Jerry Collins' club perform Haka

France convincing winners over England

All Blacks fined for waterboy Messam

Hawk-Eye to make World Cup debut at RWC

James Schrader's sensational try saver

Alipate Fatafehi huge hit vs USA Eagles

Alesana Tuilagi crunches big winger!

Sensational Stepper Nehe Milner-Skudder

Sonny Bill Williams warned for big hit

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Bradley Davies & Stephen Ferris controversial tackles discussed

Wales lock Bradley Davies and Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris have been cited following their yellow cards in the classic match between the two sides on Saturday. Here's another look at the incidents, as well as an interesting post-match discussion.

Davies and Ferris will face a discplinary hearing in London tomorrow, with Davies most likely to face further punishment, and Ferris possibly just going along as part of the process.

In the case of Welsh lock Davies, his tip-tackle, or spear as some are calling it, was by all accounts malicious, and deserving of a straight red card. Wales coach Warren Gatland concurred,and you can view a snippet from his post match interview in the video below.

Both Davies and Ferris could face suspensions as the IRB aim to stamp out these type of lifting tackles, however Ireland team manager Michael Kearney believes his man is innocent. He says that Ferris has played for his country 31 times and never received a yellow card, and for Ulster has never been on the wrong side of the law.

After the game BBC's pundits had an interesting discussion about both incidents, and brought up a few talking points that could make for good debate:

Sam Warburton tackle - There's an obvious comparison between the Davies tackle and the Warburton sending off in the RWC. Keith Wood says there was maliciousness in Davies' tip-tackle, not Warburton's, but later says that intent shouldn't come into the equation.

Warren Gatland - it was good to see a coach take responsibility for one of his player's actions, rather than just brush it under the carpet and defend him, as we've seen far too often in the past.

Rugby League - Jonathan Davies makes the point that in Rugby League, where the tackle laws are far more lenient, there aren't frequent issues. He also says rugby union is becoming soft.

Different laws - Davies also brings up the point that laws should be different at Club/Test level as schoolboys don't have the explosive power that full time professionals do.

Respect the whistle - It's easy to sit back and rip into the officials. Keith Wood makes the point that we need to remember the values taught as youngters though, and once a decision is made, we should respect it.

In this area of the game particularly, the instructions are coming from above and most of the time the referee's are simply following orders. Unfortunately Dave Pearson's decription of the tip-tackle, and the lenient showing of a yellow card by Wayne Barnes, has confused the issue completely.

Both incidents and the discussion are included below. As always, it's great to hear your feedback on these topics, so if you're not Registered already, do so now and leave a comment below.

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:08 pm | View Comments (83)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 83 comments

Max February 07, 2012 10:35 pm

Bradley Davies should be Ashamed!

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Ie February 07, 2012 10:38 pm

Ferris' tackle had definite intent, which I think should be considered, and so did Bradley Davies'. I think it's easy to forget that the tacklee? too has control over his body, and that, like with Warburton's tackle, they can position themselves to make the tackle look much worse than it is. In Ferris' case, Ian Evans put his arms in front of him so he wouldn't hit the floor face-first, but with Bradley Davies' tackle Donnacha Ryan couldn't do such a thing. All in all, this is turning out to be rugby union's version of diving in football, this would seem.

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Conor February 08, 2012 2:39 pm

Said by a Welshmen anyway

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patedelievre February 09, 2012 1:49 pm

probably one of the dumbest comments ever. "the tacklee can position himself to make it look..." WTF have u ever played rugby, like, at all mate? when you're running as fast as you can, ball in hand, and get tackled in a movement that last a split second, DO YOU REALLY THINK SOMEONE has even the time to think about the ref, or anything else?
if anything, players are so mentally into their game that they'll probably only think about either keeping or passing the ball.

if the tacklee can think about making the tackle look bad -at the expense of his own safety, WHY CANNOT THE TACKLER THINK ABOUT NOT MAKING A TIP TACKLE???

bad faith can sometimes take abyssmal proportions....

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LlyrD February 07, 2012 10:43 pm

Bradley Davies made a terrible decision and it was very malicious and deserved a red card. At the same time Stephen Ferris did lift Ian Evans's leg and Evans's strength and size kept it from looking ugly. Ferris deserved the yellow and Irish supporters can't complain about that. I hope Bradley Davies gets a long ban for that ugly tackle!

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Citing Commissioner February 07, 2012 10:45 pm

Everyone is missing the main point with the first offence. It wasn't a tackle, there was no ball carrier or even ball - it was an off the ball assault, therefore red card. second offence play on - shocking decision even to award a penalty; Wayne Barnes - you wally!

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ben walker February 08, 2012 12:07 pm

spot on sir

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Lizzie February 07, 2012 10:52 pm

Bradley Davies performed a bad tackle in the heat of the moment in a tense game and should have had a red card, this happens at this level, exactly as Jonathan Davies says, and shown in the non malicious tackle by Warburton, big men with alot of power and the laws should reflect the difference at club and test level. None of these men are villians, just playing their hearts out at the top of their profession.

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Joe February 07, 2012 10:53 pm

As Bradley Davies says, professional players are and have to be strong enough to keep that from being ugly or it would become as girly as soccer and no-one should be as happy as Ian Jones was after being "fouled"

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Bob February 07, 2012 11:04 pm

Re Ferris: whether or not penalty and whether or not yellow, he should have known better than to do such a tackle in front of his own goalposts with ireland only 1 point ahead, and 2 minutes left on the clock. A nice normal tackle, and there would have been no penalty. Never give a sucker an even break...

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johndoe February 07, 2012 11:08 pm

Words of Dave Pearson: "Lifted the player off the floor, twisted him past the horizontal, and dropped him."

Words of the IRB: "The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player’s safety. A red card should be issued for this type of tackle".

Pearson obviously didn't mention "with no regards for the player's safety," but the tackle wasn't just unsafe, it was malicious. Not only that, but Ryan obviously never had the ball.

So, why was it not a red card? And how could the two tackles be deemed to deserve equal punishment. Looking at the tackle alone, the Davies tackle was much worse. Barnes and Pearson should both know what to do and Pearson saw exactly what happened so either 1) they didn't know what to do or 2) they are too afraid to make the call they should. Either way, it was some very poor officiating.

As for the Ferris tackle, that is a little more contestable but I would consider that one a yellow at worst. Preferably, just a penalty.

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iamaj8 February 07, 2012 11:09 pm

Well done Warren Gatland! From a neutral point of view that's a really impressive thing to do and something to which managers from all sports should aspire to. He was brutally honest in his analysis and has certainly earned deserved respect from many in the sporting community.

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johndoe February 07, 2012 11:11 pm

Very refreshing from Gatland as well.

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TechnoMouse February 07, 2012 11:11 pm

It will be interesting to see the outcomes of the citings for these 2 players. In my opinion, Ferris shouldn't receive any extra punishment, a yellow card at the time was sufficient (if a little harsh, but you have to appreciate the ref doesn't see all the angles we do - as Andy Nicol pointed out, in one of the angles it looks bad whereas from another it looks OK). Bradley Davies, on the other hand, could be facing a fair ban - his "tackle" was off the ball and Donnacha Ryan was almost vertical upon impact with the ground. I agree with Keith Wood regardless - "intent" shouldn't come into it, it should be a clear cut act of taking a player beyond horizontal, not whether it "seemed" like it was intentional.

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Corneau February 07, 2012 11:15 pm

What a disgrace to see a game with such potential, end on such controversial decisions. They really did decide the outcome, and to be honest, Ireland would probably have won the game had it not been for those two miscued cards... I say this as an Irish man, but have to admit that Wales on the whole, played much more exciting rugby, especially if you compare the two sets of centres from each teams... Bring back BOD!!!

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Hen66 February 07, 2012 11:36 pm

No doubt about Bradley Davies deserving a red card and a ban for the tackle way off the ball. I think a yellow for Ferris was fair strictly speaking if a bit soft. I disagree with Jonathan Davies when he says players at lower levels arent able to make these type of tackles because even I find it easy to pick up nearly all other players and Im small even for a winger, and obviously bigger players can pick me up and drop me no problem if ther want to.
I do think intent should come into the decision though. Obviously its not always easy to tell if there is intent behind a dangerous tackle but I think there are some ways. For example the Warburton tackle was clearly not intentional as momentum and his strength meant that his tackle looked more natural and I think a yellow is enough of a punishment for something that was clearly accidental. However with Davies's tackle he went from a still position, picked the player up then dropped him, all of which was at a slow speed which he could easily have controlled. Maybe a red card could still be used if intent is unclear but it seems harsh to me to send someone off just for being stronger, especially when theyre still using good technique.

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NFB February 07, 2012 11:39 pm

Regarding different rules for different levels of the game, spear tackles are just at dangerous at all age groups, all weights, all strenghths. As the parent of a schools rugby player, i want to see the message reinfourced at every level, but most especially in Internationals. I felt sorry for Sam Warbuton in the world cup, but if his red card makes an underage players refrain from upending an opponent on their neck, and saves life devastating injuries, it will have been worth it. In the present two tackles, Bradley Davies deserved red and long ban, Ferris penalty, maybe yellow, no ban.

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ricky5 February 08, 2012 12:00 am

I agree. Obviously Bradley Davies had a moment of anger even though it was a legit attempt to ruck. If the ball is just sitting there he is certainly allowed to ruck even if it has been basically won. Bradley Davies obviously a red card and I would say a appropriate ban even though it wasn't a tackle but I would give the yellow to Ferris. Obviously it wasn't intent or malicious but still the union is trying to cut down on those types of tackles and from a referee's standpoint you need to control the safety of the players and after seeing the type of tackle that Davies put on, and then seeing an Irish player raising that leg you wonder if there is still some feelings of redemption for the Davies' cheap shot which, I'll say from experience does happen. Send him off to show that anything close to that type of tackle will be a penalty. I vote good decisions

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brawnybalboa February 08, 2012 12:41 am

The answer to this whole problem is simple, the IRB need to sort out the rules regarding tip/spear tackles and this needs to be enforced consistently. By the letter of the law a tackl that results in the ball carriers legs being raised over the horizontal is illegal and deserves a yellow or red card depending on the severity. If they made it so that tip/spear tackles without intent are yellow card offences, and with intent are red card offences with the correct enforcement by referees, we would not see this problem in the game.

In regards to the whole tip tackle argument Jonathan Davies is correct. There should be a different ruling at professional level to semi-pro and amateur level. If the game can be changed for age grade rugby it can be changed for the professionals.

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Bunn February 08, 2012 12:54 am

Davies was incredibly stupid and deserves what he gets. Ferris was unlucky, Evan's other leg is on the ground almost to the point of impact and it's more like he's falling over than getting driven or dropped into the ground. The different rules? Well i've played consistently from the Under 12s to a semi-professional level and I can't think of an instance of a spear/tip tackle, so JD may have a point.

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Bunn February 08, 2012 12:54 am

Also where did this term "tip" tackle come from? It seems to have been invented in the past few years

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stroudos February 08, 2012 9:47 am

From 2009, when the IRB decided that you didn't have to drive a player downwards (ie spear tackle) to qualify for a dangerous tackle. In fact the IRB term is "lifting" tackle - "tip tackle" seems to be a journalists'/commentators' translation.

The 2009 IRB directive, reiterated just before RWC 2011, made clear that any tackle where a player is lifted, his body turned beyond horizontal and not brought to ground in complete control would qualify as a dangerous tackle.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 1:32 am

I REALLY have a massive amount of respect for Warren Gatland, the guy always comes across as an extremely well mannered and humble man. He calls it as it is and I have a great deal of respect for him, and that is WELL before he just called it on one of his own players. (I'm not a Welsh supporter!)

I feel what he did should really be an example of sports leaders. He has not said "I'll never pick BD again" but he has clearly said effectively "BD you fool, you deserved a red, count yourself lucky, take what comes to you and next time do things properly!"

Too many coaches hide behind the "well its not ballet" or "its the nature of the game" lines and in reality, its utter rubbish. So brilliant example by Gatland, I would love to buy the guy a pint!

Keith Wood, a brilliant man in my eyes and I totally understand his point about referee's decision is final, we don't want the push-me-pull-you crap of soccer players and referees, HOWEVER I think that is fine for game time, but afterwards you need to step back and say "well we respect the decision that referee made, but was it completely correct/fair/etcetcetc" and I really find a great shock that Ferris has been cited. I feel his tackle was not penalty worthy yet he has been cited! Shocking.

Is anyone else sick of this watershed rugby shit that keeps getting promoted?!?! I noticed EVERY scuffle this weekend the screen flicked to a replay of something else. All this "now mums and dads will say they don't want their little boy playing a rough game etc" IT IS A F'ING ROUGH GAME, if I have a desire to play something non rough I'll go play something non rough, but at this rate we'll have the 6 nations tag rugby competition. I am genuinely sick of that "lets make rugby pretty for the audience" argument. I have no issues with improving safety, but all this nicey nicey for parents stuff sickens me to no end!

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 1:40 am

Sorry just to add I'd like to put my opinion on the citing process:

A player does something naughty, yellow card and no citing... obviously this says to me that the player was dealt with sufficiently on the pitch.

A player does something bad, red card and no citing... again, dealt with sufficiently.

A player does something really bad, red card and a citing... says to me that they feel the highest sanction to be imposed on a rugby pitch was not sufficient enough to teach the said player a lesson, therefore imposing an out of game punishment is deemed worthy.

A player does something bad, yellow card and citing... therefore whoever watched the game felt that the yellow card was NOT sufficient enough punishment... therefore they feel extra punishment should have been added... this says to me that someone (referee etc) messed up and didn't show a red card when it was needed... so SURELY it that is saying the referee made a mistake... (however I understand they difficulty of their job!)

So in reality shouldn't the focus be on getting the referees and touch judges to dish out the right punishments? I mean nowadays touch judges are called officials... and so is the referee, so really they are edge of the pitch referees, which means they have nearly as much right to whip out a red card as the referee does, so they should surely know their stuff, so seeing what he saw, and recommending a yellow is incorrect and needs investigating...

A player named ferris does a tackle as shown in the video, receives a yellow AND a citing.... says to me I give the **** up!

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RaoulDuke February 08, 2012 2:43 pm

I agree 100% with your cents.

In the heat of the moment I can understand the penalty being given, even, at a stretch, the yellow (though I don't see anything wrong with the tackle) but being cited? That's a travesty. If Ferris misses the French game because of this, I'm looking for a new sport to follow. Any thoughts? I hear elephant polo is quite competitive at the moment...

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whelansong February 08, 2012 1:53 am

First of all , as an Irishman , I think Wales deserved to win ;having said that , the decision to give Davies a yellow card makes a mockery of the rules and we have that plank Pearson reffing us next Saturday in Paris ! Ferris's tackle might just about have deserved a yellow but I don't think it warrants any further sanction . I can't say the same for Davies; a significant ban would be justified in his case .
I wish Wales luck in their coming games , they are producing some attractive and canny Rugby .Finally 10 out of 10 for Gatland , great to see coach speak honestly , not forgetting Warburton's impressive show of character after the World Cup when he concurred with Rolland's decision to send him off.

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Judge February 08, 2012 6:04 am

Lets not congratulate Warren G too much - his mans spear tackle away from play was ridiculous - *Warren G got out his crystal ball and realised his player will definitely get banned for a few games. He therefore seized the opportunity to come out with his demagogue statement*. Warren G has a talent for this type of thing and would do well in the American presidential race :)

If anyone disagrees with the bit in between the two ** then do not respond, just know you are wrong.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 2:35 pm

I don't really see the problem with Gatland saying what he said, I think it deserves respect. I use PDV as an example (yes we all know he is an extreme) who makes a comment like "its not ballet" when his player is going to receive a ban.... it makes no odds to the length of the ban if the coach is positive or negative.

I mean its high time people became responsible for what they do, I hate football but did notice a bit about that suarez football incident where all that teams fans were still sticking up for the bloke.... WHO ADMITTED A RACIAL COMMENT...

It's not like Warren G is going to receive a truckload of money for his honesty, its not like it will extend his contract at all... it is merely a show of good character and honesty.

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stroudos February 08, 2012 10:08 am

There's a problem with the whole lifting/tip tackle being viewed as being as serious as a spear tackle in that it seems to have become accepted fact that all lifting/tip tackles have the potential to cause serious neck injury, when in actual fact thankfully that's not the case.

The spear tackle is dangerous and can result in very serious injury, (although no-one seemed to complain 10-12 years ago when a young Jonny Wilkinson was inserting players into the ground). The point is most other lifting/tip tackles are very unlikely to cause injury - in fact, I'm not aware of a single incidence of serious injury caused in this way.

It's almost become taboo to defend hard tackling - look at how Inverdale and Nichol get onto Jonathan Davies when he suggests the game's getting soft - 5:15 onward:

Inverdale: "without being silly, it only takes one high-profile neck injury..." When Davies asks for an example, Inverdale comes up with Matt Hampson - whose tragic injury came during a scrum, not a tackle. I hope no-one will think I'm being frivolous in suggesting that it was very unlikely anyone was going to tip-tackle a guy his size!

Nichol: "Thom Evans is living proof that broken necks can happen in tackles not nearly as serious as that". Again, I don't want to appear unsympathetic to the bloke's misfortune, by his own admission Evans broke his neck through getting his head into the wrong position taking the ball into contact, there wasn't even really a tackle involved, let alone a tip tackle.

I actually think it was quite disingenous of Inverdale and Nichol to quote these very emotive incidents in a discussion of a completely unrelated topic. They're essentially strawman arguments, because no-one's going to argue with them when you're talking about serious injury to two really decent blokes, but the fact is both examples are wholly irrelevant to the subject of lifting tackles.

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gelly99 February 08, 2012 10:53 am

tana umagas and kev mealamus "tackle" on brian o'driscoll, Christchurch in June 2005

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stroudos February 08, 2012 11:06 am

Tempted not to reply because once that incident comes up, discussions tend to descend rapidly into the ridiculous.

However, the fact you've put "tackle" in inverted commas perfectly reinforces my point.

That was not a tackle, it was off-the-ball clearing out at a ruck. It was certainly very far removed from what would be described as a lifting tackle, such as Ferris's the other day.

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Citing Commissioner February 08, 2012 1:01 pm

I 100% agree with you stroudos. I remember playing a few years ago and nobody batting an eyelid at what would now be tackles receiving at least a yellow card, nobody ever got injured. The there was the BOD incident and there was a lot of fuss, things calmed down a bit; then a citing body was brought in, a lot of the time they were bored as they had nothing to do so started picking up players on smaller items. Stuart Barnes makes a big fuss on Sky every time something that causes some backs to wave their arms in the air happens. Now the game is getting silly. Remember Tindall's tackles on Gregan in the RWC final, nowadays that would be worthy of a 6 week ban, at the time everyone loved it. Davies, only a little man, is completely right - the game is getting soft.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 2:47 pm

I know what you're trying to say stroudos but could I pose some sort of questioning comments...

We always talk about "what used to be" etc, and I am the first to get riled up with the second yellow card in the game, that guy could have been playing for Japan for all I care and I'd still say it wasn't penalty worthy. However could it maybe be that there wasn't the size "back in the day" that there is now... Jonathan Davies said that schoolboys don't have the explosive power to tackle like that, well look at international rugby 20-30 years ago... I'm not saying the guys were weak but they weren't far off schoolboy build really... nowadays we have HUGE players. It was only a handful of years ago when Scotland ended the season looking average, only to start the next season looking like man mountains.. and I wonder if perhaps we have not yet experienced a SERIOUS tackle injury because the weight or power has not yet been behind it?!?

I know it is a huge amount of ifs and buts but is the alternative to wait for a serious injury (perhaps forever as one may not occur) in order to be more stringent in the laws...?

I also think unfortunately due to professionalism the laws have to be so exact. In the days gone (even the last 5 years or so) we all knew when we did something wrong, and if we got a punch in the chops for it then we fought back but knew we deserved it. I feel nowadays things become so "well ok, the rule says if they lift the player off the ground, but look at ferris' tackle, the player still had ONE foot on the ground, therefore he is not off the ground therefore it cant be worthy of this and that" (you see what i mean?!?)

I'm not saying ferris tackle was dangerous but teams like to work all the angles and loop holes they can nowadays in order to avoid ANY types of sanctions when quite clearly they know their player did wrong!! I mean the laws really have to specify "with no regards for the players safety" ?!?! BD might have regarded DRs safety.....

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Cluainoir February 09, 2012 6:43 pm

How about the injury to Brian O'Driscoll after being spear tackled during the Loins tour to New Zealand? He was out of the game for 3 months and was lucky it wasn't career threatening>

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stroudos February 10, 2012 10:56 am

Someone beat you to it and I replied - see above Feb 8, 11:06am.

That was not a tackle, it was off-the-ball clearing out/assault at a ruck - along lines of Brad Davies's action last weekend.

The Umaga/Mealamu thing was certainly very far removed from what would be described as a lifting or tip tackle, which is how Ferris's might be defined.

Apart from that, the "Loins tour" sounds like one I'd like to be involved in.

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moddeur February 08, 2012 10:45 am

Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with the Ferris tackle. The Davies one however was brutal and dangerous and probably deserved a red. It came from a ruck, so the "Ryan didn't have the ball" is not very relevant.
I guess Davies wanted to be an executioner of sorts (Ryan comes in on the side, while pretending to enter through the door, slams shoulder first into Adams, and then starts pretending to "ruck" ... I guess Davies thought: "ok, enough of this" and expressed himself the wrong way).
I think Barnes shares a part of responsability here, if he had blown the whistle in the first 10 minutes of the game, like Kaplan would, against all ruck infringements on both sides, we wouldn't have seen exagerated rucking attempts past the 60th minute.

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stroudos February 08, 2012 11:27 am

Moddeur, as always it would seem, I agree with you, particularly on the point that Barnes didn't exert enough authority over ruck infringements. It was obviously that which led to Bradley Davies getting the red mist and losing his head - does not excuse the reckless and malicious reaction.

However, I don't think Donnacha Ryan actually infringed at this particular ruck. My view is that he has entered the ruck "through the gate". He doesn't charge Adam Jones, but tries to bind onto him and you can see him use that leverage to drive Jones backwards.

Davies was actually not looking at the ruck at that moment, he was checking where his runners were. When he looked back and saw Jones being clattered, he mistakenly assumed it had been done illegally because, as you say, so many earlier infringements had happened and not been dealt with properly by Wayne Barnes.

The facts remain that Davies's view of the situation was wrong, he shouldn't take the law into his own hands and his reaction was reckless, dangerous and malicious.

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moddeur February 08, 2012 2:51 pm

It does seem I always agree with you too! (and it's good to see that Caucaunibuca Stade Toulousain pic)

But I still think that Ryan infringes in this particular ruck, as he doesn't displace the Welsh number 1, who is clearly on his feet and thus contributes to forming the ruck. Ryan should move him backwards, he cannot sort of go over the number 1 and then miraculously find himself slamming into Adams. At least that's my point of view. If not, then referees would allow players to walk or dive over defenders, instead you often hear refs scream at players on one foot behind the ruck, and the other over the ruck: "put your leg back in place!".

Of course this only highlights the reason for Davies' reaction but in no way excuses it, as you say no one should try to take the law into their own hands.

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Jimothy February 08, 2012 8:21 pm

Although I agree with most of your points fella's I think Davis took issue with the fact that Ryan was rucking illegally. The IRB website states

A player joining a ruck must bind on a team-mate or an opponent, using the whole arm. The bind must either precede, or be simultaneous with, contact with any other part of the body of the player joining the ruck.

The video that accompanies this on the IRB website actually looks quite similar to what Ryan does before Davis assaults him off the ball!

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bib160 February 08, 2012 10:54 am

BD is right when he says rugby is becoming soft: ferris tackle is not dangerous. The yellow card is outrageous the penalty could be contested
BD deserved a red card (i think we all agree) and should be banned for a long time because it was away from the ball.

Ihope that ferris will be able to play next weeks so he can meet Atoub on the field...

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mise February 08, 2012 11:35 am

Re BD: Touchjudge should be cited for a shit decision. It has to go both ways.

Re Ferris: Decision should be overturned and he should be apologised to. It has to go both ways.

Reason: Players leg was still on the ground, and there are two elements to the tip that are illegal, not one! First- the angle - feet over hips, or essentially, above 45 degrees. Second, and this is crucial, you have to show disregard of safety in placing the player. So, for example, dropping the player form a height, and a 90 degree angle, shoulder/neak/head first - that's disregard (and what BD did, without the ball!)

Ferris on the other hand, did not do anything especially dangerous in the placement, and was about 5 degrees over 45 degrees, but just FOR ONE LEG!

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Matt February 08, 2012 12:27 pm

Crazy that both those incidents received the same sanction: BD was definite red - malicious and dangerous; SF not even a penalty.

To say a little more about the SF tackle, the law (law 10(4)(j), if you're interested) states:

"Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

1) I don't actually see where SF lifted the man from the ground

2) Similar to 1), but seems like the law requires both feet to be off the ground - this is also not the case

Therefore I don't see how (at least under this law) the SF was dangerous play. No penalty, play on. If I were Irish I would be steaming about this one.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 2:53 pm

As I just said to stroudos one of my gripes with the professionalism is the fact everyone is looking for a loophole... Now I honestly do not feel that Ferris should have been penalised, yellow carded, or ANYTHING. HOWEVER lets for arguments sake say that he did magically manage to insert the welsh chaps head into the ground, YET the welsh players foot was still on the ground (as it is in the video) we'd have all the Irish defence team (for ferris) quoting that EXACT phrase "well he still had one foot on the ground" and perhaps trying to weasel out on a technicality... when in reality Ferris should stand up and say "yeup, I f'd up, i'll take this one"

There is too much reading into the laws in my opinion, we all know what is dangerous and the more you try and narrow down the definition of dangerous the more referees will make mistakes as unprecedented things occur, or they do not see it directly etc etc..

We either try and keep things simple or we have the video referee reffing the game instead and making all the crucial calls...

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Matt February 08, 2012 5:38 pm

I take your point that referees need to be given room to take action against dangerous play which doesn't necessarily fit a narrow definition, but is clearly dangerous. This might include pulling the leg of a player trapped in a ruck (which ended one Australian international's career) or the twisting of a tackled player's leg after he falls to the ground (one of the Kiwi players did this in the Eng vs. NZ rugby league match). I have no issue with the referees calling these as they see them.

However, with a law such as this, where tackles that used to be completely fine now result in lengthy bans I think there is a need to interpret the law narrowly. Otherwise, you risk changing the game much more than is necessary to achieve the original goal of the law.

I also don't think the two foot vs one foot question is that much of a technicality - the amount of control a tackled player has over how he falls is massively different when he has one foot on the ground, compared to when he is lifted completely off his feet. For that reason it would be very difficult to drive the welsh player's head into the ground, as you suggest.

Indeed, this is exactly why lifting only one leg shouldn't be an offence, unless there is clear intent to injure, or another aggravating factor: it isn't intrinsically (that) dangerous and, if it were, there would probably be some clear deliberate action on the tackler's part that the referee could penalise regardless of the lifting of the leg.

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Reality February 08, 2012 7:16 pm

I was going to make a comment but I see that you've done it already Matt. I don't see either how lifting one leg could be construed as lifting the player. The idea is that when you pick a player up then the lifted player has no control over how he lands, and gravity would increase the impact of landing significantly. But like you said, when there's still one leg on the ground then what's the problem? His grounded leg left the ground in the end because he feel over, and due to the laws of physics people's legs leave the ground in a situation like that. It wasn't because Ferris lifted it.

Also, Pretzel, I agree with you in theory that dangerous play isn't exactly rocket science, and that strict rules shouldn't need to be adhered to when judging what's dangerous or not. However, I think using Ferris as the example is a bit misleading.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 10:23 pm

Hmm I wholeheartedly agree with your remark about changing the game more than necessary in order to achieve the original goal.

I think the IRB instead of perhaps chopping changing and twisting the rules needs to just produce clear examples and then let interpretation take place... As you concurred dangerous play is dangerous play, and keep be viewed as such without the need of reams and reams of pages saying so. I suppose what we are all dying to hear is EXACTLY what is being done and WHY...

Apologies Reality, I merely meant to give a sort of example of how "technically" things can be deemed not dangerous according to the laws, yet ARE bloody dangerous... However THE ACTUAL Stephen Ferris tackle shown in this video is as far away from dangerous as a morning turd after a chicken korma...

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Adz February 08, 2012 1:19 pm

For me this whole thing is simple. Bradley Davies was yellow carded on the recommendation of the touch judge because Wayne Barnes didn't actually see the incident happen himself. Once he had been told that a tip tackle had occured and that a yellow should be given, a precedent was set and all the players on the pitch should have know that. As he did not know the severity of the original tackle (Or that it occured off the ball), when he saw Ferris make a tip tackle then he had no choice but to give a penalty and a yellow.

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WelshOsprey February 08, 2012 2:26 pm

Andy Nicol is a real cunt, can't wait to see his reaction when wales crush scotland.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 3:01 pm

Guys can I also bring you to remember the Brad Thorn off the ball after the whistle incident on John Smit, its on RD but not in the related section (Possibly relevant RD???) Smit lands on the flat of his back (not like this). Thorn gets no on field punishment, but receives a one week ban.

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Stubby February 08, 2012 3:47 pm

Who said younger players can't tackle with the power of the 'professinals'?

Ontario teenager guilty of manslaughter in rugby game death.

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moddeur February 08, 2012 5:26 pm

Poor kids, that is just so sad. In my opinion everything should be considered the other way around as youngsters are not built to withstand the same pressure as pros. At my level of rugby, called "rugby loisir" (leisure rugby) here in France, we're not allowed to do real scrums because it's considered that we don't have the proper neck build. Second Ankle-taps are also illegal, but I can't really figure that one out.

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Conman February 08, 2012 3:53 pm

I think it's fairly obvious from the comments that the Bradley Davies incident is a straight red and a long ban (rest of tournament at least), the only thing I'd say on that is that Wayne Barnes is completely blameless here, as he clearly stated he didnt see the incident and therefore, is going to trust his (highly experienced) touch judge. Pearson should be demoted (for a period) for that terrible decision, which he saw clearly.

On the Ferris one, with the benefit of replays, I definitely don't think he should have been cited. I can't see how you can describe that as a 'tip tackle' when one leg never left the floor and his body weight never went beyond horizontal. However, I agree with Keith Wood that the ref made his decision on the spot and should be respected. He saw one leg go up in the air and that's what he would have called. The yellow was a formality after the decision (and meaningless in the context of the game). So although harsh (or incorrect) it was a reasonable decision from his angle.

Why am I defending Wayne Barnes?? I don't even like him!

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Huh!! the 3rd February 10, 2012 12:51 pm

Yeah, its not like he's reffing again soon. Oh wait, he's in charge of France Ireland tomorrow...... woops..... Ire win perhaps?

Also, haven't read on so don't know if its mentioned, but the disiplinary board essentially apologised to Ferris for Barnes' yellow card and said it shouldn't have even been a penalty, which obviously cost Ire the game.

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Kev February 08, 2012 4:18 pm

Hearing reports that Davies got 7 weeks.
A bit light if you ask me considering he'll be back in time for the HEC quarter final

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stroudos February 08, 2012 5:07 pm

@Kev -
Yep, seven weeks for deliberate and malicious assault:
10 weeks initial sanction, which is the top-end for a dangerous tackle.
2 weeks added on, as part of IRB's campaign to deter lifting tackles.
But then FIVE WEEKS REDUCTION!!! for his good previous behaviour and contrition at the hearing.

Reducing the ban by almost half, just because he said sorry, is ridiculous and counter-productive to the IRB's deterrent message.

12 weeks would have been about right in my opinion, ten weeks an absolute minimum.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 10:26 pm

Totally agree, how the hell can someone who is so deeply in the shit get such a reduced sentence for ADMITTING he is in the shit....

I could agree on a reduction for previous good behaviour, of maybe a week or 2, but to then bulk it up with "well he did say he was sorry" is utter crap, and I'm tired of players getting reductions for admitting their guilt!

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stroudos February 09, 2012 10:48 am

Irritating isn't it? Same in a court of law of course, which in many cases I think is also a misguided policy. At least in court cases, you can say that by admitting guilt you save on court time and legal fees, admin etc - which I still don't think should get you off the hook, by the way. In this case though, particularly when the IRB have stated a specific objective of handing down harsh penalties by way of a deterrent, it just doesn't make sense to reduce it by that much. I reckon they should have gone 10 weeks, add two for the severity and the fact we're trying to sending a message, and then just cancel out that two week extension for the good behaviour/ contrition.

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Pretzel February 09, 2012 3:48 pm

I was thinking that exact same thing, you can ALMOST justify why in the everyday criminal courts they reduce sentences for guilty pleas...

Especially in criminal courts when it must be proved one way or the other, and of course any video footage would be grainy cctv stuff and perhaps inconclusive blah blah blah..

But in rugby at this level we are dealing with high definition cameras thousands of "witnesses" etc different angles, it is clear to see WHAT happened, intent does not matter anyway, therefore if he had not admitted guilt he'd just be an idiot... he wouldn't be fooling anyone.


I agree with the 10+2-2 ban you stated.

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jumping04 February 08, 2012 4:46 pm

Can't believe Davies only got a yellow for that tackle. Straight red, nothing else.

As for Ferris; I've seen that type of tackle made every game. Heck I've made that tackle several times and I've never seen it get penalized, let alone carded. Not sure what Barnes was thinking to be honest.

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Tolosan February 08, 2012 4:49 pm

Driving a player head-first into the ground, off the ball, off main action : dangerous maliciousness ! You could be handicapped for a life time because of a " tackle " like this one. Davies has simply nothing to do on rugby fields anymore…

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 10:30 pm

I disagree, Davies cocked up, and did something which is not unknown to a rugby pitch, to ban him for life is ridiculous, and to wish him not to play anymore is equally as ridiculous.

Giving him a large ban and a kick up the arse is much more fair!

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roj888 February 08, 2012 5:05 pm

yes it was a red card, and i think a 7 week ban is justifiable. However when watching the replays of the irish tackle, that is also above horizontal with one leg therefore a penalty by the letter of the law. yellow card is maybe too harsh, but it would have had no impact on the outcome of the game. Wales scored the try when still down to 14 men, and the penalty was a penalty, then it was game over. People who say they only lost because it not being a red are wrong.

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Pretzel February 08, 2012 10:28 pm

"People who say they only lost because it not being a red are wrong."

Forgive me as I may have missed those comments, but as far as I am aware most Irish fans have been very calm and said the better team won...

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i love bacon February 09, 2012 8:37 am

Agreed. I saw an Irish Times article hinting at Ferris' carding/penalty giving Halfpenny the game-winning kick being an injustice, as though it's what cost the Irish the match.

But most fans with half a brain know that's not true. Wales won because they were better and more clinical. Ireland gave up and didn't capitalize on the pressure they put on the boys in red.

The disciplinary committee finally got a ruling correct, it would seem. Davies probably could have received a lengthier ban, but who cares...7 weeks is a pretty long time , compounded by missing the chance for international caps in the 6N...I imagine it'll be more than enough motivation to make Davies think twice about an action like that in the future. Ferris did nothing wrong, and was vindicated. Good to know.

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coombs311 February 08, 2012 6:21 pm

Bradley Davies should of been a red card. Off the ball. It should of been a red or a yellow even if he had the ball, but he didn't. The officials should be ashamed.

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irb touch judge February 08, 2012 6:28 pm

the welsh pay us officials large amounts of cash when they're playing the irish to make outrageously biast calls throughout the match. we are corrupt and incapable of making the correct decision. that is all

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rbieshaw February 08, 2012 8:02 pm

i wish the welsh fans, players and coachs would stop moaning and talking about intent. For the one billionth time "intent" in a tackle is not a factor in an officials decision.

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Frenchie February 08, 2012 9:27 pm

To roj888:
indeed, 7 weeks confirmed for Brian Davies, and no sanction for Ferris. Seems fair to me.

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mise February 08, 2012 10:28 pm

Ferris deserves an apology...........does Barnes have a facebook page, like Owens?

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Vic February 08, 2012 11:31 pm

Davies assault was disgraceful! Red card definitely. Paddy O'Brien should starting imposing sanctions on refs failing to meet the requisite standard. This was an off the ball spear to the ground...

Linesman should have recommended red and Rory Best what are you playing help a mate out!

Ferris stupid tackle..and going by the rule book was always going to get a yellow

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Pretzel February 09, 2012 3:50 pm

Brad Thorns "tackle" was in some ways "better" than Davies, Smit lands square on his back which of course isn't the most pleasant feeling, but is far less dangerous than landing on a shoulder/head/neck...

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katman February 09, 2012 9:46 pm

Smit only landed like that to spare Thorn from harsher punishment. A true gentleman of the game.

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Eggman February 09, 2012 4:11 pm

Katman, you cannot compare the two at all! One was done by a kiwi, the other not. Clearly, two very different incidents ;)

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katman February 09, 2012 9:45 pm

Yep, instead of 40 lashes with a heavy cane, the Kiwi got one week off. Something rotten there.

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mise February 10, 2012 1:09 am

Barnes got Ferris decision wrong, says disciplinary panel:

great. Bolted. Horses. Door. etc

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ronanohall February 10, 2012 3:30 pm

The NFL system of challenging calls made by the officials would be very helpful in situations like these. Ireland could have contested both rulings by the officials and (Davies would have been given a RED and Ferris a Penalty at worst).

"The head coach of either team can signal a challenge by throwing a red flag onto the field. He's allowed only two challenges per game.... If the coach's challenge is successful -- that is, the ruling on the field is overturned -- then his team isn't charged with a timeout. If it's unsuccessful, it costs the team a timeout."

Rugby would have to come up with a way to penalise teams who challenge calls unnecessarily in the way that in NFL, if your challenge is incorrect your team loses a timeout.

Ireland have been shafted by referees twice in the last tree times we have played Wales. Makes one feel a little bitter.

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Pretzel February 10, 2012 6:51 pm

Interesting idea...

What happens if your challenge is successful in NFL (apart from the ruling being overturned) i.e. do you get your challenge back?

So you challenge a call, and the call stands then you lose a challenge so you have 1 left. Then you challenge another call and the call is overturned, do you still have 1 left again? or are you down to ziltch?

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Tony February 12, 2012 9:27 am

You are so right. The ball was away and he was playing the man. I hope IRB has the sense to see it in that light and suspends him for a long time.

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Pretzel February 12, 2012 2:33 pm

Little late on that front Tony, they banned him for the maximum 10 weeks, added 2 weeks to try and deter players... then took off 5 weeks because he admitted he did it and has a good track record....

so 7 weeks...sigh...

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browner December 06, 2012 11:08 pm

Lets hope B.Davies gets his comeuppance........... along waddles Mr Hoare = Justice.

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