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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ben Youngs cited for striking London Irish's Jamie Gibson

In what's been a poor week for English rugby, and it looks as though another Aviva Premiership player could be suspended, namely Ben Youngs after he lost his cool against London Irish on Sunday. As of last night, he has officially been cited.

Dylan Hartley was recently handed an eight week ban for biting Stephen Ferris, and later tonight we'll know the fate of Calum Clark, after he broke Rob Hawkins' arm.

Youngs will possibly be added to the list soon, even if his offence is less severe, after he lost his rag with Exiles number eight Jamie Gibson who had held him back by the foot.

Leicester have suspended Youngs internally for one week, and he will face an RFU disciplinary panel next week after being charged with striking Gibson. An RFU statement said the following:

"Ben Youngs of Leicester Tigers will appear before an RFU Disciplinary Panel after being cited for striking London Irish’s Jamie Gibson contrary to Law 10(4)(a) during the Aviva Premiership match at the Madejski Stadium on March 25 following a report by the match citing officer Wade Dooley."

The touchjudge at the time took an old school approach to it, saying Youngs punched but then saying it was only a penalty. Interestingly Youngs was penalised for retaliation, but Exiles number nine Darren Allinson wasn't even spoken to. 

If found guilty of striking with either the knee or fist, Youngs could get a 2 week suspension, which is the low-end entry point. Mitigating factors, such as Gibson's provocation, could come into play.

In other England rugby news, Stuart Lancaster has now official been made England Head Coach, with a contract running up until January 2016, shortly after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Posted at 12:36 pm | 36 comments

Calum Clark cited for bending Rob Hawkins' arm backwards

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 36 comments

Dave March 29, 2012 2:59 pm

The commentator says, "fortunately he missed with both punches". Can a player be cited for throwing a punch or only if it connects?

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Pretzel March 29, 2012 4:24 pm

This is only guess work on my part, but seeing as intent has nothing to do with it, I would imagine he could only be cited for punches that actually connect.

If you intend to punch someone (remember that intent, in theory, is totally ignored) and swing and miss completely then you didn't ACTUALLY strike them. All you did was swing your fist around in the air like a strange person.

That is the way I assume it would be seen anyway...

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Pretzel March 29, 2012 3:12 pm

Few things that make me wonder with this incident...

Lets say Youngs had not retaliated, I wonder if we would have actually seen a penalty to the tigers, or if Gibson would have let go and that would have been the end of it.

It just seems to be that the people doing the holding on, are VERY rarely penalised. I think Nathan Hines is the only one that springs to mind where he held down two opposition players and sat on a third...

It always seems to be the player that retaliates (and rightly so imo) that gets really punished.

The incident itself, I don't know what to say about it too much. A time gone by I would have ignored this as would 90% of the people out there and it would have just been a small incident within the game. Nowadays, I would still like to ignore it, not much happened, the knee drop wasn't a highlight of how good the game of rugby is, but it wasn't to the face (apparently). But it seems I have become one of perhaps the 10% of people who would like to see stuff like this just let go.

This whole incident does highlight the inadequacies of refereeing when it comes down to consistency and tying things up with what the laws say. If this is worth a ban (we'll see the outcome soon enough) then it is worth a card (theoretically, no?), and with a good view and instructions etc the referee had no real excuse for not awarding a card, it isn't like the incident was missed.

On a personal level however, I think he did a good job, nothing in it so he left it at a penalty.

I think in some ways the referees need to be encouraged to have more balls. I think some are relying too much on the word for word definitions within the law book, rather than dealing with each incident on its own. The commentators saying "he threw a punch, he will be off" is another example of how everyone reaches for the law book in order to find the punishment, e.g some of these "tip tackles", tom james head butt (older incident I know) etc...

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Woohoooo March 29, 2012 5:45 pm

"I think some are relying too much on the word for word definitions within the law book, rather than dealing with each incident on its own." Alain Rolland and Warburton? Nigel Owens seems to show some initiative and use his own judgement.

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Pretzel March 29, 2012 7:10 pm

Ummm regarding the comment I made about tip tackles, I was thinking more recent ones actually. Ioane spear tackle on Coetzee, there was the tackle Ferris did in the 6N on a Welsh player. The sort of tackles that were fine about 5 years ago. But really the comment was regarding all aspects of game play. I remember in the 6N when I saw a tackler get up as the ruck went over him start to run back to his own side when Mike Philips picked up the ball and deliberately ran into him. The ruling was offside and a penalty for Wales. Now referees always shout for tacklers to roll away and retreat etc, and therefore the referee should have shouted "play on". But again "letter of the law" comes out and its a penalty... anyway, I digress..

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Citing Commissioner March 29, 2012 3:15 pm

Are you serious, Williams gets a straight red in the world cup for slapping Brussow after a similar situation and this is just a penalty reversal?!? Could the touch judge have been any closer with a clearer site of what happened - safe to say he has absolutely bottled it.
I don't want to see bans for this sort of thing, just consistency, a yellow would have sufficed without any need for a ban in my opinion!
On a side note - Youngs is a nasty little man who needs a taste of his own medicine sooner rather than later...

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Pretzel March 29, 2012 4:10 pm

I'd rather there was no need for consistency, a few years back neither the slap nor this would be worth any colour card, unfortunately nowadays dropping a knee, slapping or throwing punches has become more dangerous than it was a few years ago!?!?!? Maybe the bigger the players the tougher their slaps are.... ¬_¬

Now you can take your pick, especially if the SH testing proves positive... red, yellow, white, no card at all...

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Fettsack March 29, 2012 4:12 pm

Agreed. There's no citing needed here but a penalty reversal is not enough. Clear yellow card for Youngs who should just learn how to behave on a pitch. Most refs would probably have sent off both scrum halves here but I personally would just have given the card to Youngs.
Awesome tackle to get him off Gibson :D

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Will March 29, 2012 3:18 pm

To be fair to Youngs most players would show some form of retaliation, i thought that the irish 9's tackle on Youngs was even better tho haha

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Tommy March 29, 2012 3:19 pm

Huge double leg takedown by green 9!! :L

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beloved March 29, 2012 3:25 pm

think the ref handled this very well, also stuart barnes wrote a very good article on this sort of incident (yes i was surprised as well!). Petty little things like this (diving/simulation , patting players on heads after they concede penalties, throwing the ball away to avoid quick taps) are creeping into our game much to the detriment of the sport i love. None of these off the ball incidents would happen if the refs kept on eye on players being held back and stopped from playing and gave them a pen and yellow card. Same applies for divers and the other offences i mentioned, there would be a couple of games with about half a dozen yellows but after that players would cotton and this would stop.

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kentish exile March 30, 2012 4:44 pm

Agree with pretty much everything written here beloved, the only thing I would say in defence of refs in general, is that the game moves on at such a pace that it is almost impossible to see everything that goes on. As it was in this instance, it sounded like the touch judge saw what happened and would have flagged anyway, but the pen was reversed by Young's retaliation.

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Colombes March 29, 2012 3:30 pm

pretty annoying to see players who "holding on" others in order to delete attacks or defences.
i can understand Youngs frustration, but when he dropped his knee in gibson chest, he was already free and could have gone away without being penalised rather to retaliate.

scrum-half is a nervy position. as i've been myself a 9, u must compensate your missing centimeters and kilos with your temper or u can't impose yourself in this game. that's certainly why u had nervy legends like gregan, stringer or pichot... and that u now have little colonels such like parra, care or maybe youngs

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Murina March 29, 2012 4:10 pm

I agree with the Commissioner. This is just a straight yellow and get on with the game. No need to go overboard on Youngs here. Holding on is cheating and though the reaction deserved punishment, how is the retaliation from the Green No. 9 not worse again?

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stroudos March 29, 2012 5:02 pm

Touchie had it spot on in my opinion. Penalty reversal, "that will do".


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Pretzel March 29, 2012 5:29 pm

It just goes to show how "out of touch" you (and myself for having similar views) are though. Obviously the citing commissioner feels it is worth more, and if there is a subsequent ban then the IRB feels there it is worth more.

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donkeyballs4000 March 30, 2012 3:51 am

You're right in assuming that punches being thrown and an aggressive "knee" are now ruled upon differently than they used to be. That being said, I definitely think that these actions were irresponsible and disrespectful.

Rugby is a global game these days, this type of behaviour reflects badly on the sport as a whole. A part of me wants to allow some of this raw physicality to remain. But, we cannot expect acts like this to be widely publicised without them tarnishing the tenets of respect and fair play on which I consider this sport to be built.

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 12:48 pm

But the game is still the same thing as it was 5-10 years ago, they have f'd about with the rules and screwed up the breakdown a bit more, but it is still the same game. To alter it so that it "looks more friendly on tv" is a bit of a farce no?

I understand we all want the game to have a good reputation but at what cost?

I tackled someone hard a few weeks ago just as the landed from taking a high ball. My shoulder went into their stomach/chest region and we both went off our feet, he knocked the ball on and put me in a headlock. We scrabbled about a bit then both sort of realised that the other one wasn't actually trying to fight, we let go and went back to playing.

That 5 seconds of tussling obviously doesn't look good for the game, either so where do we draw the line? I think the knee was too far, I think the punches were fine, we don't want a boxing match but a penalty will suffice for throwing the odd punch, especially when both players are actually involved. I think if one player is "sucker punched" then it is right to give a card, even a red card, but when two players are going at each other, or one is giving the other a good reason to get wound up (like this) then any cards or bans would be ridiculous..

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thamesrowingclub March 29, 2012 7:32 pm

Youngs has a bad history, but he is the one trying to play rugby, the LI#8 is trying to PREVENT him from playing. The #8 is cheating, not Youngs. What is a guy to do? There are times in rugby when you should have a right to punch somebody in the face, when they are preventing you from playing, for example. These citing commissions are way out of hand. The game was better before cards came into it. Penalty to Leicester.

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stroudos March 29, 2012 9:06 pm

thamesrowingclub: "There are times in rugby when you should have a right to punch somebody in the face"
Classic! I love this comment. And completely agree in this case.

thamesrowingclub: "The game was better before the cards came into it".
Halcyon days mate.

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poccio March 29, 2012 9:10 pm

In this instance i agree with you in spirit, the problem with this thinking though is that it would allow violence to go unchecked and then you'd have the problem of determining what is acceptable or not thus slowly leaking violence in the game which is not acceptable... I think a more sensible approach would be to ban the players who play to prevent the game, although we would have a blanket ban on flankers every week...so really there is not a lot you can do, maybe just ignore these things, which I'm pretty sure it would have been had the green no.9 not intervened.

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poccio March 29, 2012 9:10 pm

In this instance i agree with you in spirit, the problem with this thinking though is that it would allow violence to go unchecked and then you'd have the problem of determining what is acceptable or not thus slowly leaking violence in the game which is not acceptable... I think a more sensible approach would be to ban the players who play to prevent the game, although we would have a blanket ban on flankers every week...so really there is not a lot you can do, maybe just ignore these things, which I'm pretty sure it would have been had the green no.9 not intervened.

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poccio March 30, 2012 3:25 pm

sorry for the double post...don't know what happend :P

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Michael March 29, 2012 8:07 pm

Personally feel this warranted a yellow and a citing subsequently seems fair. In regards to inconsistencises however, when a player is held into a ruck or breakdown and strikes the arm of the holding player in order to a) attempt to gain a release and b) alert the referee to the offence, you have to ask where the line is. When do you call the line between freeing yourself and a strike? A hit on the lower arm, upper arm, torso?

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Pretzel March 29, 2012 8:17 pm

Michael, I wonder how you come to the conclusion that it should have been a yellow AND a citing?

I am quite interested in that particular view because I have always had the view that citings or bans should a result of either:

1. Topping up the red card punishment on the field for something particularly nasty,
2. Punishing a player for something that was missed on the field (Calum Clark springs to mind)
3. Making up for a referee's mistake, if that is punishing a player who deserved a red card, but was only given a penalty, or yellow card.

I have always viewed yellow cards as a sort of "right, calm down for 10 minutes!" type of card therefore I can never imagine further topping up that punishment with a ban. If your crime was so bad you deserve a ban then surely you deserve a red card during the game?

I'm not trying to be argumentative, it would just be interesting to know why you feel it is a yellow and a citing/ban?

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 3:48 pm

"Personally feel this warranted a yellow and therefore a citing subsequently seems fair"

Hmm now you mention it, if I stick a "therefore" in that sentence then I think you might be right..

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Jwall March 30, 2012 2:38 am

I have really no problem with this.
Youngs was simply defending his teammate.
I would have done the same, any player worth a pinch of salt would have.

Penalty is fine, anything ore is over the top. I wouldn't personally even suspend him, though I realise my views are a little old school. But say a one week ban, I could understand that I guess, given the way the game has gone (ie it's become incredibly soft). Anything more than that is ridiculous and simply not rugby.

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 12:39 pm

What?

Youngs (number 9) is the one wearing grey.... He was being held by green 8 (Gibson), he struck out...

..Green 9 (not sure who he is) came flying in with the tackle to get Youngs off Gibson...

Initial penalty was against green 8 (Gibson) for holding onto Youngs, penalty was then reversed for the apparent striking that Youngs (grey 9) dished out....

Green 9 was not spoken too, or punished...

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Stubby March 30, 2012 2:05 pm

Yellow for Gibson for being a cheating douchebag.
Penalty for the Youngs for striking Gibson.
Reverse penalty to Green 9 for attacking Youngs.

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kentish exile March 30, 2012 4:48 pm

Three wrongs make a right ;-)

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MattyP March 30, 2012 7:11 pm

I thought that the most interesting part was that Allinson, arguably a "third man in" - which is most refs will award a straight red for - wasn't mentioned. The third man in is what often escalates these things from the type of incident Pretzel mentioned above - we've all been there many time - to the big all-in, hence refs crack down hard on it, justifiably, in order to keep order. Allinson involved himself right in front of the AR too. Staggered it wasn't factored into the outcome of this incident.

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Andyboy March 30, 2012 9:46 pm

Yellow card for all 3 players involved.

Refs and TJ's - get a grip and front up to making tough decisions.

As for having the "right" to punch someone in the face, why should you have the "right" to do something on a rugby field that you would not have the right to do on the street (barring self-defence) without prosecution?

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 10:22 pm

ice hockey, mma, ufc, boxing etc all allow what would be classed as assault to occur during a game/bout...

I think people (myself included) wish for a sort of clause which would allow a little more leniency due to the external influences of the situation. Or at least stop grabbing onto situations which would have been ignored 5+ years ago...

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quins1 April 11, 2012 4:05 pm

allinson lost it there

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trousershorts April 24, 2012 4:19 am

"That's just two scrumhalves having a conversation." Gotta love rugby announcers!

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