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Ben Flower red card for vicious punches


Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper


Why you should always tackle low


Southland sensational try after big bump

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quade Cooper suspended for one week for dangerous hit on Berrick Barnes

Quade Cooper will miss the Reds' playoff match against the Sharks next weekend following a dangerous tackle he made on Waratahs back Berrick Barnes. He received a yellow card at the time, and has since been suspended for one week.

A lengthy SANZAR judicial hearing took place earlier today, ruling the Wallaby flyhalf out of next week's clash against the Sharks, which will determine who progresses to the semi final stage.

Cooper pleaded not guilty to the charge of a dangerous tackle on Barnes, who is well known to have suffered from head issues in the past, to the point of retiring from the game temporarily.

"It was something I certainly didn't want to hear (the suspension). I was looking forward to playing this weekend. I'm pretty disappointed but I have total faith in my teammates and our game plan and believe they'll get the job done," said Cooper.

SANZAR judicial officer Paul Tully said that Cooper had made principle contact with the chest of Barnes, but that he also made contact with the neck, which made it a dangerous tackle, in contravention of Law 10.4 (e). 

"There is no doubt Quade makes a difference for us," said Reds coach Ewen Mckenzie, who insisted that despite the loss of the influential Wallaby, the team will do okay without him.

"But Quade has played in three games and we've won 11 and we're in the finals. We've had to do a lot of it without Quade, anyway, and we're still there."

The Reds will need to slot either Mike Harris or Ben Lucas into the number ten role, a position they have both occupied earlier in the season when Cooper was injured. 

The Sharks aren't without disappointment themselves, as fullback Pat Lambie will miss the game with an ankle injury, and Springbok center Francois Steyn is ineligible due to being a late in the season recruit, signed by the Sharks after the April 1 transfer deadline. 

View quick highlights of the Reds vs Waratahs match here

Do you think a one week suspension is fair, or was a yellow card sufficient?

Posted at 12:16 pm | 35 comments

Reds vs Waratahs Highlights - Super Rugby Round 18

Jamie Roberts big tackle on Berrick Barnes

Quade Cooper - Public Enemy Number One in New Zealand

Cian Healy's hit on Quade Cooper in Auckland

Quade Cooper cleared for knee in Richie McCaw's face

Sheehan big hit on Quade Cooper, & Berrick Barnes update

Quade Cooper's great try and big celebration

Fourie and Cooper suspended for dangerous tackles

Bakkies Botha big hit on Berrick Barnes at Newlands

Paddy Wallace puts in a nice hit on Berrick Barnes

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 35 comments

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Sam July 16, 2012 2:44 pm

not a red card offence, therefore ban isnt justified. also, any chance of the Frans Steyn tip tackle from the Sharks/Cheetahs game being uploaded please?

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Delibelly July 16, 2012 2:56 pm

Harsh. Barnes was quite stooped and although it was high and probably deserved a yellow, no way does it merit a suspension.

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Eggman July 16, 2012 3:49 pm

Definetly high and yellow is deserved.. Not sure about the suspension.. Does anyone know of similar instances and what they got as punishment? Seems a bit harsh to me to also add a suspension but considering the way SANZAR etc. have been treating other "dangerous" tackles I can't say I'm all that surprised..

I hope the reds can still beat the Sharks despite the absence of Cooper. He's been playing some pretty good rugby in the last two weeks or so. If not it would be pretty embarassing for Australian rugby..

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thamesrowingclub July 16, 2012 4:07 pm

Cooper may be a jerk, but this in no way deserves a suspension. These citing commissions go too far again and again. I wonder how they even work? 5 guys in a room arbitrarily making judgements?

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sithepie July 16, 2012 4:49 pm

I think the ban was justified. Doesn't matter whether the intention is there or not, dangerous is dangerous. Shouldn't go in around the neck like that.

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Manuel July 16, 2012 5:58 pm

I agree, you guys talk about "arbitrary" citing commissions yet your comments are completely partial just like all the Australian and Kiwi commentators. Go watch the Super XV commented by a kiwi and try to find a harsh comment against Dan Carter. Go watch a Suber XV on an Australian broadcast and try to find a harsh comment against Quade Cooper. In my opinion it was high and dangerous, he had been issued a white card before and that's what gave merit for the yellow card this time.

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breakaway July 17, 2012 3:50 am

I think that most people who comment on commentators are not very impartial either. I listen to commentary from all over the world and in their own ways none of them are entirely partial.. and I have no problem with that.
On Dan Carter, I was watching a few minutes of the second Irish test only yesterday and the NZ commentator pointed out that Carter should have been penalised for going again while still being held. Maybe that's not harsh enough for you but you can't say they are never critical. Cooper has had games where he's had plenty of adverse comment from Aust commentators. And I often see stuff going on involving UK or SA players misbehaving while the home commentators tend to just stay quiet and say nothing, which is their way. It's no big deal.
As for this vid, the commentator immediately says it's high and after a bit of discussion they conclude that it was never going to be anything but high, implying that they have no problem with the cards. I think the yellow was warranted, and as his arm was swinging the ban doesn't surprise me – which doesn't mean I completely agree with it, these things seem a bit arbitrary at the moment.

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Pretzel July 17, 2012 11:47 am

"I think the yellow was warranted, and as his arm was swinging the ban doesn't surprise me – which doesn't mean I completely agree with it, these things seem a bit arbitrary at the moment."

Does that mean you support the decision of a yellow AND a ban? To me the two do NOT go hand in hand. A player should not get told to sit down for 10 minutes then get banned for a whole game later....

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breakaway July 18, 2012 7:39 am

I guess this is as good a summing up as we'll get, of what a white card is for:–
"The white card will be helpful in instances where a referee thinks an act of foul play has occurred but is not sure if a red card is warranted, or is unsure of the identity of a player," explained SANZAR game manager Lyndon Bray.
So presumably the ref saw enough of the incident to feel that a yellow was warranted, but he suspected it might be worse than it looked from where he was standing and so asked Sanzar to have a closer look. Sanzar had a look and decided it was worse than a yellow so the only option they had was a minimum ban.
I'm OK with the yellow, but IMO it wasn't so bad as to need a ban. The problem is that a red to a key player can have such a major effect on a game that refs are, and rightly so, reluctant to give it. At least with a yellow and a ban you'll still have a full team on the field next game.
But no system is ever going to be perfect or satisfy everyone, as this result shows, but I don't think it's either a major let-off or a great injustice. In the end, if you make a messy and dangerous tackle you're pushing your luck.

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Pretzel July 19, 2012 2:12 pm

The problem is I actually like seeing a team punished for their players bad play. Therefore why should we enforce the individuality of the players in a team game. I just think that the referee should be given the tools to not be forced into giving a unwarranted red card or to NOT giving a red card when it IS warranted. Lets say quade went in, swinging arm to the head after maybe having a tussle with barnes so it was clearly deliberate, but the referee didn't see it properly..would it be fair to ignore it somewhat because Quade is a key player (losing any player is bad, but your 10!!!)... see what I mean??

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breakaway July 20, 2012 1:14 am

I agree on teams being punished on the day for a player's foul play and I haven't said that anything should be ignored. If the ref thinks that what he saw deserves red then he should give it no matter who the player is. But if he's not sure it deserves a red then he should take care that he doesn't make a potentially game changing decision which on review looks unnecessary. Refs are only human and it seems to me that the white card is to give the ref a bit of flexibility in such situations. Here, the ref knew it was at least a yellow but suspected he hadn't seen everything so he also gave the white to say it should be reviewed. It's easy to say in hindsight that it should've been a red, but in the real world I reckon the outcome here is ok.

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Pretzel July 21, 2012 11:48 pm

I think this outcome was fine from the ref side of things but it was no way a ban. This is why I think the white card should be a video referee informational card. Where the referee can ask for a quick tip on the incident... The retrospective bs is nuts.. If the banning bunch deemed this a ban then they deem it as a red card, in which sense the reds would have lost their 10 and COULD have lost the match, so is it fair on the tah's?

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WillBrowne1 July 16, 2012 8:26 pm

yellow card yes but suspension obviously not and if you think so your from new zealand

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kevin July 16, 2012 8:27 pm

think yellow and one match ban is fair. It was high and dangerous.
No need for red or 4 match ban or anything like that....
but to be fair, he injured barnes through an illegal tackle. and a one match ban is justified. it's only one match!

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Guy July 16, 2012 10:28 pm

The following is part of the verdict in this case. I took it from another website:

"Mr Cooper's record is unblemished save for a two-week suspension in 2010. He has played Super Rugby for the past six years as well as a significant number of Test matches for Australia during this time.

"It is also a matter of significance that the SANZAR Rules allow consideration be given to the importance of games to be played during the Super Rugby Finals Series and as such, this has been taken into account as a mitigating circumstance.

"It follows that Quade Cooper is suspended from all forms of Rugby for one week up to and including the 21st of July 2012."

Am I the only one that thinks this ruling is arbitrary? A suspension two years ago is a mitigating factor? It wasn't in Haskells case recently... And since when is the importance of the next few matches a mitigating factor? Obviously in the SANZAR rulebook. But I have never heard of such a thing in the IRB rules.

These things are becoming more and more confusing to me. Any opinions on this subject?

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Pretzel July 16, 2012 10:34 pm

I would love some replies to this comment, I want to know what you all think in terms of:

"who has the more educated opinions?" In reference to this situation, is it the referee or the judicial banning bunch?

I mean, the referee is the man on the ground, is he just a "soldier" and the banning bunch are the "generals"?

I mean as a "fan" I see this tackle and think "meh, yellow card will suffice".. or a yellow at most...

So obviously I think Walsh made a right choice. But a BAN says to me that the player was not correctly punished, i.e it should have been a red...

Then it's "well the referee has real time, one shot to choose from, so he might make a mistake" but a banning bunch get all shots all angles etc etc etc....

So in reality all I see is inconsistencies... And again, the white card, what is it really for? Would the citing commissioner NOT look at that incident if a white card had NOT been shown?

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Guy July 16, 2012 10:59 pm

To be honest: I am getting a strong feeling that the white card is actually making referees worse. They will be less eager to issue a red card and they will let the citing commission deal with the matter.

Actually it is hard to blame them; every time the ref makes a bad call that has a remote influence on the final outcome of the match, they never hear the end of it. A white card in combination with any other colour is not a good thing; referees should be sure of the decisions they make.

There is one situation though when I think the white card might work. For example in the last 10 minutes of a World Cup Final when a player underneath a pile complains that he is being eye-gouged.

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Pretzel July 17, 2012 2:43 am

To me the white card just seems totally pointless UNLESS it is used to voice a players complaint (as you said) for instance a player gets up and says "referee I've been gouged/bitten/raped/poked" etc, the referee can say "ah ok, well chances are it may have been missed by the citing commissioner so I'll let him know that you want to have a moan about it"... Therefore narrowing down a particular complaint, or just highlighting it, not saying "well I don't want to take the flak for a shitty decision, so I'll cop out"...

In my opinion, all the white card has really done is highlight the individual aspect of the game and taken away the team aspect of the game. Last time I checked a red card is pretty embarrassing, but lets face it, if you get one, the hard work is over, you can be first in the shower, not worry about getting dressed on a wet floor, be first in the bar (not quite, but you know what I mean)... the real punishment is on the rest of the team who have to actually play harder to make up for the gap you left... (therefore your ill discipline has damaged your team).

To everyone else: I'm not suggesting this is worth a red card, I'd say a yellow at most. Those of you saying "a ban is fine because Barnes was injured" Don't be so ridiculous, this was nothing more than a high tackle that caused an injury, I have seen FAR nastier spear tackles/high tackles, that have caused nothing more than the player to go "oooouch" and milk it some...

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j man July 17, 2012 1:11 am

Had barnes stood up to take the tackle , cooper would have caught him nicely around the shoulders and doubled him back at the knees . this could have been coopers intention . or maybe he 's just a dick . Honestly its hard to say . Ref called it a pen straight away , he was on the spot . I d like to leave to him . A system where repeat offenders get punished would be welcomed by me , and would remove a lot of guess work by refs and siting boards . Hello rd !

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Chris July 17, 2012 2:05 am

First off, does anybody know if Barnes is OK? I know the commentators touched on his history a bit but wouldn't want to see his career end because of this.

Secondly, on SI.com it said that "His judiciary hearing in Brisbane on Monday lasted almost five hours." 5 HOURS??!!??! WHAT?!?!?! To debate this hit? It shouldn't have lasted 5 minutes! What did they have to talk about for 5 hours!

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HeavyHooker July 17, 2012 2:28 am

Where is he ducking into the hit? Barnes catches the ball in a partial crouch with knees bent takes two steps in that position and gets hit. Cooper lined him up wrong and to somehow blame the ball carrier for causing the hit means whenever you catch a ball you have to go in upright and straight. Give me a break and give your head a shake.

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PiratesRugby July 17, 2012 2:38 am

The tribunal acknowledged that the hit was primarily in the chest. The fact that it hit the neck too made it dangerous. No mention of hit on the chin or to the head. I fail to see what the danger is. It wasn't a clothesline type of tackle. It was a hit to the chest that made a bit of contact with the neck too. Berrick Barnes didn't suffer a neck injury. He was groggy after the hit but that could have happened if the tackle were perfect.
I'm not a fan of Cooper's but I reckon he's been shafted on this one. He copped the yellow and now the ban. I reckon it should have been play on. Hits like this happen in the fprwards all the time and it is play on. Barnes is a good little bloke but he's got no chin now that he has suffered so many head knocks.

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Pretzel July 17, 2012 1:58 pm

I suppose the danger is that the tackle was ON the neck, you say the hit was primarily in the chest, but not solely in the chest.. therefore the rest of the tackle is on the neck/head... Is that acceptable? Can was say 51% on the chest, and 49% on the neck is a fair tackle? Seeing as those stats would say "primarily on the chest", what about 49% on the chest and 51% on the neck, pretty much the same, not much difference between the two but now its primarily on the neck....

For the record I don't think he should have been banned, however a penalty or yellow card, is fair enough. I don't have an issue with hard "higher up" tackles, but I can draw the line between a higher up tackle and a high tackle...

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j man July 17, 2012 2:41 am

Thats "citing" boards , sorry

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j man July 17, 2012 2:51 am

A mis understanding,I did not mean to blame the runner . I just pointed out , that I thought cooper was reading the body movements of his opponent , as he would have wanted to make the hardest or most dramatic of hits .This would have been achieved by catching barnes across the middle chest with his shoulder .
It was a thin line . Penalty .Done

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Canadian content July 17, 2012 3:57 am

Barnes approaches this tackle in what I consider a fairly high body position, the play seemed to be a semi crash ball and most 12's come in a lot lower than that.

To me, Cooper seems to assess the situation and make a deliberate high tackle with the intention of making contact with the head or neck, if not, well that's incredibly sloppy tackling form. And to be honest, he's a wallaby teammate and I would reckon, is aware of barnes's history, a little maliciousness to this hit perhaps?

I'll never understand or agree with people who think that any dangerous tackle that could affect someone's health permanently does not merit significant punishment. Did you see Barnes when he walked off the field? is this what we want to see? should players who suffer head injuries have to be concerned they may be targetted or sloppily hit and go unpunished?

Dangerous play is bigger than the game, it affects people's lives and does no good for the sport of rugby.

I've got no problem with the punishment.

And Quade, you could have at least had a quote about your regret in injuring a teammate, instead of being upset with missing a game.

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Eggman July 17, 2012 9:25 am

Oh come on, malicious? Deliberately injuring Barnes? A bit over the top isn't it?

We don't really know yet how it has affected Barnes, but to be honest, I doubt he'll miss any game time.
And I don't blame him too much for not publicly saying how sorry he is. He's probably spoken to Barnes and apologies or sorted it out in person and is now focused on the next match (as professionals should be), and is obviously gutted that he can't play in the most important game of the season so far.

And considering Cooper's tackling technique (or lack of it) I doubt he could deliberatly do a high hit even if he wanted to ;)

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gmcco July 17, 2012 1:56 pm

You have got to be kidding! As a Tahs fan I find this to be a disgraceful outcome. Barnes is clearly ducking into it and Quade clearly gets down to try and hit Barnes across the chest. It is a contact sport. Sh** happens. Not malicious in any way and barely worthy of the yellow let alone anything else. Quade has every right to complain about missing a week.

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stroudos July 18, 2012 8:34 am

CC - seriously? Yeah, I'd have liked to have seen a bit more concern from Cooper for his international team-mate - always enjoy watching people like the Tuilagis checking if blokes are all right after they've just flattened them - but to suggest he deliberately/maliciously tried to hurt Barnes is way over the top.

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salerugby July 17, 2012 10:38 am

Did anyone not see the SBW high tackle on Cory Jane, went unpunished! Cory Jane gets up straight away Barnes doesnt. Same offence different outcomes just because someone gets hurt the offender gets the ban.

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wallaby July 18, 2012 5:17 am

not a whole lot in that from my POV...whats interesting here is that because coopers tackling is suspect,the reds used him at fullback on defence and from set piece for the past two seasons,hoping to keep him away from the contact and use him on counter attacking raids.but by doing so they havent addressed the issue that he has a terrible tackling techniqe.last week he was penalised for foot tripping a player!!!they need to address this cos ive watched quade since he came in as a youngster and he was a rubbish tackler then,and he still is now.hes a liability in the line,and hiding him away at the back wont make him a better tackler.as this video shows

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stroudos July 18, 2012 8:26 am

Wasps used to do the same with Cipriani. I think he defends in flyhalf position now though. A player of Quade Cooper's experience really ought to be able to tackle properly by now.

You have to admire Ronan O'Gara on this point. Possibly the worst tackler ever to play 10, but despite being steamrollered countless times, I've never seen him shirk responsibility, always gets up, dusts himself off and gets set for his next attempted tackle.

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Fan July 19, 2012 12:03 pm

Everyone knows Cooper can't tackle properly. Until he learns to, he's going to keep being a weakness in the defensive line and magnet for penalties.

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