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Monday, June 25, 2012

USA Eagles have two players red carded in loss to Italy in Houston

Italy defeated the USA Eagles 30-10 in front of an impressive record crowd in Houston over the weekend. Unfortunately for the home side, they lost two players to red cards for dangerous tackles, which had a significant impact on the match.

The BBVA Stadium hosted a crowd of 17 214 fans on Saturday, a record for a single day of rugby in the United States. It was also the first ever meeting of the two sides on US soil.

Italy scored three tries through Carlo Festuccia, Edoardo Gori, and Kris Burton, and led 20-10 at halftime. Paul Emerick scored the USA's only try, but was the second of two players to be red carded by French referee Jerome Garces, for what he deemed to be dangerous tackles.

Andrew Suniula was blown up for a late hit on Riccardo Bocchino early in the second half, and then Emerick received his marching orders for diving into a tackle with little use of the arms.

"I thought the first one was a little harsh," said new USA coach Mike Tolkin of the Suniula tackle.

"The second one, I still haven't seen clearly, so I'll look at that again, but the first one, certainly a late hit, (but) I didn't think it merited a red card."

Eagles scrumhalf Mike Petri said the crowd at the game was incredible.

"The atmosphere was absolutely electric. It was like being overseas. Everybody always talk about how rugby's not really catching on here, and we don't get the crowds and everything else, but tonight it felt like there were definitely 16 people on the field for America."

Ironic comments, considering they ended the game with 13. Todd Clever summed up what some were feeling best however, with his sharp comment to Garcis after the second sending off.

Do you think the red cards were a bit harsh, or fair decisions for such tackles?

Credit: Universal Sports

Posted by Rugbydump at 2:58 pm | View Comments (100)

Romain Poite and other refs take some big knocks

Xavier Rush sees red for tackle on Courtney Lawes

Shocking spear tackle by Paul Emerick on Olly Barkley

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 100 comments

Ruggernut June 25, 2012 7:11 pm

Sorry but those are two shocking decisions by the ref. Both yellow I could understand but the first one, there's nothing wrong with the tackle it's just late. And the second one was hardly dangerous. Late and no arms. We see yellow and nothing more for those which happen fairly often. USA can feel very hard done by with those decisions and can feel very pleased that they only conceded ten points throughout the whole of both red card periods.

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browner June 27, 2012 1:33 pm

Ruggernut, IMO you're missing the point . It matters not how many times we see 'similar' things go unpunished .

The IRB 'deliberately' identified "tackles that start low then end up high" ie, through the face neck area as being dangerous

Fact 1 Players are becoming more 'pumped/bulky"
Fact2 More tackles are knocking people out than in the history of RFU

It was started with the south sea islanders in mid 90's, and it's become a disease that has to stop

On most occassions there is no attemp to recover the ball-just to smash the carrier.

We must erradicate this from the game, before players at all levels suffer serious injury.

Try and look at the bigger picture...i like your posts normally.

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Pretzel June 27, 2012 3:06 pm

I think you might:

1. Be in the wrong sport
2. Be watching a different video..

First tackle apart from being late was fine.. It was chest high and watch both of Suniula's arms, they both "attempt to wrap".. (and as far as I have been told, the player only needs to ATTEMPT to wrap!)

"On most occassions there is no attemp to recover the ball-just to smash the carrier." - Is there a law in rugby which states that the tackler must attempt to recover the ball? Is there a law in rugby which states that given the opportunity players must NOT smash other players (Houggard v Lima hospital pass incident)...

This tackle after watching it a few times is only ever a yellow at most.. I did not see anything dangerous about it, OTHER than the fact the ball was long gone and therefore the kicker would be technically unaware of being hit. It was an aggressive hit created through frustration and therefore a "sit down for 10 minutes" would have been a perfect outcome...

I'm sure we will all agree that no one wants to see players injured, let alone seriously injured, however the nature of the sport is such that injuries can and will occur. There is a very fine line between spoiling the sport and making it comfortably safe. Rock climbing and parachute jumping are not exactly "safe" past times... but should we limit rock climbers to small indoor climbing centre walls with large safety mats underneath? And Parachutists to mere 1 metre jumps? Or would that perhaps cross the line?

Stamping out foul play (such as extremely late hits such as the first one) is fair enough, I don't believe that instance of foul play was red card worthy personally, but stamping out hard hits because people TRY to hit hard is daft..

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Ruggernut June 29, 2012 3:08 pm

Fair enough. I suppose they were reckless tackles and were dangerous but I still feel that a red is a harsh decision. But then again I've always been against the red cards and like to see them as little as possible.
To the letter of the law I can see that these could be red but I feel a yellow card would have been good enough. Maybe even give a yellow and then warn both sides that any more would result in a red.

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paimoe June 25, 2012 7:15 pm

First was a yellow for being 2 weeks late, yeah.

Second was probably a red, well, yellow or red, I wouldn't complain about either.

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Eggman June 25, 2012 7:23 pm

Red definately too harsh on the first one.. I think there are some referees who wouldn't have even shown yellow but had only given a penalty.. THough yellow is debatable.

Second one I think yellow would've done it too, though i guess you could argue for a red, though it's a very harsh call..

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GlenEyreLostBoy June 25, 2012 7:27 pm

Too seriously poor decisions there, neither were red, yellow for both...

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Matt June 25, 2012 7:31 pm

Both Yellow.

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Neil June 25, 2012 7:34 pm

I thought first was a good decision, the guy had no need to make the 'tackle' and had plenty of time to pull out of it,and he made no attempt to wrap his arms, shoulder charge. Dangerous play.

I thought second was harsh, yellow maybe, but no more.

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Manuel June 25, 2012 7:54 pm

The guys was blinded by his teammate while running for the tackle

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moddeur June 25, 2012 7:34 pm

First tackle a bit late and shoulder charge => depending on prior penalties is penalty or yellow (red only if they had been doing that all match long)
Second tackle is a double elbow charge with no intention of wrapping the arms, yellow (or red if repeated similar tackles)

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Andrew June 25, 2012 7:34 pm

Two completely outrageous decisions. Had they have been made in a more serious game they're would have been uproar. I know late and no-binding tackles are illegal but by no means punishable by red cards.

Two poor decisions.

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GiggityGoo June 25, 2012 7:34 pm

1st one borderline between just a pen and a YC, 2nd one YC. Red cards were laughable

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moddeur June 25, 2012 7:35 pm

On a side note, great to see the game come to the US! One day Americans will see the light and stop watching that parody of a sport (the one with forward passes).

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Joost NL June 26, 2012 11:24 am

Yea, I thought that as well! USA rugby, nice!

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TJpaterson June 25, 2012 7:36 pm

I think that was two harsh decisions by the referee.. GlenEyreLost by I hope that you are part of halls in SOTON.

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moddeur June 25, 2012 7:37 pm

bis repetita: red cards should be commuted into 30mn exclusions

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AC June 25, 2012 7:40 pm

Personlly I think red is harsh for both and I'd like to think if I were refereeing it I'd have given yellows instead. Not sure either were dangerous or intended to injure the ball-carrier (or kicker in the first - as paimoe said - the ball went 2 weeks earlier!) so I think red is unfair on both counts

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Fredstr June 25, 2012 7:45 pm

My problem with the decisions is the referee seems to base his decision on the injury caused to the player rather than the actual offence itself.

The first is a good hard hit, but it is too late, punishable by a penalty and debateably yellow card due to the lateness of the hit. Clearly the player is in a good deal of pain and the ref saw that as a red card offence based on that.

The second I think is a yellow but the problem for Emerick was the fact the player slowed and was looking to pass which lead to him hitting him at an angle with no arms. The player was again hurt badly so a red card was issued.

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Shergar June 25, 2012 9:36 pm

ummm italian in a lot of pain...... ;)

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Guy June 25, 2012 11:39 pm

Well, actually I do believe this one really IS in pain ... ;-)

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browner June 27, 2012 1:37 pm

It's the impact above the shoulder / throat level that is the issue here ....... accordingly both are definate red

read the injury facts ..... cause "high tackle" that ended up through the 'neck area'

we need to erradicate this ....

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jwitwer June 25, 2012 7:55 pm

Is there a highlight video anywhere?
(or full match)

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p-unit June 25, 2012 7:58 pm

First is a late spear tackle, red maybe harsh, the second has nothing to do with rugby at all. And they wonder why there are so many groin injuries in Amarican Football.

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Karl June 27, 2012 9:10 am

You don't know what a spear tackle is. A spear tackle is where the player's head is driven into the ground. If the player still had the ball it would have been a legitimate tackle.

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BW3007 June 25, 2012 8:20 pm

i would argue for red on both, they are both late with no arms could argue that usually a yellow for a late tackle and a yellow for a shoulder charge would equal a red as they were at the same time. the second one is particularly stupid as he already knew that one of his guys had been sent off! emerick does have a history of bad tackles though.

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Dave June 25, 2012 8:30 pm

Yeah, Israel Dagg picked up a yellow for his late hit, and the first red here was certainly no later (or more dangerous). The second one also looked worse than it was, I think, because of how he was bounced out of the tackle by his own teammate, so he never completed the wrap he was attempting with his right arm.

Agree with comments that you can't give cards based on how hurt the player got.

Tough result lads. Great run out though. Next time.

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NZ rugger June 25, 2012 8:47 pm

It is hard to stop when you are committed at full pace. Probably yellow cards but definitely not red card offenses.

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mr lif June 25, 2012 9:06 pm

First guy went in hard with with no arms, would have been a yellow if the Italian had hold of the ball, bumped up to red without.
Second, I would have gone for a yellow but red was within the laws: no arms is properly dangerous and deliberate dangerous play is a red card.

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Pretzel June 25, 2012 9:09 pm

Actually moddeur said it first, it depends what the previous offences were... If the referee had been throwing around warnings all night then it would make it less shocking... however, those were too appalling decisions in my opinion.

The first tackle... lets face it, it was bad, I mean there is "oh I" and there is just blatantly bullshit late... that was definitely the latter... but is it red card worthy? No... I'd say yellow actually.. I'd justify that because when a player does something as crazy as that he is obviously frustrated and could be deemed to have lost his head.. Give him a ten minute sit down to calm down and to get his head in order.

The second tackle... He sort of wrapped...penalty only..

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yaheim June 25, 2012 9:15 pm

if you were disciplined, you wouldn't make dick tackles like that.. i'd say red card everyone.. if you are playing professionally obviously you should be fit- and have the right mind to stay focused in the game.. this is why people get injured because of reckless people.. which is typical, because when you're losing a game, you automatically lash out because you're angry, look at ireland.. they got destroyed by the all blacks but none of them were dirty..

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Guest - Ordy June 25, 2012 9:21 pm

It's dependent on the context of the game, but I can understand a red card for the first offence. It's very late, no arms and on first look (which is all the ref has, remember, no replays), it seems like there is intent to hurt the guy via an illegal hit. Under those circumstances, I can understand a red card, especially if something happened earlier in the game to aggravate the decision.

As for the second incident, again, there's no arms and on first glance it looks like there's intent by Emerick to hurt the guy illegally (you don't run at a guy forearm first if you're not intending to hurt him). I didn't think it was late. If he'd gone low and wrapped the arms it wouldn't have even been a penalty. However, with the first one being red, that sets the precedent, and I can understand the red card.

Personally, though, and with a lot more time to think than the referee gets, I would have red carded the first, because of the multiple infringements, and yellow carded the second.

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Shergar June 25, 2012 9:42 pm

with the benefit of hindsight - something a ref doesnt have - the first is a penalty only - he was coming round the corner created by a player and committed - head down before the impact - the Italian made the most of that.

The second - definately a yellow - he wrapped with one arm and charged with the second - no effort at all to wrap up despite pleas to the contrary - but not any more dangerous than any other shoulder that only gets a yellow!

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Pretzel June 25, 2012 10:10 pm

Oh come on, I am in no way condoning the red cards, but to say the first one was penalty only because he was committed is nuts...

Times gone by in lower leagues with less switched on referee's I used to be wearing the 7 shirt and pull out some of those "late but committed" tackles on the opposition fly half.. I know a deliberate hit when I see one. That was frustration taking its toll... I'd have stuck with nothing or a penalty max if he had been a metre closer but he was miles away, that was definitely a yellow..

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Johan June 25, 2012 9:35 pm

These two hits were rank amateur play. This is a deliberate attempt to play the man and not the ball. You can not expect to win at world class rugby when you play at a club level.
Concentration and fitness is what makes you win. When you are focused on the game and momentum, there is no time for this piss poor angry rugby. play hard and play fast with your eye on the ball. Rugby has changed and if the lower teams will not keep up with the Super 15 mentality, you will remain a lower level team.

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AndyB June 25, 2012 9:48 pm

I was at the match in person (and I'm also a referee). The Suniula hit was very obviously late, and I can see how Garces went with red. I wasn't surprised when the card came out, nor were any of the folks sitting around me. It could have been yellow, sure, but that's a judgment call on the part of the ref. The Italian stayed down for quite some time, so I assumed it was a pretty serious injury (he was pretty defenseless when the hit came on), but he ended up playing the remainder of the match with no problems, so draw your own conclusions there.

Emerick's hit was a clear yellow, at least (was difficult to see from our seats, but the replay shows him leading with the elbow high). Again, judgment call for the referee.

Though both calls could have gone yellow, and were a bit harsh in my book, neither was shocking, and the Eagles can't complain about the consequences of their reckless play. Had they played more disciplined rugby, this would have had the makings of a terrific match. Garces was mediocre, and I thought missed Italian infringements in the scrum and defensive line, but he isn't the reason the match went the way it did.

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avid rugger June 25, 2012 10:56 pm

im sorry to say if you are a referee and agree the Suniula it was a red then you need to read the law book. A late tackle deserves a yellow sure but to give a red card for a perfect form tackle that was a tad late well thats just inexperience on the refs part. The IRB will review the film and hopefully force Garces to ref less important matches. I was sitting next to a group of italians at the game who told me themselves they thought the ref was partially bias. He was clearly having a power trip.

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AndyB June 26, 2012 4:08 pm

Got the Law book right here with me (always do).

Law 10.4(e) [FOUL PLAY] Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.

Law 10.5(a) [SANCTIONS] Any player who infringes any part of the Foul Play Law [LAW 10] must be admonished, or cautioned and temporarily suspended for a period of ten minutes’ playing time, or sent-off.

It's beyond question that Suniula's tackle was extremely - not a tad - late, and dangerous because the player was in a defenseless position. He never got a full wrap, but I think that was more due to the severity of the hit. That said, he's infringed under 10.4(e), which puts him in the realm of 10.5(a) and subject to admonishment, suspension or sending off. When he chose to engage in the foul play, he made himself responsible for any sanction that the referee in his judgment deemed appropriate.

Were it me in the middle, at full speed and without benefit of replay, I am probably going yellow (had the tackled player been with ball, I think it would probably be play on), but I can easily see how Garces was thinking red. It was, at best, reckless play, and more probably cynical and professional.

As I said before, Garces wasn't great, and I think the Americans were probably frustrated that the Italians were getting away with infringements at the scrums, but the way to handle that is not to play with ill discipline, which brings the referee's decisions into play.

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luigi bocchino June 26, 2012 4:30 pm

Andy, can i contact you to have a description of the match? I am an Italian supporter and there was no way for us to watch the match. If yes, please let me know at Regards

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luigi bocchino June 26, 2012 4:32 pm

Andy, can i contact you to ask some questions about how the match went? there was no video coverage here in italy. Please let me know at Many thanks

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pinkers June 25, 2012 10:09 pm

Don't understand what the debate is in relation to the first tackle, its a very very late (yellow card offence), shoulder charge, (another yellow card offence), more akin to american football and there is a clear intention to hurt. It can only be a red card.

The second one, I'm not sure about but red or yellow, its on a knife-edge

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POCandROG June 25, 2012 10:29 pm

Bad sportsmanship by Emerick,you watch all other top class international and club and when a player is carded,they walk off and thats it,meanwhile,Emerick is crying like a call and Clever gets smart with the ref,in the words of Nigel Owens "This is not soccer"..

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Guy June 25, 2012 10:37 pm

Not a big fan of cards myself but the ref has to make a split second decision based on what he can see only once, instead of the multiple replays from different angles we see.

Would he have made another decision if he did see replays? I don't know and really I don't need to know and in this case I don't even care. Both offences were quite serious and obvious. He had to decide there and then. Besides, the second red is more or less a consequence of the first red because everybody wants referees to be consistent.

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hero June 25, 2012 11:04 pm

useless vid by a useless site

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Pretzel June 26, 2012 12:20 am

The useless members of this useless site welcome you.

Hope you enjoy your useless stay with us, you useless asshole.

Much love,

Useless me...

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macmurchu June 26, 2012 12:33 pm

Any chance we can block this fella no?

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Pretzel June 26, 2012 4:23 pm

Breaks up the monotonous NH v SH comments though I find...

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Reece June 25, 2012 11:38 pm

Both Yellows. Anything less would be poor refereeing. Anything more would be too harsh. However the reds could have been justified depending on previous offences during the match.
..... Agree??

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Canafrikaaner June 26, 2012 12:48 am

two yellows and a irb rules book too USA

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Canadian content June 26, 2012 12:49 am

Both hits, they weren't tackles, were done with nothing other than the intent to injure the opponent. The ball was gone, the player was vulnerable, the hit was executed in a no arms fashion in order to ensure as big as impact as possible, the intent was only to hurt. These decisions influence players to consider not doing them in the future, no problem with the red.

Daggs hit was careless and reckless, these were down with huge ill intent.

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Jon June 26, 2012 1:21 am

Soft as hell.
Typical of a French ref. There are so many cards in the T14 for what would considered nothing more than a penalty anywhere else, it's ridiculous.
Yellow perhaps for the first since the ref seemed to think it was deliberate. But two reds?
This is not soccer.
One of the worst things about the game of soccer is the cards being flashed around all the time and the way the ref can ruin a game with them.
This ref should be banned from international matches. If he wants to ruin French league games fine, stay out of the international game.

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Lachlan June 26, 2012 1:21 am

I thought the diving Italians were still in the Eurocup, I didn't know they flew over to the USA! All jokes aside, I do agree with most commenters on here saying they were clear late hits. However, I can't seem to justify in my own mind how these could be considered Red Cards. If this had been a tri-nations or six nations match, you would've seen a yellow and that would have been the end of it. I don't know if it's because it was a friendly between two mid-tier sides that won't be analyzed by the BBC or Supersport, but I feel like the IRB should really look at their refs and expect them to hold every team with the same expectations, regardless of what int'l competition they participate in or where they sit on the international ladder.

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Jon June 26, 2012 1:30 am

In the Super 15, these would be penalties at most, nothing more. The second would probably just be let go.
This is soft. Typical of a french ref.

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Alwat June 26, 2012 2:22 am

Both yellow. Referees are going over the top & treating rugby like a nanny state. Crazy.

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Sydney Subby June 26, 2012 4:06 am

Ignoring the legality of the hit, the Italians were clearly milking these tackles. I'm not saying the hits wouldn't have hurt, but in the first tackle the Italian player behaves as if he is unconscious, despite being hit in the chest. This is typical of Italian rugby players, who have obviously been influenced by their national sport.

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Lucius July 02, 2012 6:15 pm

I'm italian and your comment deserve a red card: did you play rugby before this comment? Did you ever got a side hit (running) like that? I hope not. It's a huge hit, even if no one goes to the hospital or goes back home witout a serious injury. And the first call I admit was a bit of a harsh call and should be a yellow, but the second one is a clear red, no doubt. And harsh or not, Usa players involved were years late...

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ScotinMelb June 26, 2012 4:06 am

Im usually against good hard hits being punished by over the top reffing, and having played at a reasonble level it can be difficult to always wrap arms and maintain the wrap when the player (or you) bounces off the shoulder, even when directed low but these hits are tired, lazy, frustrated and late aimed at trying to hurt the player, no doubt. Its these kind of tackles that need to be stamped out to allow the big, legal, player stopped in his tracks (and wrapped) tackles that often get punished wrongly, and that we all enjoy seeing.

Red is harsh, but theres no place for it in the game and the threat of yellow for hurting someone isnt enough of a deterrent (speaking from experience Im afraid).

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breakaway June 26, 2012 4:07 am

In a top level comp pretty much anywhere in the world these hits, in isolation, would both be yellow. If he'd given a yellow for the first and a general warning to both sides, then I wouldn't argue with a red for the second. By giving a red for the first hit the ref left himself nowhere to go for the second one.

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Juggernauter June 26, 2012 4:38 am

First one in my opinion was yellow. It was humourosly late but the tackler was commited so you just give him a harsh warn and let the game resume.

On the second, we all know Paul Emerick is a thug (remember that homicidal spear tackle on Olly Barkley in the 2007 world cup?) and he basically launched himself into the ball carrier. No arms, yellow. Let the game continue.

Please refs, let us play.

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rickjamescanada June 26, 2012 6:24 am

The first red was unwarranted, a yellow at worst, even for the late tackle. Reds, in all honesty, should be shown when a dangerous tackle occurs, and yellows for less serious offences.
The second red- the timing of the tackle wasn't a problem, however Emerick didn't use arms in the tackle, so a yellow should have been shown there.

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Nursedude June 26, 2012 6:28 am

I think the Eagles showed a lot of promise in the June Tests.

I felt both reds were justified. He was a minutes late, and when a guy has just kicked, he really is in a vulnerable position. In the second one, Emmerick(who scored a nice try in the first half) did not wrap up the ball carrier. It might have passed muster in the NFL, but I think in Rugby that was a dangerous hit-and I am saying that as a USA Eagles fan. Under the way the IRB is wanting refs to make the call, the sir really had no choice.

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Frenchie June 26, 2012 8:03 am

That's how rednecks tackle I guess...ridiculous 2nd tackle! Seriously what is he doing?
Yellow for the 1st late tackle, red for the 2nd as being the second late tackle in the game and clearly dangerous (high, late, no wraping).

Oui oui!

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frico64 June 26, 2012 8:07 am

For the first , red is the best think that referee can do about a stupid and late tackle....
For the second, is the same, late tackle with arms.......
And please, don't do the same obviously comments about Italians, we are so tired of them :(

Sometimes look at yourself , thank you

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jon June 26, 2012 8:11 am

In the Southern Hemisphere these would just be penalties most likely.
Seems that the average European fan sees cards for this stuff.
Must be a very different game up there.
I guess maybe the league background for alot of southern people (where these would be just normal tackles, maybe a little late), makes us realize how ridiculous it is to say that these tackles are particularly dangerous.
The fact is that scrums are infinitely more dangerous than hits like these.

Or maybe it's the soccer thing in Europe, where cards are just part and parcel of the game, where people are used to refs having such an influence on the game?

I see these hits and I see two penalties, for late hits. nothing more.

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frico64 June 26, 2012 8:32 am

I don't like soccer, I look at rugby, with pleasure, when I see a correct game, with tackle but CORRECT, not intentionally.
The rules of the games are the same in Southern and Northern emisphere I think......

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Lorcan June 26, 2012 8:14 am

Tackles too much like American Football and don't even get me started on the commentators....

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GetEd June 26, 2012 11:53 am

Well, don't get me started on you...

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ellonbiker June 26, 2012 8:36 am

Quite apart from the argument over whether or not the cards were warranted, my own view was yellow then yellow/red by the way, something has to be done about these guys play acting like footballers.............

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Alistair June 26, 2012 8:54 am

The first one was a shoulder and it was years late, like that South African that got done for nailing Wilkinson back in the day I think that's a fair red card.

The second one I'm not so sure, it's only fractioanlly late, so could claim legitiamte commital, and I think Emerick does make an attempt to wrap with one arm but comes in so high, at such speed and with his other arm in no position to wrap that he bounces the Italian off, From the refs perspective though he can't see the arm trying to wrap so it looks like Emerick has flown in late and high so I can see why he's given a red for what I would just deem a yellow

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philo June 26, 2012 10:34 am

Clearly 2 red cards, no discussion about that, these are the clear rules. But don't worry my US friends, entering the big world games of rugby, you will go through 3 to 4 years of lack of discipline that will cost you various games. France went through this years ago, Italy not so long ago, everyone.

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RamRugby10 June 26, 2012 11:00 am

From the refs perspective, I think what he was looking for was that the tacklers (in both instances) took JUST A LITTLE off of the hit prior to making it, after they had realized the ball was kicked/passed... Both players obviousely followed through with the tackle, which in and of itself is not that big a deal because they weren't given much time to pull out. But on top of this fact, they (if anything) lowered their shoulder even more and accelerated into the tackle after the ball was already gone. If they had just slowed down a little (still hit their man) but made it look like they were giving even just a slight attempt to withdraw, then it would be a different story, and both could have stayed on the field.

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Junk June 26, 2012 11:15 am

Red is the right choice. Both are two dangerous tackles, made ??late, without opening arms and without accompanying ground. Rugby is not football!

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johndoe June 26, 2012 12:22 pm

I guess you could give either a red, technically, as they are bad tackles. I probably wouldn't have given either though. A yellow for each...

I know intention shouldn't be judged, but I wonder if that had an influence. It looked like both USA players just wanted to nail their opposition, ball or not.

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9to15 June 26, 2012 12:44 pm

Stick to NFL!!! simples!

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wazza June 26, 2012 12:45 pm

BOTH YELLOW!! The first one should be 2-3 week ban the sencond one should be 3-4 weeks ban.

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AndyB June 26, 2012 4:12 pm

If you think a ban is warranted, then you are acknowledging that the red cards were the right decision.

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Dazza June 26, 2012 1:07 pm

Both were worth a yellow, but reds are harsh. No intent to cause injury in either case. Neither were above shoulder height. Another power hungry ref!

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Will.F June 26, 2012 2:21 pm

Pity about the two red cards, though I'm no expert so can't say whether they're too harsh or not.

What I CAN do is echo the others in this thread who are excited to see the sport growing in the U.S. Love to see international rugby in the States, and I hope the crowds keep getting bigger!

A win from the Eagles eventually would be nice, too. Baby steps : ).

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Rich June 26, 2012 2:57 pm

I think ordinarily they would give a yellow for the first tackle, looks very similar to cynical hits on wilko in times gone by but even they at least attempted to wrap the arms! I think the red was forced to give it a red by the comical lateness of the tackle, hes rounding a player as hes in the act of kicking, goes unnecessarily high and without arms. Shows its a deliberate foul - professional foul.

I agree the second one may ordinarily be a yellow, but it looks like a blockers challenge from the NFL, in no way a rugby tackle. It is premeditated (had him in his sights for along time) and has intent to imjure, he forces the referees hand especially after giving out a earlier red. The ref has a very clear view of Emerick charging across to give the poor guy a late wrestle to the face!

Good to see the yanks have got some roid boys in their team.

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Guest June 26, 2012 3:44 pm

The 1st was a yellow, great hit but late. The second was a definite red. It was late, high and a complete body check when it was an easy position to put in a fair, crunching tackle.

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luigi bocchino June 26, 2012 4:06 pm

both late tackles, both shoulder charges, both dangerous play: the rule is very clear, that is a red, fullstop.

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Raoulito June 26, 2012 5:09 pm

First, i'm french and not a big fan of Mr Garces...
During 40 years, Refs who spoked english (south afrcians are not in my list) have teached to us, frog eaters, to follow the rules, with an always feared weapon, the Red card. And now i read some of you and i can't stop laughing, "typical french refering" ...come on!!! You can't be serious ^^
You're in your car ,traffic light turn orange, still 50 meters to drive, a family is crossing, but're commited, light turn re, you're speeding up and BAM, you hit that family to the ground!!!! YEAH !!! that was dirty no?
Commited, a beautiful word for an awful excuse...
He is professional he heard the sound of the ball being kicked...and to make sure that no lawyer could help him, no arm....
The second one is worth to me, because he saw his teammate redcarded, and , he did it AGAIN!!! Did you see another spear tackle during the semi between wales and france after the one who send Warburton off the field?
Earlier in the match the ref said "late + no arm = red ", you can desagree, but he has the whistle, so be smart, help yourself and your team, don't do it.
And he did it AGAIN!!! come on...
Excuse my poor english, and even if it is useless, RD kicks ass!!!

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Pretzel June 26, 2012 6:22 pm

I'm not entirely sure if many of these comments are trolling comments, however it has to be said that whilst NH referee's do seem to be producing quite a few cards from time to time, the SH referee's are no angels... The NH appears to be happy to produce a yellow card for certain situations which in retrospect should have just been a penalty at most etc. The SH referee's however appear to yellow card, and white card situations regardless of the severity. I have said in the past, if a player gets a yellow card then there should be NO ban.. and on the flipside if he gets a yellow AND a ban then it SHOULD have been a red card. So my point is, there have been a few instances where SH players have received yellow and white cards, and then received subsequent bans... In other words, they SHOULD have been red carded (at least in the eyes of the law)...

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BoksKick June 26, 2012 7:07 pm

I can see why the first one was a red. It was late, dangerous and had more than a hint of malice in it.

When you consider that the US were already down a man the second red was perhaps a bit harsh but I've seen far worse calls.

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alrear June 26, 2012 7:40 pm

I agree with the ref both high and late good call

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Steve June 27, 2012 2:44 am

One yellow card one penalty.

French ref was over-reacting.

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ItalianRef June 27, 2012 8:45 am

IMHO (and I will try to be as fair as possible)

first one: sheer stupidity. red card is harsh but might be considered as a means to give a clear signal to "control" the game and that late, brutal useless tackles will not be tolerated. the blue shirt just smashes the ground and stays there motionless for a couple seconds. I thought it could be serious injury...

second one: maybe a penalty, a yellow card if the ref had a clear view of the shoulder charge with no intention of wrapping the player. definitely not a red card. ok it is slightly late but not a week or two like the first episode. funny thing is the American player on the bench trying to argue that he was wrapping the player. come on there are over 20 cameras on field nowadays who does he want to fool?

my final thought is that USA Rugby (which is growing wonderfully) should make clear training point that this is not American Football and that these episodes damage your team. USA could easily have leveled the game with 15 men.
I foresee the USA (and Candada as a matter of fact) growing into quality and in the near future they will become serious opponents to the traditional teams.

last: to all those who critisize french refs: their work musn't be THAT bad if the athletes that play in TOP14 are considered among the best in the world and France achieved second place @ RWC2011...

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Pretzel June 27, 2012 9:38 am

Nice judgement of the tackles, I'd agree with that.

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Betsen June 27, 2012 1:43 pm

1st is a marginal yellow....never a red. The 2nd looked bad from the behind angle but not that bad from the front camera. Never a red card though.
I totally disagree with both decisions.

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15bettis15 June 27, 2012 6:16 pm

I think that the ref was right to send both the players off, I am sorry but this is rugby not american football, you can't just fly into tackles like both those stupid yanks did! You have to have a little bit of control when making the hit!

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Markm June 27, 2012 8:25 pm

First one seems harsh. Tackle isn't dangerous, just an hour late. Yellow for me.

Second one, fine. Touch and go as to whether it's red or yellow. I think if you were the player you would probably consider yourself a lucky boy just to get a yellow, so guess that tells us what we need to know about the hit.

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Jon June 28, 2012 1:15 am

If this had been say England vs South Africa, I guarantee you those would not be considered red card offenses.
There's no way a guy like Burger or Haskell would be given a straight red card for what was no more than a late tackle.
Other than the fact the first tackle was late, there was nothing wrong with it.
Frankly, the Italian going down and milking the penalty is bit soft too. This isn't soccer.
The second wasn't even that late. It might have been a bit of a shoulder charge, I guess a yellow at worst, but I've seen that kind of thing let go alot.
Again, if it was a Bledisloe or something it would not be a straight red card. No way in the world.

The ref was patronising the Americans, treating them more harshly than he would a different team.

And yes, French refs are too quick to reach for cards, and there are way too many cards in the T14.

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Rooster June 28, 2012 9:54 am


Just for you. England vs South Africa at Twickenham, 2002. Jannes Labuschagne being sent off for a late hit on Wilkinson.

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Pretzel June 28, 2012 12:47 pm

Commentators were right though... "It's bad, is it red?"

Yeh, it was late, bit of a shoulder charge, red card? Certainly not... Stick with the yellow...

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Pretzel June 28, 2012 12:47 pm

Commentators were right though... "It's bad, is it red?"

Yeh, it was late, bit of a shoulder charge, red card? Certainly not... Stick with the yellow...

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benlewis12 June 28, 2012 6:48 pm

Poor guys....must have thought they were in the superbowl!

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Overthrow Joe July 03, 2012 3:11 am

I think both were unlucky to see red- yellow cards would have been sufficient in each case. With the first, yeah it's late, but I feel he's being punished for the impact he's had on the player rather than the nature of the tackle- if he'd been a scrum half or winger in the Shane Williams mould coming through with a late hit exactly like that, it would have been a non issue as the player doesn't end up hurt- if the punishment is for the tardiness of the tackle rather than effect, it should be exactly that, and independent of whether the player is winded or not.
Second one- more justifiable red, but perhaps he's fallen victim to some IRB precedent setting though (although I do think this sort of low-to-high tackle is dangerous and needs to be clamped down on).
My main complaint though? The eagles captain wasn't booked for dissent after the second... Don't worry, only joking- best bit of wit I've heard since the line about tackling Dan Carter!

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Talyuli July 05, 2012 1:12 pm

If you all play rugby u should be aware about the risk of injury factor. As awkward as it may seem, a late tackle that hits a a player cleanly on the chest or abdomen area is considered, and as a doctor i can say, lighter and presents less risk of injury than that first on the shoulder of the italian player.
Plus, USA gotta understand this is not AF some of the player jst keep throwing those charges such as the second play, apparently theyre still at the line of scrimmage!

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