The Wraparound from Rugby HQ - Week 18

Richie McCaw reveals breakdown secrets

Damian de Allende big hit vs Brumbies

Inside the Pride: Rugby in Africa part 1

Horrell hit hard by Malakai Fekitoa

Rugby HQ Plays of the Month for May 2015

Henry Seniloli's showboating costs try

Sonny Bill Williams warned for big hit

Chris Lealiifano mic'd up gold

Saturday, September 08, 2012

TMO advises on Ofisa Treviranus big hit on Charlie Hodgson

Last weekend London Irish's Samoan forward Ofisa Treviranus was shown a yellow card by referee Wayne Barnes for a big tackle on Charlie Hodgson at Twickenham. The incident was referred to the TMO under the new law rulings in the Aviva Premiership.

The second of the big London Double Header games proved to be a bit of a walkover for Saracens, who thumped London Irish 40-3, which Sarries debutant Chris Ashton scoring twice, and Brad Barritt and Nils Mordt also crossing.

Flyhalf Charlie Hodgson became the first player to pass 2000 points in the Premiership, but not before he was smashed by Samoan bruiser Ofisa Treviranus in the first half.

Wayne Barnes took advantage of the new laws as he referred it to the Telivision Match Official, who confirmed that foul play had taken place, as the tackle didn't include appropriate use of the arms.

A few minutes later Saracens wing Chris Ashton was also yellow carded in a similar manner, as he stuck his shoulder into Steven Shingler after the ball has been passed.

While not everyone is in agreement about the trialing of the new laws surrounding the TMO - which includes them being able to adjudicate on forward passes in the lead up to tries, and to check if try scorers were in front of the kicker.

While there is still room for intepretaion, it looks as though the weekend showed that it could go some way to stamping out foul play, and late shoulders in particular.

What are your thoughts on the way it has been used so far, particularly around foul play?

Photo: Onside Images
Video: Premiership Rugby

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:02 am | View Comments (55)

Alafoti Faosiliva's huge hit, charge, and try against Fiji

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 55 comments

Guest September 08, 2012 7:54 pm

Shoulder charges have become something of an epidemic in rugby union of late, especially in the southern hemisphere where they are seen as a badge of merit from the commentators regardless of the legality, or indeed potential injury to the unfortunate human tackle bag. I'm glad to see the TMO being used in instances such as this. It's becoming a blight on the game enjoyed by the league converts and has to go!

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UpandAway September 09, 2012 7:37 am

You wouldn't know what a shoulder charge was even if it smashed you in the face.

This in the technique. And results from it is the reason it should be banned........... head clashes!

I'll add you to the list of referees, commentators and IRB officials who know bugger all about bugger all.

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stroudos September 09, 2012 7:48 am

Ah yes, grade 1 troll alert.

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UpandAway September 09, 2012 8:03 am

Its called using satire to point out when things are patently absurd.

The whole issue of tackling legality can be answered by simple questions;

What are the primary negative outcomes from using a specific tackling technique, what is the severity of the outcome, and what is the frequency of the negative outcome?

Spear tackling obviously leads to highly dangerous consequences such as Neck and spinal injuries. Shoulder charges (proper ones) lead to frequent ugly head clashes. "Not attempting to wrap" is an idiotic blanket approach applied by clueless people who can't differentiate between the many different tackling techniques. You're on the list too.

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stroudos September 09, 2012 11:41 am

That's your idea of satire? Jesus wept.

How do you explain the fact that the poster you laid into was making the same point as you?

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UpandAway September 09, 2012 12:15 pm

Was he really? works better if you know what a shoulder charge actually is....... and I don't think shoulder charges should be legal in union........ but when ref's and commentators use a blanket term and say someone used the shoulder and didn't wrap it shows a complete and utter lack of understanding of what should and shouldn't be allowed.

What I just saw in the video was not a shoulder charge. We had this wonderful comedy taking place where ex-players in the commentary booth were going.

"that was an enormous hit"
"No I think thats ok, his right arm's up"
"His right arm's high"
"Aww no (when hearing its a yellow card)"
"Looks bad from that angle"
"The first angle we saw the right arms lifted"
"Its very difficult to wrap your arms around when you're coming in at that speed"
"I agree, but I think we've got to the stage where its almost a bit like the tip tackle you've got to look after him, you've got to make sure your arm is wrapped around and held onto the guy"

What a complete an utter clusterf@@#$......... arm is high? Just do it because the law says so irrespective of the logic? wtf

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stroudos September 10, 2012 6:02 am

Aha, seems I misunderstood you at first, having read this and a few of your more recent comments. If you're going to use *that* much sarcasm you can't blame me entirely for getting the wrong end of the stick!

Couple of points though - most of the quotes above were uttered by Austin Healey who, entertaining as he may be, does tend to confuse himself a bit. But it seems he would agree with you (and me, by the way) that it was a fair tackle.

The other thing is "Not attempting to wrap" actually refers to the specific tackle law in rugby union. That's why the commentators go on about it. An important point that is often missed by pundits (armchair and TV ones alike) is that the law says you have to *attempt* to grasp the player. If you smash the bloke so hard that you're unable to grasp him, that doesn't make the tackle illegal.

Anyway, I should probably apologise for the trolling accusation(!), seems like we're on the same wavelength after all...

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UpandAway September 10, 2012 10:56 am

Glad we're on the level now ;-)

The not 'attempting to wrap' thing is a cop out for me.......... if you want to ban something ban it specifically......... i.e spears, high tackles, shoulder charges etc and actually educate players and the public.......... and if the IRB really wants to help they should educate players on how to cream people within the law......... Motu Matu'u could be a consultant!

Yeah I know Austin is a bit clueless............ but Dewi Morris is a lot worse........... described Henry Tuilagi's hit on Foden as a "Spear Charge"!!!!

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cheyanqui September 10, 2012 2:48 pm

Your "attempt to wrap", is not a case of "the modern game going soft".

WHILE "attempt to wrap" is not currently in the IRB lawbook, (nor do I recall it ever being in there written that way), NONETHELESS the "attempt to wrap" has been a game managment guideline for OVER TWENTY YEARS.

For example, even as far back as 1990, new players in the USA were advised that they had to wrap their arms around the ball carrier (because we come from the shoulder charging world of gridiron, lacrosse, hockey, etc.)

So say what you will about professionalism, TV rights making the game soft, but with regards to your argument, it's incorrect.

The only difference in the modern game is that this stuff is getting caught with video. Trevoranis had one arm up, but had a shoulder charge hidden on the other side.

In the old days, if the referree were standing on the tackler's left side, he would have only seen one arm wrapping, and let it go.

In the more recent days, if the TJ were watching from the right side, he would see the right arm not wrapping, but in fact throwing a "flipper" (shoulder charge).

In the current day, there is a TMO watch with spider cams, and so on.

If you want to argue that the modern game has taken away rucking ball killers off the ball at rucks, I agree with you.

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stroudos September 10, 2012 3:07 pm

@cheyanqui & @UpandAway - and anyone else who doesn't believe there is a law about attempting to grasp your opponent:

(g) Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.
Sanction: Penalty kick

UpandAway will be pleased to see it makes no mention of whipping out a yellow card for such an offence.

And to clarify my position, I think Treviranus did "try to grasp that player" - he just smashed him so hard that he was unable to actually grasp him. Having said that, I would not like to be on the receiving end of it!

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UpandAway September 10, 2012 3:51 pm

I don't think its the modern game going soft just stupidity running amok.

I strongly feel the way this is being officiated is garbage, with "attempting to wrap" being the wrong approach......... its too broad and its leaving players, fans, commentators and refs confused.

Your wrong to say that that not attempting to wrap isn't a law..... it is, just phrased differently......... "Dangerous Charging" without "trying to grasp the player".

Sometimes its should be banned such as in a side on shoulder charge.......... but other times its good technique that is square on with the arm leading but no real attempt to grasp....... for instance the example used on the IRB website should be legal IMO.

And I'm happy to point out that Treviranus at the moment of impact had his right arm forward and around Hodgson's left arm....... check 1.34 in the video.

It was brave, committed and massive..... and hopefully something the insular white boys at the IRB will try to properly understand otherwise this will now be illegal and I'm switching my allegiance 100% to mungoball as they just admit their low level of intelligence and leave the issue alone.

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stroudos September 10, 2012 4:17 pm

"Your wrong to say that that not attempting to wrap isn't a law..... it is, just phrased differently......... "Dangerous Charging" without "trying to grasp the player"."

I said there *is* a law about attempting to grasp your opponent. So I'm right. ;)

I think it's a fairly decent law, reasonably worded. Because you can't attempt to grasp a player if you're smashing him with the point of your shoulder side-on (a-la-league). So that type of tackle is consequently accounted for and deemed foul play.

Usually if you tackle from square on and at least attempt to grasp, it'll look less bad if you don't manage to actually grab the player.

That Manu Tuilagi tackle you posted was a belter. I think even David Wallace, once he could walk again, would say it was a good tackle. It was really sad that it put the kybosh on Wallace's world cup, but that doesn't make it a bad tackle, it was just really unfortunate. Some people might argue the force in it was unnecessary seeing as all Tuilagi had to do was simply shepherd the bloke into touch, but of course having been driven back 10m a minute earlier he may have wanted to impose himself and make a bit of a statement.

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cheyanqui September 10, 2012 6:01 pm

Thanks Stroudos for finding the passage... I knew that "attempting to wrap" was not written as such in Law, but "trying to grasp" clearly covers it.

But as for teaching new players the game, "attempting to wrap" has long been what coaches teach, and it has also been how referees manage the game on the day.

As for those that want to throw a shoulder into people first, they should look to playing Rugby League. They are always looking for players.

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UpandAway September 11, 2012 2:09 am

I was referring to cheyanqui, it just took me a while to verify my comment!

I knew that attempting to grasp is in the rule book, I just think its a crap rule............ thats been my entire point!

And you're massively contradicting yourself regarding the Manu Tuilagi hit.......... he did not try and and grasp whatsoever! His left arm was straight out and his left fist balled, similar technique used by his brother Henry against Foden.......... technically both are illegal......... punching the arm out which stiffens the shoulder area is not same as attempting to grasp.

So you see that by using a broad law that accounts for point of the shoulder side-on charges, you're also account for this as well.......... thats why its a crap law.

My suggestion is to specifically rule out side-on shoulder charges, like they do with spears, stiff arms and high tackles.

Wouldn't that make life a lot easier?!

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stroudos September 11, 2012 8:25 am

"And you're massively contradicting yourself regarding the Manu Tuilagi hit.......... he did not try and and grasp whatsoever! His left arm was straight out and his left fist balled, similar technique used by his brother Henry against Foden.......... technically both are illegal......... punching the arm out which stiffens the shoulder area is not same as attempting to grasp."

Henry on Foden maybe, but I don't think it makes his tackle illegal.
Manu on Wallace, notwithstanding the unfortunate knee injury, is a thing of beauty. He's got both arms round Wallace, which is as close to grasping someone as it gets in my opinion.

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UpandAway September 11, 2012 9:33 am

You might Disagree but you are completely and utterly wrong.

Putting your arm up doesn't always mean you are attempting to grasp....... there was no attemp for Manu, and the same for Henry...... its a technique to smash people...... go watch Manu in super-slo-mo if you're not sure.

Again its a bit like not attempting to grasp doens't always make it a shoulder charge, and having you're arm out doesn't mean you're attempting the grasp.

In a nut shell you've just demonstrated whats wrong with law 10.4 (g)....... they should outlaw side on shoulder charges, and define legal tackles as having the arm leading ahead of the shoulder and not tucked......... attempting to grasp is a red herring.

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stroudos September 11, 2012 11:19 am

Getting a bit frustrated with this. For clarity:
- Do you believe the Treviranus tackle (yellow card issued by ref) should be legal?
- Do you believe the Manu Tuilagi tackle on David Wallace (no penalty given at the time) should be legal?
- Do you believe the Henry Tuilagi tackle on Ben Foden (no penalty given at the time) should be legal?

I think all three were good, fair tackles, (although I wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of any of them). In order of legality, I think Treviranus was borderline foul play (if I were the ref I reckon I'd have awarded a penalty, but certainly not a yellow card), Henry a bit suspect and Manu completely clean.

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UpandAway September 11, 2012 12:09 pm

Good approach ;-)

1. I don't think that any of the 3 tackles you mention should be illegal
2. I think that all three are illegal under the current law
3. I think rugby league style shoulder charges should be illegal

This is where we get into the interpretation of "attempt to grasp"........ all three players had their arms out (with Treviranus the least) however none had any intention to grasp and I'm sure would be found guilty of foul play under the current review system...... this is wrong as unlike RL shoulder charges none ran the extreme risk of head clashes.

Thats why I'm saying the law throws the baby out with the bathwater by taking a lot of good hard hitting out of the game.

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stroudos September 12, 2012 7:43 am

Well, after all that palaver, it seems we're totally in agreement. And I must say, this is a good recommendation:

"They should outlaw side on shoulder charges, and define legal tackles as having the arm leading ahead of the shoulder and not tucked."

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stroudos September 10, 2012 3:00 pm

"Dewi Morris is a lot worse........... described Henry Tuilagi's hit on Foden as a "Spear Charge"!!!! "

I cringe every time I hear that. I hope he does too. Wasn't it "look at that: spear tackle, spear charge, whatever". Should've been sacked on the spot.

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Stubby September 09, 2012 12:15 am

i don't know if stopping the game for this is a wise use of the TMO.
use your instinct (penalty or yellow) and refer it to the citing commissioner.
Please don't go the American/Canadian way and slow the game to a crawl with replays and challenges. Makes sense for tries but not for this.

AVIVA doesn't use white cards do they? That would seem to be a better way.

It was not a surprise encounter thus he should have been ready to tackle properly.
Legality was only a left-arm wrapping away.

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TheNinjaWarrior September 09, 2012 2:09 pm

This. Yes. I concur good sir.

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William Williamson September 09, 2012 3:48 am

I'm sorry but that simply is not a sporting tackle. this is a gentleman's game and it's sad to see what the professional era has done to our beautiful game. Looking back now I can see why we opposed it so strongly in the early 90's. It's no longer a game I would like to see my son play and I that is said with great regret.

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UpandAway September 09, 2012 7:28 am

That was disgusting........... I hope he gets a lengthy ban for that, Charlie Hodgson could have been killed.

Not only was it below the neck there was also the use of a shoulder........... both things need to be outlawed from rugby.

Great calls by the referee particularly the one who saw it in slow motion. Decisions like that are what make rugby the greatest sport in the world.

Rugby = using only the arms to grab other beefy men with.

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stroudos September 09, 2012 7:47 am

UpandAway's got to be trolling, or just very confused.

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Guest September 09, 2012 9:46 am

Hasn't resorted to threatening to burn down anyone's houses so I'll assume not a troll. Confused? Possibly, but I'm going to go with more 'ill informed'

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Swing September 09, 2012 9:54 am

Nah, probably had a skin full last night and hasn't slept it off yet.

I agree with Stubby on the white card. Keep the game flowing and all that. Only problem is there's more and more of these shoulder charges creeping into the game and I think they need a short and swift answer to sort it out. Unfortunately that might mean more use of the TMO :(

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UpandAway September 09, 2012 12:37 pm

Nope sober as a judge.

What I wrote basically sums up the IRB interpretation of tackling. Shoulders are bad, and not wrapping = shoulder charge thingy that they do in league.

1. It wasn't a shoulder charge by league standards, just a massive hit
2. All shoulder charges = hit side on and high with the point of the shoulder, no wrapping
3. Not wrapping does not mean its a shoulder charge in all case...... you can hit someone square on and they fly backwards.

So once again for those of you who are struggling, these are league shoulder charges with the usual head clashes

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RunningRugby4 September 09, 2012 11:24 am

I think it was illegal. but dont ask the TMO

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GraudianDirt September 09, 2012 1:15 pm

So the way to get around the growing frequency of illegal tackles is to potentially break up the momentum of play in order to refer incidents? Struth. Talk about replacing one problem of the game with another. The other problem here is that having seen how trigger happy referees have got with regards to referring potential tries to TMOs surely we have to account for the TMO to be used in all slightly contentious tackles? This exacerbates the very problem of premiership rugby over the last few seasons; the lack of continuity and tempo in games that becomes which then becomes ruthlessly exposed when playing SH nations.

I suppose this another step towards fragmenting play and bringing union closer in line to Mungoball and GridIron? Count me out.

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UpandAway September 09, 2012 2:35 pm

btw The IRB's idiotic interpretation aside........

Did anyone else enjoy watching someone getting absolutely smashed?

It was an epic hit, and why I love rugby........ opposing player almost cut in half and winded like crazy. Is it me or are people starting to miss the point of the sport?

Lucky Josh Lewsey isn't an islander and played in a different time and cuddled a bit more than Treviranus

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jeppy89 September 09, 2012 5:11 pm

Right except, lewesy's right arm is wrapped he hits from low and drives up, with complete control and technique. This is a with a certain disregard to the semantics you seem fond of using a charge, with his shoulder it might not be the same as a 'shoulder charge' in league which is a deliberately employed tackle technique but it's a darn sight closer to that than a legal union tackle.

Any one with enough gym time and bravery can run at another big man and create a huge impact, it does not require skill and I'd rather not see it in the game. The lad could have easily smashed hodgson in this play legally and had more of a chance at turning possession.

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jeppy89 September 09, 2012 5:12 pm

Not sure if that was 100% coherent, from 'this is' I'm talking about the hodgson hit not lewesy's!

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UpandAway September 10, 2012 2:21 am

It is important because everyone keeps using the term shoulder charge which they are trying to borrow from league.

Apart from that I broadly agree with the points you are making. But again league style shoulder charges are a specific type of tackle which leads to frequent shoulder-on-head and head-on-head clashes, which is why even the mungo ballers have been debating them. Treviranus was a more a lower missile and aside of nuking CH its also a good way to knock yourself out if it goes wrong by getting your head in the wrong position........... I would say the risk is with him. But you are right that these big men should avoid going for NFL launches when more legal techniques could cause just as big impact. Motu Matu'u has shown that this year by monstering people completely legally!!

I just hate the blanketing of every tackle variation by the use of "no attempt to wrap" and every "no attemp to wrap" is a shoulder charge.

IMO there is no way this should ever be taken out the game

But the most sickening example of a shoulder charge is here by Wilkinson, no attempt to wrap and lucky his opponent wasn't seriously injured! I hope he got a ban for that one and no kids where watching....

btw being nutters in the tackle is not a new thing. Look at the swinging arms from yesteryear and high tackles that were let go. And when at school aged 14 there was a kid in my team who always lined up for the tap and goes......... used to run full pelt and missile launch himself at tacklers! Balls of steel and never got blown up once. These guys today are bigger and stronger but apart form giving more they can also take more, and recover far quicker. They want the hits, we want the hits, we just need more education on tackling technique.

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Pretzel September 09, 2012 4:16 pm

I particularly like the idea of using the TMO on questionable hits. More in the sense that IF we are going to be focussing on every little thing, at least do it there and then and get it right....

Personally I'm more than happy for this sort of tackle to be just one of those "I'm not quite sure guys, I'll check with my touchies, yeup, they're not 100% sure, so just watch yourself from now on..." sort of scenario.

As we have seen in the SH this year, there has been the introduction of the white card. I personally cannot think of anything more useless and timewasting than a white card. I have said over and over, if there is an incident and the referee does NOT raise the white card, the citing commissioner STILL looks at it anyway... therefore I find it odd that they can view it as a real solution. Not to mention the "crimes are not being punished IN the game".... So regarding the white card I have mentioned it should be a signal for the TMO to view the incident and advise, much like this...

But, as I have said, you either do it right, or don't bother. I personally didn't think this was yellow card worthy though...

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G-man September 09, 2012 4:19 pm

Hey guiz, any chance of Juan Martin Hernandez's hit on Conrad Smith for Argentina against the All Blacks?

How about Hernandez's banana kick in the same match?

Also, Kyle Eastmond beating 7 defenders in Bath v Wasps would be great too.

Please someone upload if you get the chance!

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G-man September 09, 2012 4:40 pm

Also, I think this hit was marginally illegal. Austin kept saying his right arm was up, but it wasn't really and I don't think there was a genuine attempt to wrap.

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Crazy Legs September 10, 2012 1:45 am

There really needs to be a bit more training on NOT MOVING THE INJURED INTO THE RECOVERY POSITION. Keep seeing way too many players doing this and they could very well hurt the injured even more by doing this. There are professionals there on the touchlines ready to run out there to help the hurt.

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Alex_The_Kiiid! September 10, 2012 4:50 am

Most of you pussy NH whiteboys are shit scared of strong shoulder tackles so you cry foul, bitch and moan at any chance you get hoping that all of the whining will somehow get rid of these tackles in Rugby. Because they"scare" hoo! Physicality and confrontation is part of is courage. Obviously you lack these quality's, courage in particular!

Just because you are not powerful enough to produce one, and lack the courage of receiving one does not mean laws should be put in place to change it. It means rugby is NOT for you. So grow some balls and man up because it aint tiddlywinks, or play soccer...simple! Better yet, buy a tutu lol!

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stroudos September 10, 2012 6:08 am

You make a fair point, but I think the negative racist stereotyping undermines it.

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chilly87 September 10, 2012 7:57 am

Alex_The_Kiiid!, I'm all for big hits in rugby, it makes the game what it is. The laws are in place not for the shoulder charges that go right, its for the mistimed once into a guys head. In order to stop guys getting seriously hurt (I don't mean - a bit giddy getting up hurt, but carried off to hospital hurt) is to ban them. Big hits can still happen with a open shoulder and wrapping your arms.

All for big hits mate but we don't need to kill guys in the process

See the all to famous for a prime example

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UpandAway September 10, 2012 11:21 am

Then ban shoulder charges, not some wanky skinny white boy interpretation that translates as "attempt to wrap the arms"

I can barely remember a proper shoulder charge happening in rugby union........ with head clashes being the risk......... someone getting smashed in the sternum and the tackler not wrapping sufficiently is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Using this blanket definition means hookers and props should get blown up every time they frequently dive at another hooker/prop's feet around a maul, or when a player diving for the corner gets barged out, or this

If you think that should be illegal (and technically it is) then this game in undoubtedly being ruined by a bunch of softcocks.

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Pretzel September 10, 2012 8:53 am

No offence but those pussy NH whiteboys made the game, so im sure they know what is "part of rugby"

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Colombes September 10, 2012 11:27 am

racist comment over here RD

just learn to hit brutal and fair! a lot can, why not everyone?
more and more player become lazy with this simple rule to try to wrap your arm
i don't know if it come from league or any where else

Explain me why a guy like Betsen, mot the most muscle man of the world was considered as the best tackler of the world...?

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Guest September 10, 2012 9:36 am

How was that a yellow card?? seems in the north the refs are such pussies, the get a chill when they see such agressive hits.. Give me a break and harden up this is rugby a bloody CONTACT Sport!!!

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Colombes September 10, 2012 11:20 am

Hi, i'm a pussy NH whiteboy, but this challenge was more a shoulder charge than a tackle attempt. learn to wrap your arms, irb rules, etc... end of the story

My only worries on this action are on the new IRB rules to call the TMO on many more rugby actions (forward passes, illegal tackles, unsportmanships...) I understand the ref must be helped to make the right call, but i hope rugby won't become a boring and a "multi-stoppage timed" sport such like american footballl and basket. Rugby is beautiful when it's fluid, i hope refs will use these rules with efficiency and not with excess

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cheyanqui September 11, 2012 2:58 am

It's been a long-standing interpretation of the law that players must make an effort to wrap up. I hope people are not suddenly saying that rugby union has gone soft -- the law interpretation has been there for decades.

If you think that it's a crap law, consider the uphill battle that argument faces right now. Many contact sports (esp. gridiron) are facing serious soul searching about hitting in their sports, and the long-term effects -- such as links to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), dementia, and the resulting depression (incl. suicide) that may come from it. NB -- in the states ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease (for a baseball player who played through many concussions, possibly contributing to his development of ALS).

If anyone thinks that the IRB would want to me "more like" league or gridiron with respect to hitting, I would say they have little consideration of the IRB's role in making the sport friendly to youth and their parents.

Every sport is dangerous, but sports like rugby -- that have a product they want to sell -- want grass roots amateur participation, not a bloodsport.

If you want to beat peoples' heads in, try rugby league or MMA.

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UpandAway September 11, 2012 10:43 am

You're not getting it are you.

The overall intentions of the law are good.

However the law itself (10.4 g) is a poor one

Its a blanket ruling that is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. See my recent comments above to Stroudos.

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Ian Cook September 12, 2012 7:53 pm

I agree 100% with the TMO being used in this way. The "tackle" deserved a YC and it got one. The system worked!

Rugby Union is supposed to be a contact sport, but it has become a collision sport. The warnings about head trauma and its long term debilitating and life-threatening consequences are too serious to ignore. Even Rugby League is waking up to the dangers of this type of tackle. The NRL has banned them, three quarters of the way though the season.

I disagree with upandaway's assertion that it requires a head clash before there is any danger. The whipping back of the the head and neck and the uncontrolled & often violent impact of a semi-conscious player's head with the ground is sufficient to get the brain rattling around inside the brain-case.

No arms tackles have to be treated the same way as tip tackles... they are very dangerous and need to be eliminated from the game entirely.

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UpandAway September 13, 2012 1:45 am

So you want only contact and not collisions? I think you're living in a dreamland. It has never existed and never will exist particularly in the days of professional rugby with very powerful athletes.

Lewsey's highly CELEBRATED tackle on Matt Rogers was a massive collision that snapped the head back (and permanently damaged his ribs)........... he did wrap though but thats not the only point you're making. I guess rugby union should ban this as well because the brain was rattling about? IMO this is a ridiculous assertion. There are dozens of other legal examples I can think of but I think you get my point.

Your reference to NRL is wrong as well. Due to the fact that shoulder charges (side on) and swinging forearms have been legal too many players were going very high and headhunting, and the straw that broke the camel's back was Greg Inglis's forearm smash to the face of Dean Young (technically a high tackle) . The new directive simply states that any contact to an opponents heads or neck will be automatically referred to the judiciary. The point obviously being to reduce head clashes and not to reduce impact of tackles if made to areas of the body where its legal to do so.

As I've stated before I think rugby league style side on shoulder charges should be illegal in union, and having the arm leading ahead of the shoulder and not tucked should be the legal definition of a tackle. "Attempting" to grasp should be rescinded as a law. High tackles, swinging forearms, spears etc are already accounted for.

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Ian Cook September 13, 2012 8:31 am

"So you want only contact and not collisions? I think you're living in a dreamland. It has never existed and never will exist particularly in the days of professional rugby with very powerful athletes"

Sounds to me like you aren't old enough to know or remember when NO replacements were allowed; the XV that started the game, finished it. From 1969, only two replacements were allowed (injury only) and increased to three in 1996 when it became apparent that tackling was becoming more violent. Collisions of the type we are talking about here simply did not happen at all prior to the 1990s; I know, because I was there at the time, both playing and refereeing. The Law required players to grasp the ball carrier, and no player would even dream of simply crashing at speed into an opponent without grasping. The idea was to bring the ball carrier to ground, not knock him senseless in an effort to dislodge the ball. The number of replacements was increased to seven around 2000, along with allowing for tactical substitutions.

The iRB recently introduced a Concussion Protocol to address the recent compelling research that shows the debilitating long term effects of concussion, and remember, cranial impact isn't the only way to cause concussion. Such protocols are a step in the right direction, but they are somewhat after the fact; the real way to address the issue is to prevent the head trauma in the first place. I don't agree that these types of collisions are "inevitable". They can be eliminated by the simple expedient of penalising the shit out of them until players stop doing them.

Now you can either bury your head in the sand, pretend its not happening and hope it all goes away, or you can wake up, smell the coffee, and realise that the game has to change, for its own good, and for the future welfare of its players. I suggest you watch this video before you make up your mind what camp you are in.

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UpandAway September 13, 2012 11:50 am

With all respect (because you obviously believe in what you're saying) but I don't think your arguments at all relevant or useful. You sound like a rose tinted dinosaur with antiquated views of the game that aren't valid.

No I don't remember 1969 because I was born in 1982, however I have watched many hours of classic games starring the amateur athletes who played back then.......... if you put the rose tinted analysis aside for one second you will also note the brutality of foul play in the rucks, and the large number of swinging arm high tackles that were ignored. Furthermore what does 1969 specifically have the do with the modern professional incarnation of the game? sports, rules and athletes evolve as have golfers who no longer play with persimmon drivers and balata balls (with courses, swing theory, conditioning, and game management also changing accordingly).

Finally, I'm not burying my head in the sand. I recognize that it happens and I also recognize that it should be properly managed, hence my interpretation of the rules. Concussion victims being monitored by independent doctors is also a good area to discuss and develop. But I do accept the nature of the sport and nature of life and sacrifice......... a bit like in the modern age boxers are still sometimes paid millions to cause traumatic brain injury. No I'm not advocating this in rugby but there will be casualties in such a physical sport which is embraced by millions because of its cherished characteristics (bravery, commitment, strength, power, toughness, skill, sacrifice etc). Note this is from a guy who played rugby and loved the physical aspects of the game and suffered shoulder injuries, herniated discs, broken bones an a few head clashes. Its part of the game and if you can't accept it then don't play it........... I've had my fill and I'll leave it to the tough guys now who play for the love of it.

I'm looking for a balanced sensible approach in the modern era, not to sanitize the sport

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Ian Cook September 14, 2012 8:51 pm

Not so interested in sanitising the game as much as I am interested in ensuring that players lives are not at significant risk playing it. Rugby is supposed to be a sport, not a war. Tackles are responsible for more (58%) of the serious injuries in rugby than all other parts of the game combined. It is incumbent on everyone involved in rugby, players, coaches, administrators and match officials, to ensure that the level and seriousness of injuries is not contributed to by not allowing dangerous tackles to take place. The Laws on this matter are clear.

Law 10.4
(e) Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.
A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.
A ‘stiff-arm tackle’ is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff arm to strike an opponent.
A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.

(g) Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.

Simply dealing ruthlessly with players who infringe these laws will reduce the incidence of tackle injuries, without sanitising the game. Players can still hit opponents hard in the tackle in a legal fashion and thereby maintain the hard physical contact aspects of rugby while lessening the risk. It can be a win-win situation of players are coached properly, and referees are vigilant.

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UpandAway September 15, 2012 5:04 am

"Simply dealing ruthlessly with players who infringe these laws will reduce the incidence of tackle injuries, without sanitising the game. Players can still hit opponents hard in the tackle in a legal fashion and thereby maintain the hard physical contact aspects of rugby while lessening the risk. It can be a win-win situation of players are coached properly, and referees are vigilant."

I totally agree with you that good laws should be properly enforced for player safety.... I'm not debating this. I am also in total agreement with Law 10.4 (e). Its well defined and good for the game.

What I am debating is law 10.4 (g)! IMO it is not well defined and needs to be improved. I'm not throwing player safety out the window, but as I said before I would like a more balanced and nuanced approach to this specific area and the definition of 'charging'. Persons like myself and Stroudos (we eventually discovered) really enjoy certain tackles such as Manu Tuilagi's on David Wallace (which he wasn't penalized for) and Henry Tuilagi on Foden (again not penalised).... however neither attempted to grasp and would now be found guilty of foul play by the TMO. We want to this to be revised hence my new distinction between charging and legal tackles:

"They should outlaw side on shoulder charges, and define legal tackles as having the arm leading ahead of the shoulder and not tucked."

This seems sensible IMO as there are huge differences between the two types of tackling techniques shown below.... one is done with perfect traditional body alignment, with proper head position, making contact square on with the shoulder, and arms leading.... the other is hitting side on with the point of the shoulder, with arm tucked, without using traditional body alignment.... both blanketed as foul play under 10.4 (g) @ 1.49

Anyways this has been a good debate, and I belatedly rest my case

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