instead?

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Tanora December 04, 2011 2:16 pm

Ashton, you scummy little shit.

I can't be bothered picking out who deserved cards and of what colour there, I just know that Ashton deserved to get flattened and I hope there's some way of banning him now. Yuck.

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The Claw December 04, 2011 2:19 pm

I for one cannot wait for the next Alesana Tuilagi tackle on Ashton... CRUNCH

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NeilT December 04, 2011 2:19 pm

Still can't see the punches from Wood! (And by the way, I'm not doubting that he threw some!)

Can't see how Richard Cockerill can defend Tuilagi here, even though he was provoked, he still threw punches! Should have been a further red for Murphy and possibly Lawes. Ashton should have got a yellow also.

Also, spare a thought for the poor lad from ESPN with the microphone! More than likely caught a few wild arms! I reckon he needed to change his pants at half time!

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Yannoche December 04, 2011 2:25 pm

Arg, the only one to pity is the sound technician, being crushed by the pack of both teams! Poor guy, wrong place at the wrong time!

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sithepie December 04, 2011 2:26 pm

Should have been one card there, to Chris Ashton. Disgusting to tackle by the hair, I hope he gets cited/ smashed into next week by Tuilagi in a different game.

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Ash December 04, 2011 2:41 pm

Ball boy its meant to say

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TrailblazingScot December 04, 2011 3:35 pm

I agree with sithepie, only one red card was to Chris Ashton. After last year you'd have thought he'd be wary of provoking a Tuilagi.

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JR December 04, 2011 3:57 pm

Ashton behaves like a spoilt child - pouting when things go against and a blowhard when things go with. I truly hope he is cited and suspended for the hair drag. I was also shocked that no one spotted Murphy's takeout of Ben Foden on the last Leicester try in the moment. Two bad incidents that marred an otherwise great match.

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Colo December 04, 2011 4:13 pm

I don´t understand how can some guys say that Ashton should only get a yellow card. He is the one that started the hole deal by pulling Tuilagi out of the park by the hair, not a very manly thing to do. Then say that Tuilagi´s fellow players reaction were out of proportion. Guys like Ashton are spoiling the game by provoking opposition all the time. Even though brawls are no good for the game, I think guys like Ashton should get his ass kicked since he´s allways looking for it!

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M December 04, 2011 4:40 pm

When Brian O'driscoll does it it's hilarious. When Chris Ashton does it he's a rat and deserves a ban!! You people and your double standards!!

Seriously??!! you're all worked up about Chris Ashton pulling Tuilagi's hair??!! maximum for hair pulling is a penalty, yet you guys are "disgusted"? Geordan Murphy tackling Ben Foden off the ball, and it had cost the saints the match btw, is worth at least a yellow card, yet no-one is complaining about that??!! If you guys find hair pulling despicable, why weren't you mad at Brain O'Driscoll when he did it? Same action, different reaction...Here's the link:

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Pretzel December 04, 2011 5:20 pm

Who said BOD doing it was hilarious? I clicked on your link, I read the YouTube comments, no one seemed to mention the hilarity of it....other thatn the Aussie commentators that is!

I think it's a pretty poor way to tackle but I think those offended should take comfort in the fact that someone is going to tear Mr Ashton a new one sometime soon!

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M December 04, 2011 5:52 pm

no-one was "mortified" by it either, and people are more likely to comment on something they hate rather than something they like as shown here. 3 comments and all backing Brian O'Driscoll yet all the comments about this incident are ripping Chris Ashton to shreads, why is that? I don't care if one is way more annoying than the other, IT IS THE EXACT SAME ACTION yet people's opinions are at 2 extremes!!! no-one asked for BOD's head so why should you take Chris's??
BTW i found both incidents HILARIOUS, because men pulling each others' hair is not a "manly" thing and it's funny when players do "unmanly" things.
Also, if Chris had done it to another player with a dreadlock there is a high chance that nothing would come of it other than a penalty. the Tuilagi brothers are VERY volatile when things don't go their way or when someone stand up to them, so the whole thing was blown out of proportion for a hair tug.

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johndoe December 04, 2011 6:10 pm

Who said it's hilarious? And how long ago was that? It's not as if he did it this weekend... besides, that was BOD flailing around trying to grab anything he can. Tuilagi was down on the ground on his hands and knees and Ashton had him at his mercy. He could have gone for the ball or easily grabbed anything but his hair, but he drags him out by his hair. BOD's was shitty tackling after being beaten by the runner. Ashton purposely went for Tuilagi's hair while he was in a vulnerable position and while there were other less pathetic options open to Ashton. Also, Ashton was shouting at Leicester players on the ground after he set up a try and he cost Northampton two tries. He is a terrible player, with a bad attitude who made a very bitchy move. Not at all the same as BOD.

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M December 04, 2011 6:49 pm

1) rules aren't week-dependent and 7 years isn't long ago, same rules apply.
2) Chris's hair tug started before tuilagi was on the floor, actually tuilagi was on floor because of the hair tug.
3) it's very hard to stop an action that has already been started, you write as if Chris had time to think of a new action, and we all know he's not that smart to think very quickly, the WHOLE thing lasted 3 SECONDS, he pulled his hair before tuilagi was down and at the time he was on floor it was still the only thing he could grab on effectively to move tuilagi out of touch. Other actions required time and he didn't have time because Agulla was very close.
4) as i wrote before i don't care who's more annoying than the other, same action SHOULD be treated with the same response.

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johndoe December 04, 2011 7:15 pm

1) I didn't say they were week dependent. But you are making a point about people not criticising BOD. It happened 7 years ago. 1) Get over it 2) People might not remember a minor event which happened 7 years ago, which is a long time. I mean, BOD was 25 back then. 7 seasons is a fairly long time in rugby. 3) The incident isn't really comparable.

2) Firstly, it would have been easier to go for Tuilagi's legs. Even if it wasn't easier, you don't purposely go for a player's hair. Secondly, after Ashton drags him down by his hair, he continues to drag him out of play by his hair. He could have stopped but he didn't.

3) Personally, I think that's bullshit and you are just making excuses. But I can't tell what was going through Ashton's head and neither can you. All I know is that from the day kids start playing rugby they are taught to tackle the waist / leg area. They are never taught to go for a man's hair. Not only this, Ashton could have easily dragged him out by the jersey after he got him down. He had time (although minimal time would be required and if he had grabbed the ball, time would not even have been an issue), momentum was with him, the nearest players to him were Dickson and Lawes, not Agulla, and he even paused momentarily before he dragged him further. Either way, time or not, it was a pathetic move. Players are shoved / pulled into touch all the time without being dragged by the hair, even if pulling a player by the hair would be easier / quicker it isn't done because it is a bitch move.

4) The initial pulling of the hair was slightly different between the two incidents and BOD did not continue and drag the player around by his hair. And BOD does not taunt opponents and BOD can defend.

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M December 05, 2011 7:35 am

1) even if it's 7 years ago people who have a strong feeling about hair pulling should have the same response to both incidents, yet they don't. And that's what annoys me. I don't mind both incidents to "get over one" but I do mind people here who say Chris is a jerk for doing it and should be banned or whatever yet no-one wants to comment negatively on BOD doing it. To me that's hypocritical.
2) if you watch the video carefully, you would see that Chris goes for the waist first but Tuilagi was able get away so Chris tried to tackle him a second time but this time he went high because going low didn't work the first time. He tries to grip him and was able to grip his hair. If pulling hair was the only way for him to stop Tuilagi from scoring then no player would hesitate to do it.
3) AGAIN if you watch the video, Dickson and Lawes weren't committed to tackling Tuilagi into touch. It took Chris 3 seconds to put tuilagi into touch, 1 second to tackle him to the ground from the shoulders with a grip on the hair, 1 second of gripping his hair only and 1 second of gripping his hair and armpits (slow-motion makes it longer and more sinister) and I'm not making excuses, 3 seconds are not enough to change position add to that he's dragging him in a backward motion which is harder to do. Kids are taught in an ideal situation where they have time and stationary target. Chris did just that at the beginning and failed miserably so he tried desperately to cling onto something to stop him from scoring.
4) How many times should I write that I DON'T GIVE A SHIT who's way more annoying than the other, same action SHOULD garner same response. A lot of players are worse than Ashton yet they don't get a hate campaign. If I remember clearly BOD was a bit feisty when he was at Chris's age but he learned and matured, can't people just wish he matures and focuses on his talent rather than blast him for every mistake he does? No-one is perfect and you people should keep that in mind.

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Pretzel December 05, 2011 8:26 am

No one comments about BOD because it happened 7 years ago!!!! I.e it was probably posted on RD 7 years ago (if RD was even around then). Do you expect us to see an incident on the rugby pitch then search for hours on end for all similar activity, then make an overall comment on EVERY single video?

Let's not forget how people's attitudes have changed, 7 years ago I'd expect this punch up to be viewed with a "handbags, get on with the game" stance, nowadays it is red card worthy to many people!

I expect to see you dragging up videos of players spear tackling with no punishment the next time we see a red card spear and people saying "deserved the red".

What do you propose we do? I have already said both hair pulling acts are lame, do you want me to make a YouTube comment to back it up?

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M December 05, 2011 10:16 am

actually the video was uploaded 3 months ago, and i didn't search for it purposely for this topic. I saw the BOD incident way before this happened, therefore I was easily reminded by it during this incident. Because the video was uploaded recently I'd expect people's "attitude" to still be the same.
I don't expect you to "search" for something but if you SAW something quite similar to a discussed topic wouldn't you bring it forward to see people's reaction to it? personally I would, and this my first time commenting on a topic here because I'm sick and tired of people's over reaction to this incident. Asking for Chris Ashton to be red-carded or worse banned, seriously?? This not soccer for people to react extremely to a hair pull, but rugby fans here a slowly morphing into soccer fanatics.

I'll leave the anti-spear tackle campaign to anyone who's still incensed by the whole Tana BOD issue. For me, if a player can still resume playing without any apparent injury then a penalty is the maximum punishment, if a player has some minor injury but can still play then a yellow and if a player is in visible pain and can't continue playing then a red and maybe a ban depending how severe the injury is. Does that solve the spear tackle issue?

What do I propose you do? well for starters, stop getting infuriated by minor things. I don't find hair pulling in a rugby field warrants a red card or a ban and I don't get how people see it as such. If a rugby player has a long hair then he should expect that sooner or later someone would use in a tackle.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 11:55 am

1) As I said, they are not comparable incidents. And BOD's "tackle" was 7 years ago. It doesn't matter if the video was uploaded 3 years ago, not everyone will have watched the video.

2) He failed in his first attempt at a tackle and so purposefully went for Tuilagi's hair the second time. When he got him to the floor, he dragged him out by his hair.

3) They were closer than Agulla and the other Leicester player.

4) Keep writing it because you seem to be missing the point. Different actions and different circumstances will of course be met with different attitudes, hence the negative comments towards Ashton and very few toward BOD.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 12:09 pm

By the way, why do you keep bringing up BOD? Yes he was feisty, but he taunt specific players after scoring, he didn't shout taunts at players on the ground after setting up tries, etc. So if you want to keep talking about BOD fair enough, I don't really understand why you want to though.

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M December 05, 2011 3:44 pm

1) 3 MONTHS, fairly recent don't you think?
2) you would go for anything to prevent a player from scoring and hair pulling is not in the law book so it's down to the referee's interpretation, I think Wayne Barnes and the others saw it as legal, because a) he didn't blow his whistle when it happened and b) non of the officials felt that Chris needed a talking to for pulling tuilagi's hair and eventually starting the whole thing. Chris was right in front of the touch judge so they can't claim they didn't see it.
3) yet they weren't doing anything, so he had to do it all by himself.
4) hair pulling is the same action

I keep bringing up BOD because a) they both had a hair pulling incident and b) he's a proof that a player can change his attitude and mature within time. So instead of berating every single thing he does, can people give Chris some time and space to mature and to focus on his rugby? or is it an English thing, to hound and criticize every single mistake an up and coming player does?

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johndoe December 05, 2011 8:17 pm

1) The video is recent. The incident is not.

2) No I wouldn't. And professionals don't purposely target a man's hair in this situation either, except Ashton. And hair pulling is not specifically mentioned in the rules, but it would be breaking these rules:

10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.
Sanction: Penalty kick

10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
Sanction: Penalty kick

A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick

It is illegal. You could argue about 10.4 (m) as it is more open to interpretation but 10.4 (e) is not. It is quite clear. And the same touch judges somehow missed Murphy taking out Foden for the try, they missed Murphy throwing haymakers, they quite a bit actually.

3) You mentioned Agulla being near so Ashton had to drag him out. He wasn't doing anything either. I am just pointing out that Lawes and Dickson were closer.

4) Well, it wasn't really the same action. Fair enough, I won't bother arguing over the initial hair pull even though BOD's is quite clearly different. What you can't argue is that BOD did not continue to drag Smith around by his hair.

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 8:38 am

It doesn't matter That it was uploaded 3 months ago, it was an old incident. If you hear something about a game on Saturday then you search for it online if it's not in RD. if it IS on RD then the buck stops there an I don't spend time "googling". So my point is "how were we supposed to know it was on YouTube?" You comment a if we all frequently watch BOD incidents and know them clearly, when I honestly think the firs time I've seen that is when you posted it, AND I am saying both incidents are not highlights in either players career, so where do you keeping getting the idea that we all want to bum lick BOD for his effort yet hang Ashton for his?!?!?!

Fact still remains that if RD uploaded that video tomorrow you'd have a million "hate BOD" comments going up anyway, so what are you trying to achieve? Anyone who has been on RD for long enough is well aware of the vendetta against BOD that many users have...I personally think the guy is a great player, however this incident is a shame, much like Tana is brilliant and his indiscretion regarding BOD was a shame, but life goes on...

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Rich_W December 05, 2011 4:06 pm

"Slip up? You don't slip up. That would be defying gravity. You would have to pull yourself up." - You can slip along any negative gradient, be that a GPE gradient (gravity) or simply the difference in girth between shoulders and head. Try it for yourself, put an elastic band around the shoulder of a wine bottle. Lo and behold!! the elastic band will 'defy gravity' and move upwards to the thin neck of the bottle.

Also, you said "But I can't tell what was going through Ashton's head and neither can you" - Very true, agree with you 100%. So how can you say he purposefully went for the hair. You just contradicted yourself.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 8:40 pm

Good to know you understand a bit about gravity, I think you're missing the point though. I'm not trying to discuss gravity or anything. Still not sure how you think Ashton "slipped" up though. Doesn't really make sense. Anyway, it's pretty clear he grabs his hair with one hand and his shoulder with the other (unless you're an Ashton fan, of course).

Not really... I don't know what was going through Geordan Murphy's head when he started throwing punches, but I know he did it on purpose. I see your logic, but use a bit of common sense as well.

I can say he went for the hair for the reasons I wrote before. Did you not read them? It wasn't exactly a long paragraph man:

"I get "purposefully going for the hair" because he had to move closer to Tuilagi to grab him by the hair. Ashton waited until he was close enough to pull him by his hair before he made his move. The higher up you are tackling, the closer you have to be to a player. He could have tackled the man sooner by going for his legs. He could easily have grabbed him by the arm, shoulders, jersey (I'm not sure why, but Tuilagi's jersey is baggier than most backs'). And then dragging him out by his hair was unnecessary and cowardly. Again, he could have gone for any other part of him as almost every other professional player does in these situations."

Even if you forget about the initial pulling of his hair, I don't really see how dragging him out on his hands and knees by his hair could be accidental. You'd have to be a blind Northampton fan to think that.

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Rich_W December 05, 2011 11:01 pm

The only part of all your comments I really disagree with is the 'purposefully going for the hair'. I read all of your comment, and disagree with your logic. Sure he tackles high, no doubt about that. He probably could have chopped his legs, true. But you quite often see tacklers going for the chest/shoulders when tracking back. I put this down to attempting to stop the offload, could also be that when tackling a running man from behind around the legs you are liable to cop a boot in the face.

Either way, he tackles high, ends up having hold of Tuilagi by the hair and the proceeds to drag him out of play. Like I said before I wouldn't care if I had hold of someone's hair in that situation, I would just want to get them into touch.

But, at the end of the day, neither of us know what he was thinking. So we can blabber on until the cows come home about how we interpret the video. I just like to give people the benefit of the doubt, regardless of team/nationality/notoriety.
(g. murphy included). It was dealt with by the ref at the time.

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Pretzel December 04, 2011 7:26 pm

Fact is I don't remember the bod incident being on RD maybe I wasn't on RD when it happened, but remember the amount of traffic that pours through here, there is bound to be more comments on RD now than 7 years ago... And how do you determine "tough motherfucker" is a pro BOD comment...?!?!?

Heck I'm all for just getting on with the game and not getting caught up with "ban him for life" requests, but the argument you put forward which in someways takes a stance that we all want to kiss BOD for what he did, is just wrong.... Really both of the efforts are a bit Nancy... As are the red cards, I get worn out with reds shown for a fracus like that, did anyone see a decent connection?

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Rich_W December 04, 2011 6:54 pm

Not sure where you get purposefully going for the hair from. He tackles the shoulders and this slips up, has hold of the hair and then finally pulls him into touch with one hand in Tuilagis pit. I dont really see the issue.

Quick question for those of you who play rugby. If your pulling someone into touch, as you want/need to for the good of your team. And all you end up grabbing is hair, do you stop tackling or just carry on pulling on whatever you do have hold of to ensure the ball goes dead. For me, No1 priority in that situation is get the man in touch, I don't care what I have hold of.

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johndoe December 04, 2011 8:38 pm

Slip up? You don't slip up. That would be defying gravity. You would have to pull yourself up. But that didn't happen, he actually went straight for Tuilagi's hair. One hand is on Tuilagi's shoulder, the other is yanking his hair. I get "purposefully going for the hair" because he had to move closer to Tuilagi to grab him by the hair. Ashton waited until he was close enough to pull him by his hair before he made his move. The higher up you are tackling, the closer you have to be to a player. He could have tackled the man sooner by going for his legs. He could easily have grabbed him by the arm, shoulders, jersey (I'm not sure why, but Tuilagi's jersey is baggier than most backs'). And then dragging him out by his hair was unnecesary and cowardly. Again, he could have gone for any other part of him as almost every other professional player does in these situations.

And no, you don't pull a man by his hair. Situations like this arise all the time and there is a reason why there aren't more clips like these: because it is a cowardly move. It's like kicking a guy in the balls in a professional fight, except a slightly lower level. You just don't do it. Anyway, Ashton didn't have to pull Tuilagi out by his hair so the issue of pulling a man's hair for the good of the team doesn't really apply here. Not to mention Lawes and Dickson were the two closest players to the incident, Ashton wasn't had help right beside him and .

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Cillian December 04, 2011 4:40 pm

Very hard to pick who the cards should have been for when 10 players are involved, that's why they all run in. Based on last years game you can see why Barnes gave reds. The players only have themselves to blame.
TMO in this type of incident would be usefull.
Ashton should get the ban for filthy unsporting conduct.
If Mallinder wants the top (E)RFU gig, he would should ban the player himself for 2 weeks.

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Pretzel December 04, 2011 5:13 pm

Am I the only one that thinks "just get on with the game"?
So Ashton pulled tuilagi's hair, give a penalty against him and that's it... A red card for punches?!? I get that it's in the law book, but again am I the only one that enjoyed the French club rugby punch ups? I'm not saying encourage it, maybe yellows are sufficient, but reds :/

Really I'm surprised the IRB hasn't brought out an Amber card, which means 20 mins off the pitch... Really just get on with the game... Let tuilagi tackle Ashton into next week and we'd have enjoyed 2 RD videos from this game!!

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i love bacon December 04, 2011 5:26 pm

Dunno. Nothing really wrong with what happened - you go in with punches, expect a red card. Not that I mind seeing a small punch-up here and there, but a match-stopping brawl is unnecessary.

Either way...if you've got long hair, expect it will get pulled at some point. But then if you pull someone's hair, expect to get a punch to the head and your team ought to give you some shit for a while about being a hair-pulling little girl.

Yellows could have been used here, but red works just fine, and the laws say red is justified.

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johndoe December 04, 2011 6:13 pm

Agree completely. If you've got long hair, it is going to get pulled at some point. However, I would take issue when another player purposely goes for your hair as Ashton does on this occasion. If a player is on their hands and knees as Tuilagi was, there is no need whatsoever to touch that players' hair.

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Juggernauter December 04, 2011 5:29 pm

That f*cking Ashton... Alesana should have floored him for being a cunt and a sissy.

Anyway, I just love watching the players being given the sending off and not complaining, not throwing their arms into the air, not abusing the referee... Rugby is a sport for real gentlemen, even in these money riffen pro days.

Great to see

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Frank December 04, 2011 6:01 pm

A refereering decision based in the amateur era. It was like a wild west hanging party that chose 2 out of a crowd to ensure the others were kept in order. Wayne Barnes and 2 linesman must have seen Geordan Murphy as the main provider of the afters and Courtney Lawes was not far behind. It was pathetic for the referee to get the linesman who was 65 metres away to put Tom Wood in the frame whilst the 3 main protagonist Murphy Lawes and Aguila stayed on the pitch. Barnes did a Nelson on the whole event apart from choosing the least guilty. As for Ashton I dont think he will escape the Samoan Brotherhood for very long either in the Premiership or Heineken Cup

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Canadian content December 04, 2011 7:28 pm

All the more reason to hate Ashton. Very different from bod's who was really just reacting, whereas in the replay you can see Ashton targeting alesena's hair.

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Pretzel December 04, 2011 7:28 pm

Yellows would have sufficed, and as said before would have meant Ashton would get a bruising later on in the game :)

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moddeur December 04, 2011 9:50 pm

I don't see Tuilagi landing or even attempting a single punch myself. Ashton's tackling by the hair is ugly play and deserves a yellow. The linesmen didn't see much, did he?
Sidenote: how on earth did Ashton and Manu Tuilagi get along in the England squad during the RWC?

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Bunn December 04, 2011 10:13 pm

He pulled his hair, I don't see why everyone is so angry about it? The major part of the tackle is over the shoulder and he pulls for a short time before grabbing under the armpits. Nothing dangerous, so why are people so angry. Tuilagi did carry it on, but no way a red, Wood is a little unlucky and Murphy got lucky. Ashton and Manu got along at the world cup because they are professionals.

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Guest December 04, 2011 10:40 pm

What are you talking about? Most of the force from the tackle comes from Ashton ripping his hair... And he continues pulling after that. Youre either a Northampton fan or you need glasses. And no, nothing dangerous, just petty and cowardly. And Ashton is indeed a professional rugby player but he is in no way professional in how he acts. Taunting opposition match after match? Dragging a man by the hair? Being too lazy to defend? That is not professional. And how do you know if they got on? Or are you just assuming so and stating it as fact?

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Jeff December 04, 2011 10:24 pm

I think there's too much emphasis on the officials getting everything exactly right on the spot, as if this isn't all happening in real-time, from a distance and without the benefit of a slow-motion replay. Surely they just do the best they can and let the citing commissioner clean up the rest?

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anonymous no7 December 04, 2011 10:55 pm

It's a shame we aren't talking about the match, was a good one. Could have gone either way. Did anyone see Jon Smit's yellow card this week? Possibly a Friday funny I think.

On this video I don't think any card was needed at all, although after reading all these comments with so many people angry and emotional makes me quite like Ashton, he certainly isn't boring and he has one of the best strike rates in world rugby.

Also Alesana deserved at least a yellow for his ridiculous hair. That man needs a haircut.

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johndoe December 04, 2011 11:45 pm

This video isn't about the match. It's about this particular incident hence the title and content of the video.

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anonymous no7 December 05, 2011 2:22 am

Yeah that was my point john. A good match overshadowed by a teeny bit of overexcited hugging.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 11:56 am

If you want to discuss the match, a better place would be a forum or a video f highlights of the match. It's fairly obvious what the debate is going to be about, looking at the video.

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anonymous no7 December 05, 2011 6:14 pm

Yeh exactly its such a shame we are talking about this rather than the match. The Ashton and Agulla tries were absolute peaches.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 8:25 pm

It's a shame we have people complaining when we get a nice punch up when there are plenty of place where they can discuss the match.

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anonymous no7 December 06, 2011 2:30 am

I completely agree with you, punch ups should be left to be discussed in the boxing forums.

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bnations December 04, 2011 11:39 pm

If you grow a handle on your head, you shouldn't be surprised if someone yanks it. Just sayin'.

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bnations December 04, 2011 11:39 pm

If you grow a handle on your head, you shouldn't be surprised if someone yanks it. Just sayin'.

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rugby08 December 05, 2011 2:26 pm

Exactly, if you're gonna grow hair like that expect it to be pulled now and again! lol Here come the trolls

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RedYeti December 05, 2011 1:57 am

1) Ashton should have been penalised for the hair pull.
2) Tuilagi did nothing against the laws.
3) Too many players sprinted over to single out Wood as retaliating
4) Murphy was clearly throwing lots of very obvious punches at people's backs

Conclusion: penalise Ashton, then reverse the penalty for Murphy's retaliation, red (or possibly yellow) Murphy, and maybe yellow Wood (although I can't see him actually throwing any shots). Then again I have the benefit of the replays...

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Casual Observer December 05, 2011 7:44 am

Is hair-pulling actually an offence? Without a reference to a specific Rugby law I don't think Ashton should be penalised, unless it's considered a high tackle.

As bnations (and I feel, quite rightfully said) "If you grow a handle on your head, you shouldn't be surprised if someone yanks it. Just sayin'." It isn't very much different from jersey pulling... or any other appendage.

I'm not an Ashton apologist by any means, he's dodged more bullets than he deserves but for the sake of the game, and some logic, at least suspend him for proper reasons. A bad call or citation isn't justified because the player involved is a bad egg.

Nearly everybody here is dying for the citation laws/general laws to be sorted out, and yet calling for a (so far) unfounded citation? Or how about the irony that everybody is griping about how "soft" the game is getting, and a hair tug is going overboard?

Personally I'd undo the decision on Tuilagi (though with a warning for not controlling himself), and then cite Murphy...

@Johndoe's reasons to condemn Ashton - please sort out your understanding of what matters in penalising an offender for hair-pulling. It's nothing to do with his ability to defend, or whether he talks smack, or where he was taught to tackle and should have tackled. The only thing that matters is one thing only - is hair-pulling illegal? If it is, then Chris Ashton deserves a citation. And for consistency's sake, so does BOD. If Ashton deserves it, it's not an unjust decision because BOD didn't. It only highlights how inconsistent the calls made in this game are.

The moment you start taking into account whether somebody is culpable for an offence based on how generally distasteful/how bad a person's reputation is, things are going to get worse. To that effect I believe Tuilagi suffers as a result of such bias. It's not an exact science, but God, at least try sometimes.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 12:05 pm

I didn't say "his ability to defend, or whether he talks smack, or where he was taught to tackle and should have tackled". I don't even think I said it was a penalty. I think you might be mixing up what I wrote and what others wrote. And if it is against the law, then I would penalise BOD, however, Ashton certainly took it further than BOD did. I'd need to read up on the laws though.

And I am not judging how culpable he is for this offense based on his reputation. That is irrelevant. I just think that it is pathetic to pull a man down by his hair and then to drag that man on his hands and knees by his hair.

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BuzzKillington December 05, 2011 12:27 pm

Is using a machine gun actually an offence? Without a reference to a specific Rugby law is it therefore justified?

What a silly argument.

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johndoe December 05, 2011 2:14 pm

What you wrote is a silly argument as a professional player would never do that. And, yes, it is an offence.

10.2 (a) Intentionally Offending. A player must not intentionally infringe any Law of the Game, or play unfairly. The player who intentionally offends must be either admonished, or cautioned that a send off will result if the offence or a similar offence is committed, or sent off.
Sanction: Penalty kick

10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.
Sanction: Penalty kick

10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
Sanction: Penalty kick

A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick

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BuzzKillington December 05, 2011 12:26 pm

This was ridiculously dangerous. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned but the ball-boy gets caught up in the middle of it and bashed around. He was lucky not to catch a punch himself.

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Zipwire December 05, 2011 12:57 pm

Awesome! Ashton obviously enjoyed being pummeled by Manu so much, he wanted to see if Alesana could do an even better job! And what about that poor ball boy caught up in the middle?! I bet he had to change his trousers after that...

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Matt December 05, 2011 2:08 pm

Pulling some one by the hair is a bit petty but I'm not so sure its in the rules. You can do it in rugby league.... saying that they can drop shoulders too.

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BuzzKillington December 05, 2011 5:19 pm

You can't pull people by their hair in League, I assure you. Players have been pinged for grabbing the likes of Thaiday and Idris by the hair. There was also a fight the other year after Tadulala(can't spell it) was pulled by the hair, he now plays Rugby for Gloucester I think? It's definitely illegal though

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Matt December 06, 2011 1:15 pm

Yes, sorry I got my wires crossed, it's American football that you are allowed to, which strikes me as odd becasue to me it seems as dangerous as pulling on the cage, may be not as forceful.

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LND December 05, 2011 3:32 pm

such a sham removing videos from youtube under copyright, can only be bad for the game.

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Saint Frank December 05, 2011 4:05 pm

The press hype of bitter rivalry between Northampton and Leicester doesnt exhist with the Northampton fans who are more like old style rugby supporters. The Leicester fans are much more passionate and the reality is Welford Road can be an intimidating place for fans and players. After being battered by one Tullangi last year it looked like Ashton was about to receive further retribution from his brother supported by Aguila.
It was a simple yellow card decision as it wasnt a real French type humdinger of a brawl. When Northampton played Perpignan in the Heineken Semis there was a group of Leicester fans supporting Perpignan in Leicester shirts which gives you an idea of how one eyed their fans can be.

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BuzzKillington December 05, 2011 5:23 pm

What's one eyed about supporting Perpignan over Northampton?

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anonymous no7 December 05, 2011 6:45 pm

Most people usually watch Perpignan matches with one eye on average. If anyone used both eyes I think their brains would be overwhelmed by the red yellow hazard light omelette kit thing they have going on.

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Craig December 05, 2011 5:57 pm

Ashton should be banned from rugby, he is just a cunt, his swallow dive is a disgrace and now he pulls hair like a fucking girl.

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Rich_W December 05, 2011 6:28 pm

What a well thought out post, really adding some depth and insight to the comment section. I would LOVE to hear you elaborate on why he should be banned from rugby... or maybe, I would rather you just went to youtube and spouted nonsense there.

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gnoballib December 05, 2011 7:06 pm

All the more reason to hate Ashton .

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RedYeti December 05, 2011 9:26 pm

Ashton's been cited for committing an act contrary to good sportsmanship or whatever that rule is they invoke whenever there isn't a specific offense to charge a player with. Tuilagi and Wood both cited for punching, but not Murphy...

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Matthew December 05, 2011 9:57 pm

Waiting for Murphy to be cited on the same grounds for cynical off-the-ball blocking late on ... and maybe for throwing punches too.

Oh look, a flying pig!

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mise December 05, 2011 9:46 pm

perhaps understandably, Tuilagi does immediately go for ashton. He tries to punch him, succeeds with the first one (punch into ribs, stomach area), mostly fails with the second, and after that its a melee. Tuiligi's intention to lay into Ashton is a serious part of it from the ref's perspective. he obviously just wanted to teach players a lesson, and didn't think yellow would do it. Maybe he was right in this regard? However Ashton did get away scott free, which is a pity - petty move on his part.

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Matthew December 05, 2011 10:00 pm

Perhaps Ashton got away scott free for the game in May, when he was yellow carded but shouldn't've been. Not saying he shouldn't have had a yellow here, but that decision last season might have played a part in Barnes's decision making, consciously or not.

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 8:46 am

I disagree, if you watch the may incident he shoves manu's head, whilst putting a knee in manu's back, id say that yellow was deserved...

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Matthew December 06, 2011 1:56 pm

I don't buy the knee. It's not conclusive from the video (yes, Ashton's knee bends NEAR to Tuilagi's back, and it may have made contact, but only in the action of giving a shove, as opposed to being a kneeing), and it's strange how it wasn't mentioned - especially by Cockerill, who anyone would expect to be quite vocal about such a thing - until the disciplinary hearing. It smacks to me of someone with nous looking at the video and working to minimise Tuilagi's ban.

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 7:02 pm

I disagree (once again) I made my decision regarding the knee when I first saw the incident, (well second saw it) I watched it over and over trying to stop it, and I am sure that Ashtons knee (or leg after watching again right now) is the first thing to make contact with Tuilagi... I'm not saying its worth the retaliation that came afterwards, but I know damn right if someone shoved me like that I wouldn't ignore it....

But in all honesty, I'd have stopped it all at the yellow (at the most) and wouldn't have worried about citings etc. It is all getting a little too political and "off the pitch" now...

I say get on with the game!

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Syston Boy December 07, 2011 5:56 pm

Apparently its an old rugby league trick that he learnt at wigan, i agree manu's reaction was over the top but in the case of this incident i believe that Ashton got away with metaphorical murder, he could have easily been sent off for dangerous and reckless play, but i do believe that they should have just let the game carry on with only warnings for all the players involved

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estivostin December 05, 2011 9:49 pm

Ashton is un idiot

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Colombes December 05, 2011 10:08 pm

waw seem that the northampton vs leicester derby is becoming a toulouse-stade français in term of nerves and tension.

on the incident, it's pretty clear ashton was angry for having been bumped by tuilagi and revenged on his dreadlocks. it sums up the poor mentality of the guy. he's a good runner and finisher, and i don't take pleasure to criticize him... but what a cowardice, it's not his first time.

on the cards, i understand the severe decision of Barnes, but the cards should have been given to ashton and tuilagi, you begin a fight on the pitch, you finish out

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Ronan December 05, 2011 10:53 pm

thats what happens when you have a girls hair cut!!! ha ha....

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Ben December 06, 2011 2:39 am

He shouldnt have long hair anyway in a game where players will get try and get you down to the floor by any way possible.

Fair play to Ashton to be honest as there was nothing in it.

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Pulsey December 06, 2011 2:47 am


Long hair is never useful in sport.

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Jack December 06, 2011 7:17 am

Chris Ashton, you better hope to someone/something that you never get chosen for any tours Down Under.
Tell your inept RFU to never select you for any English/Lions tours if you wish to leave Aus & NZ in one piece.
We forgave you for being an ass with Manu, he chose to play for your country so we let that slide.

NOW for the good stuff.
Anyone with a brain and that was never a pussy in League would never tackle the hair. YES Chris Ashton tackled the hair.
You say Alesana shouldn't have long hair, that is the biggest slap in the face to Islanders worldwide who grow their hair. (if you want to get racist, then do it yourself I'm not interested)
Chris Ashton just needs to tone it down a little. The emotions of the game were obviously running free but we've seen it too many times. He can't control himself.
Disciplinary action, to be fair shouldn't be levied to anyone but the people who joined in.
Anyone remember when George Smith got his hair pulled? Or Tana Umaga?
What happened after that?

Chris Ashton just needs to slow the f_ck down and learn to tackle like a man.

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 8:50 am

What a very odd comment, what ties does Aus/NZ have with Manu? Therefore why would anyone need forgiving for the Manu incident? I mean if they can go on a tour together in the world cup I'm pretty sure they have gotten over it.... So why should YOU hold a grudge??

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Jack December 06, 2011 9:06 am

Don't worry about it, you'll never understand even if I told you.

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 7:03 pm

I don't think you quite understand the real world actually....

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Jack December 06, 2011 10:24 pm

Are you the President of the Real World?
Okay. I don't understand why you want to argue my opinion, Mr. President.

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Pretzel December 07, 2011 12:44 am

Because why would Ashton ever need NZ or Aus forgiveness... let alone YOURS?

Welcome to the real world where players do react to things and are a little grubby.

No player is untouchable so why would the Tuilagi's be untouchable....

Lets not forget where they originate from...Australia?? I don't think so...

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Jack December 07, 2011 1:07 am

They originate from Samoa, Mr. President.
Where are the 2 largest Samoan Communities located in the World?
1st - NZ
2nd - Australia.

There are more Samoans there, then Samoa.

You should already understand where I'm heading with this.

You want to argue my opening statement? Go ahead, because I'm not getting phased Mr. President.

Mr. President, could you also be a Lawyer? Is that why you only argue 1 point of post and not the whole thing?

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Pretzel December 07, 2011 8:46 am

Right and I suppose there should be a lack of forgiveness to the French for their football world cup something or other years ago from the Irish.... In australia...

You do realise then perhaps you should have said Ashton needed forgiveness from the Samoans.... Then again, why? It's rugby, and I thought we all generally follow the "what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch" rule....

I only argue that one point because the rest is semi valid, Ashton did grab tuilagi's hair and I don't believe the reaction should be "get a hair cut" I think the reaction should be sorting out the incident.

Ashton can't control himself... Yes, I'd somewhat agree with that, we saw in the 6N that ROG got under his skin.

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fabmo December 06, 2011 7:19 pm

Ashton is a bitch, one of the dirtiest players in the game of this generation.

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cheyanqui December 06, 2011 9:14 pm

Ashton gets a four week ban.

Tuilagi and Wood get time served (67 minutes in the game).

Geordan Murphy, Agulla, and Lawes get the administrative equivalent of a Yellow Card.

Seems pretty fair all around. Perhaps Murphy deserved a bit more.

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sithepie December 06, 2011 9:16 pm

Ashton has since been given a 4 week ban by the RFU. I think this is fitting.

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mise December 06, 2011 9:22 pm

From the rfu link above:
"Ashton, 24, was found guilty of pulling Alesana Tuilagi by his hair and dragging him from the field of play .....The Saints wing, who denied the offence...."
denied the offence? He was accused of x and he _denied_ doing it?!?
That's a bit silly, and probably added to his ban. (read rest of info at link before u start going on about the rules btw...)

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 9:31 pm

Whats the point in the "yellow equivalent" ? is it like a mark on the record?

"This was a mid-range offence but we have reduced the sanction by two weeks based on the player’s good good record and conduct at the hearing.”

This irritates me...good conduct at the hearing?!?!?! What turned up wearing a suit, kept quiet?....hmmm

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cheyanqui December 07, 2011 3:42 am

Pretzel, I agree that "good conduct" sounds a bit silly...

Until of course Eliota Fuimano-Sapolu shows up to a hearing

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haziz December 07, 2011 11:01 am

hair pulling = 28 days (ashton)
put his open hand in the face = 20 days (Cudmore) (see video of the Nov. 8)
Where is the logic ...

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ANDY December 07, 2011 12:43 pm

Poor ball boy!

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filth December 21, 2011 7:55 am

C'mon Guys, Bring Back the Biff. You must admit, it's good to see a bit of fisty cuff now and again?

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Guest December 24, 2011 9:11 pm

Showboating tries in the 6 Nations, comments to hotel staff at RWC and now pulling hair? Ashton needs to wise up, he deserves a hefty ban

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