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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Digby Ioane suspended for five weeks for tip-tackle on Coetzee

Quensland Reds winger Digby Ioane has been suspended for five weeks following a dangerous tackle he made on flanker Marcel' Coetzee during their 27-22 defeat to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday. His previous record contributed to the hefty ban.

According to a SANZAR statement earlier today, Ioane lifted and failed to bring Coetzee down to ground safely. He admitted his guilt and judicial officer Mike Heron said that previous disciplinary matters, including his spear tackle on Casey Laulala in 2008, had counted against him.

"Ioane has been suspended from all forms of the game up to and including Saturday 21 April after contravening Law 10.4 (j). Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground is dangerous play," said the statement.

An early guilty plea reduced the possibility of a heavier sanction. He flies home today, and will miss matches against the Bulls, Western Force, Brumbies, and Stormers. A bye for the Reds means he only misses out on four games.

The defending champion Reds have already lost Quade Cooper and a number of other key backline players, so the loss of Ioane, who is not only noted as a playmaker but a strong defender as well, will be a big blow.

"Losing your two healthy goalkickers and playmakers at the No. 10 position is far from an ideal scenario but we'll reassess in coming days and come up with a plan best suited for our final game on tour against the Bulls," Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said.

While the five weeks may seem harsh, and possibly lenient to others, all factors need to be taken into account when passing judgement. That includes the method of lifting and driving the player to ground, as well as the individual's disciplinary record.

Taking that into account, do you think a five week ban is about right?

Posted by Rugbydump at 2:44 pm | View Comments (80)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 80 comments

Hennie March 20, 2012 4:19 pm

Not even worth a penalty! Officials are spoiling the game for everyone.

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Link March 20, 2012 4:46 pm

Too harsh

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Kurt March 20, 2012 5:01 pm

i hate what rugby is turning into. great tackle

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SpencaH March 20, 2012 5:04 pm

Another excellent piece of judiciary work by the rugby judges, really showing their consistency. Idiots.

Also, isn't 2008 a long time ago to still be punishing him for??

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BuzzKillington March 20, 2012 5:10 pm

I feel like I'm being trolled. 5 weeks! Is this real life? A yellow was harsh enough. The game is embarrassing itself.

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stroudos March 20, 2012 10:59 pm

I feel like I'm being trolled. Ha ha, nice one! I know how you feel....

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Utrecht March 20, 2012 5:21 pm

I thought Rugby was a contact sport. Unbelievably harsh......

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Ospreys 123 March 23, 2012 2:45 pm

All I'm saying is, Sam Warburton put in a less dangerous tackle in the Semi WC2011 and got a red.

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WelshOsprey March 20, 2012 5:25 pm

That was a great tackle
If henson made that tackle on tait nowadays he'd probably get a 12 week ban.

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JulS March 20, 2012 6:25 pm

Five weeks ? It's ridiculous ! The yellow card was enough...

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Yo March 20, 2012 6:40 pm

This is far too much !!! Yellow card is far enough, as this kind of tackles can really be dangerous, but he really accompanies him on the floor on the side to prevent injury.
Coetzee is even an actor on this one, as he holds his head when there was clearly no injury !!!
Let's not play rugby as football where adding acting to fault is part of the game.

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Kettlerugby March 20, 2012 6:57 pm

5 weeks! are u kidding?? that was a great hit! Yea maybe just past the horizontal but come on. Think he was just embarrassed to of got sat down by a winger

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Jay March 20, 2012 7:04 pm

They need to sort these tackling laws out, this is insane. You don't many wingers making a solid hit like that, and especially to be punished for it!

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Ollie March 20, 2012 7:09 pm

Really harsh, whats worse is the pathetic reaction of the 8 - Coetzee. He even looks up at the ref and then does a bit of rolling around on the floor holding his head.

Please don't tlet us end up down the football route!!

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CraftyNark March 20, 2012 7:09 pm

The game of rugby is falling into a sorry state of affairs. A yellow card would have been more than sufficient punishment for what was a very standard tackle. A 5 week suspension is beyond a joke. The game is becoming a 'referee show' with officials contesting to take centre of attention. People will begin to lose interest in a sport that is becoming soft. It is a contact sport with professional athletes putting their bodies on the line. I for one am losing patience with rugby because of what is happening to it.

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jimmyson March 20, 2012 7:12 pm

we are turning rugby into football...5 weeks for that !!?!? that should be just a yellow card. i dont see any bad intentions in the tackle. 5 WEEKS FOR no.6 - THE SOCCER PLAYER

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Freds March 20, 2012 7:12 pm

Simply a great tackle. He doesn't look to have dropped him or driven him into the ground, although possibly the ref couldn't tell watching on the field, so yellow card maybe. I agree with Yo, to me it looks like Coetzee stays down to get the yellow.

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Nath March 20, 2012 7:15 pm

If thats a five week ban, then I dont want to play this game. WTF?

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Celt13 March 20, 2012 7:17 pm

If they keep punishing this kind of hard tackles so harshly they'll turn Rugby into a sport for wussies.
From my perspective it looks like Diggers actually tries to land Coetzee safely. I agree with Ollie about the pathetic reaction from Coetzee. One thing is been a South African cheat, and another one behaving like a wuss. He can go play Association Football for all I care.

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smrfit March 20, 2012 7:18 pm

5 weeks is harsh. Max 2 i think!

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Roscoe P March 20, 2012 7:23 pm

That seems too harsh. He brought him down somewhat safely, you could tell he wasn't trying to pile drive him.

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ONeill_12 March 20, 2012 7:29 pm

This is ridiculous. The linesman clearly had a good view but lacked the confidence or the steel to give a red card, as by 'law' a tip tackle is red. Warburton gets a Red, Ioane gets 5 weeks and there have been countless others not given or yellow carded. Until there is some consistency in the refereeing across the globe then this will always be a debate. Referees are more than willing to leave it to the Citing Officer or too meek to act.

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Dylan March 20, 2012 8:02 pm

Come now people that was clearly a red, I agree 5 weeks is a bit harsh but that should be a straight red since it was clearly a spear tackle. He lifted the player through the 90 degrees and drove him into the ground. He did not try put him down safely at all.

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downwithdropgoals March 20, 2012 8:11 pm

He didn't drop him, certainly didn't drive him into the ground so WHY 5 weeks? Okay he went over the horizontal and they are trying to cut these tackles out but say 1-2 weeks is more than enough of an example. Also a 1-2 week ban for the flanker who went down very softly,even broke his fall with his arm and then made a meal of it, A worse offence in my eyes! PLEASE STOP DIVING AND PLAY ACTING!! I hope his team mates give him some kind of fine for this.

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Blew1 March 20, 2012 8:13 pm

Extremely harsh, barely deserved a yellow.

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rufio March 20, 2012 8:23 pm

EVERYONE is right. And i agree. A yellow was harsh enough!!! But it astounds me that everyone is that retarded they cant figure out why he got banned!!! Does anyone here still actually play rugby?? Its nothing to do with being soft like football, its nothing to do with play acting, ITS TO DO WITH WHAT THIS TYPE OF TACKLE COULD IMPLY/DO TO YOU IF YOU FALL ON YOUR NECK!! (and believe me, after being on the receiving end of one last year, even at Amateur level, i still get searing pains in my neck now) So i can see why they are doing it!!!! So for all you muppets out there who STILL cant figure it out.......HE GOT BANNED BECAUSE HE IS BEING MADE AN EXAMPLE OFF!!!! They are trying to say, 'its potentially a very dangerous tackle and if you tip tackle (not matter what happens to the player who is tackled), you WILL get banned' so that this sorta tackle stops happening!!! END OFF

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fudge March 20, 2012 11:35 pm

clearly you don't play either, that was a legitimate tackle that didn't go through the 90 degree barrier

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Nunny March 21, 2012 2:37 am

I'm sorry, anyone who has seen powerful players like digby even at an amateur level would know, you can't stop tip tackles from happening. I often see the same occur in my own matches with players who have a very high upper body strength making strong tackles which accidentally bring the player past 90 degrees. I actually think that we should widen the angle allowed so as to differentiate tackles that are GENUINELY malicious. Tackles just past 90 degrees are not often dangerous.

The game of rugby is a hard sport and excuse me for sounding like so old school grump but I believe that is how it needs to remain. It is a spectacle to see people play through the pain of hard tackles such as these.

That tackle was NOT dangerous as his *torso* had not gone past or very far past 90 degrees. Being so tough on tackles means that players are starting to appeal for penalties.

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stroudos March 21, 2012 9:40 am

It's an interesting point because, as anyone who's done any judo or studies basic physics and/or human biology will know, the head is the heaviest part of the body, so it's quite natural for the body of a tackler to dip past the horizontal. Once that direction of movement is in motion it is difficult for the tackler to readjust their opponent's body position.

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Pretzel March 21, 2012 3:18 pm

........I will contest that point Stroudos... I have seen props whose Arses or Guts are BY FAR heavier than their heads...

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jeppy89 March 21, 2012 3:51 pm

shock! of course you do, i think you two need to get a room and sort out your differences

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Pretzel March 21, 2012 4:24 pm

Ah, sorry that was supposed to be a "joke" comment.

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Dave March 26, 2012 3:31 am

Head the heaviest part of the human body?! Mate you are way off. Heads weigh about 10% of the human body's mass. You should probably study basic physics a bit harder, maybe centre of mass would be a more useful measure.

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stroudos March 26, 2012 10:08 am

Dave wrote: "Heads weigh about 10% of the human body's mass."
...which I believe makes the head the heaviest part of the human body.

By the way I did say

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stroudos March 26, 2012 10:12 am


By the way, I did say "anyone who studies basic physics" will know the head's heaviest.

The point is if you hold a bloke's body in a horizontal position the head is naturally likely to drop lower than the feet. Once the "head end" (technical term) of the body starts to drop, it is difficult to counter-balance and bring the head back up above the horizontal.

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Dave March 27, 2012 8:34 pm

Stroudos, you assume that every time some someone is tackled they are being suspended from the exact centre of mass. I agree with you, in that if someone is being held at the fulcrum then they will fall towards their head, but it isn't very often that someone is tackled and suspended by a single point along their body.
So holding a blokes body in the horizontal position will only result in them falling towards their head end if you hold them on the head end side of the centre of mass.
I do see the merit in your argument and I also agree Digby's suspension was too harsh

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stroudos March 28, 2012 8:55 am

Other way round mate. If you hold him at the waist or lower (ie towards the feet) he'll tip towards his head. This is exactly what happens in all "tip tackles".

But yeah, looks like we agree generally anyway!

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Afakasi March 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Nigel Owens hit the nail on the head - 'This is not Soccer' Doesn't surprise that the South African commentators also agree with this call, why cause he was a south sea islander maybe?

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Shargon March 20, 2012 9:22 pm

When i saw that tackle i thought it barely deserved a yellow card, but nothing more.
5 weeks? That's absurd!

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Rodofle March 20, 2012 9:22 pm

5 weeks for THIS ?????? What a f***in joke

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cartersmn March 20, 2012 9:38 pm

I been a rugby fan for all my life and seeing tackles like this being punished is so frustrating and putting me off the game, I find myself turning to our poorer cousins, Rugby League, Union is becoming a joke! A warning was all this deserved, it was not that bad, anyone who says otherwise is just not a rugby fan in its purest form!!!

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Spuff March 20, 2012 9:54 pm

Technically, he lifted the legs above horizontal. Lucky it wasn't Allan Roland, he would have given a red card as he is notoriously hard on lifting in the tackle.

Its a shame that players can't tackle without fear of getting binned or sent off. No#6 made a meal of it on the ground which didn't help.

The IRB need to change the laws, make it that players dropped/driven on their heads/necks be sending off offence but people driven onto the flat of their back or square on the shoulders be fair game.

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readthelaws March 21, 2012 5:54 am

Spuff you have basically commented word for word what the law currently is:
LAw 10.4 (j) 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.

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Juggernauter March 20, 2012 9:54 pm

Agree with everybody here... this was a great tackle, brought him down safely, landed on his back... all clear. These suspensions are becoming a joke. I honestly don't know what's going on here. It's like a f*cking nightmare. Rugby without hits like these would be a travestry.

Please, please, refs, if you're reading this, I won't ask you to man up, or to grow some balls, but to be honest and have some criteria. Rugby is a contact sport. And it's safe enough as it is. End of story.

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Tahs_fan_micky March 20, 2012 10:08 pm

@Rufio. I agree that this was potentially a red card offence. I agree Ioane needed to be made an example of. And I agree that is a necessary part of ensuring some degree of safety on the playing field. But considering that even though he picked Coetzee up past the 90 degree angle and even though he drove him into the ground he still had relative control over Coetzee at all stages of the tackle. It is time we see some consistency by the officials. A red card for any spear tackle, regardless of how soft it Looks on the replay, would be sufficient to serve an example and promote safe play. 5 weeks during a 14 week season is not at all proportional to the infringement. Officials are forever more showing they have too much power to determine not only the outcome of a game but how a team fares in a season!!!!

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 10:12 pm

I'm sorry but this should be a red card a lifetime ban and 6 years in prison sentence, that was out right thuggery.

Brilliant tackle to force the turnover!!!

This is bullshit, and not only does it highlight the fact that rugby HAS INDEED turned soft, it highlights how shoddy any of the refereeing is!

As I have said TIME and TIME again, the citing system is surely there to either add extra punishment to a red card because it was such a heinous crime OR to make up for a referee giving the wrong punishment.

If a referee gives a yellow card for something that is (apparently) worth 5 weeks then he hasn't done his job properly has he!!! So more focus should be on allowing the referee to get it right in the first instance. That SHOULD have been a red card IF it was worth 5 weeks.

In my opinion though it was worth f'all but a pat on the back and a pint later on!

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Hendogo March 20, 2012 10:13 pm

5 Weeks is a bit much. Lets make rugby rugby, and soccer, football.

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Guy March 20, 2012 10:41 pm

Digby: one advice. Next time pick him up a liiiiiittle higher and spear him straight into the ground.

That would be a PROPER reason for a five week ban. And besides that, this South African wanker wouldn't need to milk it.

I am really strarting to believe that some teams train their players how to milk a situation like this. We see it all the time in France, we had Brussow at the World Cup and now this idiot. I am really starting to get worried about our beloved game, and especially about the behaviour of some players. Godawfull!

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Nemeketh March 20, 2012 11:50 pm

I don't really see how he is dropping the player ... his head didn't even touch the ground at first...
If some one can explain it to me, I would be pleased !

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Ando March 21, 2012 12:10 am

Poor decision. While not a textbook tackle, he does seem to try and bring him down to the ground safely (pretty successfully I might add!) when he senses the tackle go awry.

Hope this doesn't stop Diggers being the hard running, hard hitting player he is!!

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Aeron March 21, 2012 12:21 am

yellow card at the most, the choice to ban him is retarded!!!!!!!

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Nunny March 21, 2012 2:48 am

Correction, RED. 5 weeks is far too much but the punishment for a spear (regardless of whether or not it occurred) is a red card.

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PiratesRugby March 21, 2012 12:25 am

Not a dangerous tackle.

When the tackled player hit the ground it was not head first. He was horizontal and bore the brunt of the force with his hip and back. In fact the head barely touched the ground.

The tackled player faked the contact with the head. Disgraceful. He should have been suspended for "simulation" or just plain cheating. What a shame for a nation that plays its rugby so tough that its players are resorting to this kind of play acting to draw a penalty. The tackled player should apologise.

This is South African rugby not Italian soccer.

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Pretzel March 21, 2012 3:11 am

Sadly there would be no real way of suspending people for "simulation" or "faking"... it can always be argued that he had pain in his head after it for some reason, even if his head did not hit the ground etc...

I had this discussion with someone a while back, I think we both came to the conclusion it is something which has to be policed by the offending players team mates and surrounding staff.

Footballers do it in order to get penalties, free kicks, other players sent off, all because it gives their team an edge. Personally I'd rather watch my team play well and without this type of tactic and lose, than play with this type of display and win.

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stroudos March 21, 2012 9:44 am

Hear hear.

Simulation is definitely creeping into rugby, which is absolutely tragic. Bizarrely it seems to be gaining a lot of traction in South Africa (eg Brussow in the world cup).

Also, but I put that down to the higher salaries and the win-at-any-cost mentality that brings.

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stroudos March 21, 2012 2:44 pm

Last sentence was supposed to start "Also France..."

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Jwall March 21, 2012 12:33 am

That has got to be one of the worst, softest decisions I've ever seen.
Four weeks for that?!
WTF! I've seen tougher tackles in a soccer game.
He picks him up and the guy lands on his side. The tackled player was in no danger was completely uninjured and this is just a text book excellent tackle.
Rugby union is becoming softer and softer, and it's losing me as a fan.
How can you watch this kind of rubbish and not feel like the game is going down the toilet.
I've seen tougher hits in an under 10 comp. Rugby league players would be laughing their arses off at how soft this is. In league this wouldn't even be considered a particularly great hit, jsut an average tackle.

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Ruggernut March 21, 2012 1:43 am

Personally I thought yellow was harsh. 5 weeks to me is overkill.

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DAS March 21, 2012 5:18 am

Ridiculous. Yellow card, max. Certainly doesn't warrant a suspension. The scrumhalf's head was never in danger of being driven into the ground.

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stroudos March 21, 2012 2:58 pm

Sorry, can't resist...

The scrumhalf's head was never in danger of being driven into the ground because the scrumhalf was on his feet about ten feet away from the tackle!

Sorry to take the piss but it does help highlight the point that this is a case of a wing putting a lovely big hit on a BLINDSIDE FLANKER!!!

A blindside flanker for Christ's sake, not just that but a South African back rower, writhing on the ground like he's been shot, milking it for a penalty.

Now, I appreciate the fact that Digby Ioane's not exactly small, but what happened to the age-old sense of pride in your position? Can't be that long ago that a blindside flanker would do anything to avoid admitting he'd been hurt by a tackle from a winger.

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Pretzel March 21, 2012 3:15 pm

Hooker gets totally horrendously injured by a winger in this one Stroudos...

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Guy March 21, 2012 5:40 pm


I was totally expecting something horrific. This is so shamefull for a front row forward that it completely becomes hillarious.

I wonder what Moddeur would say about this as I understand he is a frontrower too.

Good one Pretzel! Thanks!

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JAVI March 21, 2012 8:04 am

Ridiculous,´s a brilliant tackle. he should be awarded not penaliced.

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richy84 March 21, 2012 9:30 am

Officials making it up as they go along. And do the citing officials use the lottery numbers for picking how long the ban is for, nothing seems set in stone.

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LT March 21, 2012 1:33 pm

Even the wellow card is to much, 5 weeks ?????????? terrible decision.

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rugby08 March 21, 2012 3:23 pm

Rugby's going to effing soft man

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yawalapiti March 21, 2012 3:46 pm

This was the same tackle Fiji's Seremaia Bai did to Wales : I thought that a spear tackle is when the guy being tackled hits the ground head first. Couldn't the ref do a replay to verify?

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roland March 21, 2012 4:32 pm

FFS this fucks me off. It wasnt that long ago where that would be considered by all to be a fantastic tackle, now its a suspension?? Dump tackles arnt dangerous unless they go vertical!!!!!

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peza March 22, 2012 12:29 am

Absolutely shocking!!!!! Classic hit on a bigger man. Perfect! A few years more and we'll only be allowed 2 handed touches. As for the "injured" player - you're playing the wrong sport mate!!! Even though rugby is pro now, we still expect players to stick to traditional values.

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judde March 22, 2012 1:15 am

wow.. fuck union is getting soft, a wing dumping a flanker, bet that flanker cops shit all week off his team mates. what a joke to ban him for 5 weeks. good job sanzar?

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Canadarugger March 23, 2012 1:16 am

When I watched this it looked like a clean tackle to me, I hardly think it deserved even a yellow. just my opinion though...

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bigbob March 23, 2012 8:20 pm

good hard tackle,nowt dirty or malicious, yellow card was harsh

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Andyboy March 23, 2012 8:50 pm

Good tackle, milked by the flanker.

The Ref says, "I didn't see it". How can that be? Was he not watching play?

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Jim_B March 25, 2012 2:02 am

Great tackle. Incredibly harsh sanction. Heck, Joel Stransky thought is was a perfectly fine tackle

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Cookie March 25, 2012 2:24 pm

This looks like a perfectly legal tackle to me...Ioane did not even drop the guy! Come on!

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yupyupgup March 25, 2012 4:49 pm

this stupidity isn't the referee's fault, they are simply enforcing the IRB's rules, therefore, it is the IRB who need to sort themselves out before they ruin the game once and for all.

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SamTheHammerHopkins March 26, 2012 1:52 pm

Referee has given the 'technically' correct decision as the ridiculous laws state he has performed a dangerous tip tackle - but its a complete joke to ban him for 5 weeks just for putting in a decent big hit! Coetzee can go play football for that peice of playacting, Union and the IRB need to man up and get back to the traditional values of hard contact rugby

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pipots April 02, 2012 6:48 pm

If rugby keeps going this way, there is no point for this site...
You will soon have to change the name to

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