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Monday, January 07, 2013

Toby Flood faces ban for alleged dangerous tackle on Andy Goode

Leicester Tigers flyhalf Toby Flood faces a possible suspension that will rule him out of the Ospreys Heineken Cup clash this coming weekend. His Six Nations campaign could also be threatened, but Richard Cockerill believes there was nothing in it.

Flood was cited for a dangerous tackle on Worcester's Andy Goode during the Tigers' 19-14 Aviva Premiership match win on Friday night. 

He will attend a disciplinary hearing in London tomorrow and looks likely to face a ban that could possibly tarnish his chances of reclaiming the England number ten jersey.

Cockerill feels that there was no malice in the tackle though, and they simply fell clumsily.

"I think it was a genuine attempt at a good-quality tackle," said Cockerill.

"Clearly, Andy Goode ended up in an awkward position. But with Rob Hawkins joining the tackle and pulling Andy to the ground with his collar, it made it look worse than it was.

"If you take the views of the commentators out of the way and look at it in the cold light of day, it was just unfortunate. It is not a tip-tackle or a spear tackle.

"It was just a tackle which left Andy in an awkward position. There was no malice. Toby Flood is not that type of player," he added.

Posted at 10:55 am | 43 comments

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 43 comments

Nick January 07, 2013 1:35 pm

Lack of malicious intent can only be a limiting factor regarding the length of his ban. At the end of the day it was a potentially dangerous tackle and he must be punished for it.

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Guy January 07, 2013 1:51 pm

To be honest: don't even think Flood is to blame. Number 2 (supporting tackler) citing would have been more appropriate. He seems to be pushing Goode down.

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Tristan Fowler January 07, 2013 1:53 pm

Coincidentally Varndell, who was sitting as a pundit, got only a yellow for a similar tackle on Sunday afternoon against Bath (hopefully RD will show the two incidents by means of comparison), albeit without the tackled player landing quite so badly. The Flood tackle is made worse by the actions of the Leicester hooker.

Could Flood be given a retrospective yellow to match Varndell's punishment? At most a retrospective red is deserved as there is no intent or malice in the tackle.

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Dave January 07, 2013 2:09 pm

A short ban since, regardless of intent or fault, it ended up a dangerous tackle. I'd almost feel sorry for him getting one though. With the Worcester 4 and his own hooker involved, it's harsh and I don't think it was entirely his fault. His own hooker pushes Goode down, while the 4 holds his waist as well, which leads to Flood driving downwards.

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Pretzel January 07, 2013 2:22 pm

Hmmm, difficult... As the pundits have said, started off fine, ended up not fine...

For me it's the point at 0:11 which is where my focus is where TF is standing up holding AG... If TF had fallen to the ground with AG at this point I doubt there'd be any problems but then skipping along to 0:14 TF is still completely upright and holding AG who is now horizontal...

I don't think TF is entirely to blame as I feel that the number 2 (assisting tackler) is the one who cocks it all up... But I am not sure you can punish an assisting tackler (as guy suggests)...precedent perhaps?.. Or perhaps as always it is the tacklers (initial tackler) responsibility for the safety of the opposition player, i.e. "had TF not lifted AG in that manner then No.2's collar grabbed would not have done anything etc etc etc"

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7cazalet January 07, 2013 2:28 pm

I say Congrats to Flood for being able to lift Goode's fat arse!

But in all seriousness it looks like it was good tackling technique gone wrong due to the interference by other players. It's almost the same sort of situation a Sam Warburton in the RWC for which he got a red.

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Tim January 07, 2013 2:51 pm

whilst it may not have been malicious it is still potentially dangerous and should be punished. Given that in the same game Goode was sin binned for essentially falling on a player, its hard to see how this tackle was not spotted and dealt with by the referee of either touch judge. Perhaps a ban is needed then.

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matt the mauler January 07, 2013 3:02 pm

I'm still confused why players even lift these days. As I've said before sometimes with a big hit a player is naturally taken off the ground but in tackles like these when they lift the player up it's just asking for trouble. Floods intent might not have been to put Goode on his head but as we've seen with supporting tacklers etc... coming in anything can happen.

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Dgenerator January 07, 2013 3:21 pm

There is very little parity between this tackle and Varndells. There, the player was driven side ways but his feet were lifted above his head. Therefore technically a penalty and possibly a yellow, although personally I think it is a shame that what was a good tackle ended up being a binning. He simply had momentum but was aware and made every effort to land both himself and the tackled player safely... On his back...

Flood started off the same, innocuous enough, but clearly he DRIVES Goode into the ground on to his head and neck! How can that not be apparent from the slow motion replay? Yes the supporting player contributes towards the movement and there is an argument that they should in fact both be cited - but regardless that tackle should be a citing and a ban and should have been a yellow, if not a red, on the night.

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Jeroo January 07, 2013 3:43 pm

I don't think malice has anything to do with it does it? (in the rule book). Pretty sure it will be a ban either way.
RD - would love to see the footage of the elbow to the back of Alex Groves bonce if you can find it. I take it there has been no citing for that?

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veji1 January 07, 2013 3:51 pm

No malice and just an unfortunate turn of events, with the unwilling assistance of the hooker. Nevertheless a textbook dangerous speartackle. Should get the standard punishment ! 2 to 4 weeks off.

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Yster7 January 07, 2013 4:02 pm

If you watch Floods' body position throughout the tackle, he's driving him backwards/sideways and NOT lifting him at any point! No way a spear tackle!!
Goode landed awkwardly due to the supporting players interfering. At worst a penalty..

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Dgenerator January 07, 2013 4:16 pm

Landing on the Head / Neck before feet = Red & Citing. Lifting Feet Above the Shoulders (assuming player does not land on head or neck) = Penalty & Yellow card. nothing to do with Floods body position but rather the body position of the tackled player.

Agree there was no malice (unlike with Goode's dropped knee!), but unfortunately for Flood a citing offense.

Matt Smith received a post match Yellow card for the elbow on Groves. One of many infringements missed by the superbly astute Doyle.

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Willwillrob January 07, 2013 4:49 pm

I was at the game and the way i read it was that. It was a dangerous tackle but flood did not intend to spear him more drive him back with a bang (henson on tait style). I felt that a yellow card and move on would suffice.

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Colombes January 07, 2013 6:31 pm

no malice in this tackle, more reckless and stupid than anything else

but to guess rfu sanction, u just have to find the first 6N fixture of england ;)
5 weeks for the tackle, reduced to 2 weeks for an "impeccable" behaviour...

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Smiffy_Ref January 07, 2013 6:41 pm

Started off as a good strong tackle but due to the fact that AG landed on his head/neck (agreed, mostly due to the secondary tackler [no.2]) and that TF could have gone down with him to prevent AG landing in such a way I expect it to be a ban. Probably around 2/3 weeks as there was no malice.

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Smiffy_Ref January 07, 2013 6:41 pm

Started off as a good strong tackle but due to the fact that AG landed on his head/neck (agreed, mostly due to the secondary tackler [no.2]) and that TF could have gone down with him to prevent AG landing in such a way I expect it to be a ban. Probably around 2/3 weeks as there was no malice.

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Itsme January 07, 2013 7:07 pm

Rugby is becoming to soft! Varndells tackle sums it up

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DAVEJAMES11 January 07, 2013 7:08 pm

Flood ban for bad tackle , No2 doubled for malice and Cockless barred for cheering on thunggery from his hiding place behind the laptop, if he wants to be a cage fighter get in the cage rugby does not need cheepshot merchants.

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Ottawa Rugger January 07, 2013 7:16 pm

A lot of tip tackles happen IMO when the tackling player also falls over. When the tackler loses their footing, they're hardly able to correct the angle in which they're holding the tackled player. In this case, it looks throughout most of the tackle, Flood keeps his feet. Plus, he does lift Goode. Flood doesn't strike me as a mean player, so I don't think he meant to tip him, but at the very least he didn't make much of an effort not to tip him. Whether or not that's grounds for a ban I don't know.

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10stonenumber10 January 07, 2013 7:24 pm

Having been on the receiving of a few similar tackles (I weigh about the same as a prop's left calf), once you're past the hit, anything can and usually does happen. In my league the ref's seem quite hot on it, big hits are ok, but if a player is in any way off the floor and another tackler joins, thats when they put the specs on and get whistle happy.

This hit looked similar to the rugby league "grapple tackle" (2nd or 3rd man in wrenches the head/shoulders/neck)

As an alternative to bans/reds etc., perhaps have a Legacy Yellow, player isn't banned, but cannot start the next game, allowed on the bench as injury cover only... no tactical substitutions using the player involved, but then again that may open the floodgates to more bloodgate-esque scandals if there isn't much depth in the position...

Or just kick it proper old school, do nothing, and turn a blind eye to the forwards sneaking in one or two digs next game

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Mark January 07, 2013 7:40 pm

Not a bad tackle at all. Good strong tackling is part of the game and if we penalize it we loose the spirit of rugby. It became what looked like a bad tackle when the forward dragged the shoulder of Goode towards the floor. Something Toby Flood had no control over. In my opinion therefor Flood should not see any further punishment.

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Roy January 07, 2013 8:05 pm

Not intentionally dangerous. But the end result was made worse due to involvement of others.

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Joe Sweeney January 07, 2013 8:33 pm

It's good technique to grasp teh legs to take the player off his feet. Unfiortunately, all it takes is a bit of fatigued, poor technique to turn that into a situation where the tackler is lifting the player off the ground and bringing the hips above the shoulders. It's tough on teh tackler, but it must be punished based on teh action and not just the intent - otherwise we're putting players in danger.

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TC January 07, 2013 9:55 pm

I'm sure it's not retaliation, but did you see goode's earlier knee into Hamilton as he scored the try. He rightly got a yellow. Don't think the tackle has anywhere near the malicious intent of goode's knee

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Dee Light January 07, 2013 10:47 pm

The bottom line:
Goode landed on his neck due to TF's tackle- lucky it was not a serious life threatening injury.
The law is there to deter such tackles and subsequent injuries.
Should be a long ban!

Everytime we have such a case one of the arguments for the defence is that there was not any intent or malice.

This is mitigation only- no one will ever admit intent: if they did it would be a life ban!



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cheyanqui January 07, 2013 11:23 pm

I a tackler brings a player beyond the horizontal, he (and therefore his team) is still responsible for a safe outcome.

That Flood's teammate came in and aggravated the tackle unforunately does not solve the problem.

Thus, I think that the safety lesson here should be that if Flood lifts the player, his teammate should be helping to guid the player to safety, not making it worse.

Regardless, it's Flood that should get the penalty and sanction, even if he is being hard-done.

That said, the one brining the most disrepute to the game is Andy Goode's barber.

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cheyanqui January 07, 2013 11:26 pm

On another note, when will referees start to ding players for throwing the ball into the stands after a try, or in order to avoid a quick lineout?

<>, you are required to kick the conversion with the same ball -- the whole spiking or throwing the ball away risks losing that ball.

At the very least, you are required to kick the conversion without undue delay -- I think spiking the ball counts as needless.

As for the lineouts, does anyone notice when cheeky players (Geordan Murphy comes to mind) run into touch, and then "hand the ball" to a deserving fan in the front row. It's a clear ploy to kill a quick lineout.

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rdump January 08, 2013 12:05 am

Exactly.
And the fact that there is malicious intent or not does not change anything to the dangerousness of the action. It's actually quite irrelevant.
If there was malicious intent, meaning that he would actually voluntarily try to injur him or break his neck should be prosecuted for it...
Of course, TF did not have malicious intent. But did he lift and drive goode into the ground? Yes. Rules are quite clear about this: "- The player is lifted and then forced or 'speared' into the ground (red card offence)"
Tolofua against Treviso did not have any malicious intent (he was just stupid), had a clean record and still got 6 weeks for it.

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Calon Lan January 08, 2013 12:28 am

It seems simple these days, you pick somebody up their safety is responsibility until you put them back on the ground.

It's very difficult at times but according to the law if you've taking responsibility to lift somebody like that and they hit the floor as happened there, it comes back to you and you will receive a ban.

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Gonzalo Olias January 08, 2013 11:57 am

He doesn’t even pick him up… it looks more like he is pushing him back, then Goode gets unbalanced and the action of the hooker creates the awkward position… bad luck, but no intention and no punishable action anywhere… If we start citing and banning all actions like this one, what’s next?? We can start playing the premier with tags… so no dangerous situations may occur…

Toby should not be punished at all!!! Hope to see him with the rose jersey at the first 6N game.

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katman January 08, 2013 4:24 pm

Look, he'll probably cop a short ban (1 or 2 weeks) because the final moments of the tackle didn't look good. But there was certainly far less malice in this tackle than when Goode rammed his knees into a try scorer in the same game.

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MisterDavid January 08, 2013 9:23 pm

I'd like to see a few weeks' ban, but mainly to make sure George Ford gets more game-time :)

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rdump January 08, 2013 9:38 pm

Indeed, not the slightest comparison can be made to Varndels tackle.
Tip tackles should be avoided because they are dangerous. What is dangerous about them? The fact that head or neck hit the ground first and get the whole body weight unto them.
You just have to look at the slow motion. Agulla lands on the side. Actually, his head doesn't even hit the ground. Goode lands exactly on the neck and he is almost perfectly vertical at 0:17. He would very well be in a wheelchair now... Would anyone then argue that TB shouldnt be banned?

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Gonter January 08, 2013 10:19 pm

no citing but given off the feild yellow

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ZRugby January 08, 2013 11:54 pm

No ban? Can someone explain how Leicester plays always seem to get off so lightly. Hartley gets banned for nibbling on a little finger (no video evidence) and Flood gets off nearly putting someone in a wheel chair for the rest of his life (with video evidence)..

I love rugby from all clubs but there must be a consistency with these bans.
It sends the wrong message out as it feels that he was let off as England "may" need him for the Six Nations.

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David January 09, 2013 2:57 am

Begins as a good, solid tackle.
Midway through the tackle, Worcester lock and Leicester hooker both join in; the Worcester player supports Goode at the waist, whereas the hooker pushes AG's head towards the turf.
Not really sure what Flood could have done differently.

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Kaspar January 09, 2013 6:58 am

Begins as a solid tackle, no malicious intent. The person getting tackled in these kinds of situations need to be aware as well. Once the situation turned sour there was nothing either of them could do. The person being tackled needs to attempt to fall safely, he fought and them buckled.

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Dee Light January 09, 2013 3:21 pm

No ban then.
So the message now is that all you need is several tacklers to drive a player into the ground for it to be ok!
Crazy!

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ZRugby January 09, 2013 5:37 pm

David, Kaspar - I disagree with your comments.

It was a great hit initially - yes, but it went sour when the legs went over the waist which Flood caused. Yes other players assisted but it was Flood tipping and drove his head into the ground - Goode couldn't do anything to prevent as he legs were in the air!

Back to my original point - Gerrit-Jan van Velze got 4 weeks for a tackle no where near that level. All I'm stating is the consistency across the clubs and what seems to be "English Squad" favouritism - same with the ridiculously small ban Manu got for punching Ashton 3 times with pure intent. In my view both situations it was lucky no one was seriously injured.. what would we all be saying then?
Should we base these decisions on luck?

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David January 10, 2013 6:54 pm

ZRugby; there's nothing wrong with a bit of disagreement.

I think the hit initially was good; but it did get a bit clumsy after that. Malicious? Probably not, but I understand that the intent isn't relevant in these cases. Leicester hooker (Hawkins, I think!) pushes Goode's head down, making it near on impossible for Flood to put him down any other way.

I'd agree that there should have been some punishment; an on-field yellow would probably have sufficed. But once the RFU had to take responsibility, so close to the Six Nations...

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ChillDoubt January 12, 2013 5:37 pm

Correct decision by the panel IMHO. When the tackle was made, Flood was wrong-footed and off balance. Then a combination of Goode's weight, both players crabbing sideways and the hooker getting hold of Goode around the neck(pulling him through horizontal) meant that Flood was never in enough control to bring him down safely.

Nice to see a bit of common sense for once.

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rdump January 25, 2013 12:29 am

This is absolutely ridiculous... Flood gets cleared, and Armitage gets 8 weeks for something nowhere as dangerous. There is absolutely no consistency in the decisions.

I understand that refs can make mistakes on the pitch as they need to make decisions without having all the facts in hand.

However, when you see such discrepancies in the disciplinary hearings when the guys have several days to watch video footage, the only reason can be that they have received instructions on who to ban or who to save.

Hope the IRB is not going to end up as corrupted as the FIFA or the International Cycling Union.

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