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Sunday, April 07, 2013

George Moala suspended for knocking out Buxton Popoali'i with big tackle

Blues flyer George Moala has been suspended for a week for the tackle that knocked out opposite number Buxton Popoali'i during the Blues' 29-18 win over the Highlanders on Friday night. Popoali'i left the field on a stretcher with concussion.

This was the same game that Ma'a Nonu shoulder charged Piri Weepu in, and while Nonu escaped punishment after the match, Moala was cited and has since received a one-week ban.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and accepted the sanction handed down on him by SANZAR judicial officer Nicholas Davidson QC. Davidson's view was that there was no intentional foul play, but when Popoali'i reached forward at the last minute it changed his body position, and Moala failed to adjust to that, leading to contact above the shoulders with force.

Moala, still just 22 years-old, was clearly shaken by what had happened and after spending 10 minutes in the sinbin, coach John Kirwan reportedly substituted him for precisely that reason.

Credit to scrum-half Aaron Smith, who recognised the situation instantly and helped his team mate out within seconds as he put him in the recovery position before the medics arrived.

Popoali'i had no neck or spinal injuries but will likely be out for a week after the concussion, and will be monitored daily by medical staff who will keep tabs on his recovery.

Posted at 1:19 pm | 29 comments

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 29 comments

DrG April 07, 2013 1:40 pm

Just a quick bit first, RD you wrote "concission"..instead of "concussion" (second to last line).

Bad tackle, and the tackler also has to carry the can if it goes wrong, BUT, it looks like it would have been brilliant if; wait for it, the ball carrier hadn't "ducked". So he's been banned for a week which I feel is quite fair as this looked more careless than malicious.

On another note, we're still seeing players roll others into recovery positions. I'm no medic, nor Doctor (in that sense), (I have had some good accident first aid) however I've been lead to believe that in the event of a neck injury the best thing is to keep the casualty completely still...Wouldn't rolling him over increase the risk of damage, when lets face it, the team medics are going to be less than 10 seconds away. I don't wish to play down the team mates efforts for trying to care, but is it the best thing to do? I ask this because we often imitate what we see the pro's do, as lets face it, they're the pro's. So if this is something they have been taught to do, then I'd consider doing it to a team mate of mine if he gets KO'd, seeing as our medical staff take about 3 minutes to roll onto the pitch between eating a pie or something.

So, anyone, good or bad?

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FlankerGib April 07, 2013 4:03 pm

I'm inclined to agree with you - if it was just a head injury or a general big hit, then putting them in the recovery position is a good idea. But if the damage is likely to be to the neck or spine, as it fairly obviously was in this case, leave them still until the medics can strap them up completely.

Obviously Aaron Smith went well, but he moved the man very quickly into the recovery position, with rather more force than was necessary. If Popoali'i did have a spinal injury, then this would have aggravated his condition.

On the other hand, it's good that pros have a knowledge of basic first aid - the recovery position was correct, and it's something that every player on the pitch should know at amateur level, in case they are the only one next to an unconscious player. But they should also know when not to deploy it, and this was one of the times where his teammate was better left to the professional medics.

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DanKnapp April 07, 2013 10:42 pm

In club rugby, if you don't have a medic sprinting onto the pitch at the time:

Correct thing to do is check for a response first, then check for signs of breathing. The easiest way to do this is put your cheek over their mouth and look down over the chest, so you can feel breath on your cheek and see their chest moving.

If they're breathing, you don't need to move them. Just monitor them. You might want to check that they haven't swallowed their tongue/gum shield. If they're not breathing move them. Better damage to the spine, but alive, than dead.

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Harry_McMahon April 07, 2013 11:28 pm

Just to add to your last bit of advice re someone not breathing. You still wouldn't need to move them (in the absence of any other factors). Whatever injury they have will still be made worse, and moving them off their back means you can't monitor their heart properly. Not breathing is obviously bad, but no breathing AND no pulse necessitates CPR, which is best done with the patient on their back. One generally leads to the other. It's up to you, whether you actually give them breaths, or just the chest compressions. Modern advice is to just do the compressions, but this will depend on a whole array of situations. The recovery position is generally for a patient who is unconscious and breathing normally.

That said, there are many variables and situations that will rarely be fully covered in all the manuals. :-)

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Full Back April 08, 2013 3:37 pm

Bad, you check for a response and see if the guy can feel or move everything.
The recovery position is strictly for people who have fainted and it's main purpose is to avoid vomiting back down their throat or swallowing their tongue. However after an impact to the head and neck area it's the last thing you should do. A cracked verterbra can quickly become something worse.
You check for breathing, you keep him absolutley still and you check response signs by touching the fingers and gently rocking the legs.
Thom Evans (Sco) went very close to ending up paralysed, he was on the bottom of the ruck after his whack. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n4z52VZuIY

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Guy April 07, 2013 10:09 pm

As DrG said: it would have been an absolute brilliant tackle. Great commitment by both players!

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stroudos April 07, 2013 11:56 pm

How fast was Moala travelling there!? Even the legal tackle i'm sure he had planned would have been like getting hit by an exocet missile.

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TotesMcGoates April 08, 2013 1:41 am

He's been unfortunate in the way that he slightly miscued his timing. Of course there is a duty of care on a would-be-tackler but I'm glad the ban is just for one week.

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G April 08, 2013 2:17 am

personally im not sure that really deserves a ban. He was carded at the time which is probably fair but why is he being banned for what would have been a fantastic hit if the other player hadn't ducked in to the tackle? effectively banned for something totally beyond his control. especially as at that speed you can safely say he was already committed.

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Stubby April 08, 2013 6:03 am

he did not duck into the tackle, he was in the act of catching the ball. He did not catch it very well. It would have been a fantastic tackle 1 or 2 sec later.

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G April 09, 2013 10:44 am

but he did duck. not on purpose, he was recovering from his catch, but Popoali'i had the ball in hand and his feet on the floor. so the timing of the hit was legal. he got hit above the shoulders so its a high tackle and a yellow card. fair. but moala shouldn't be banned for something that was totally beyond his control.

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Vanadyel April 11, 2013 1:48 am

It actually is his responsability to tackle right, in any scenario. So a 1 week ban is fair.
Similarly, as a driver, I am responsible for my driving in any case : even if a child suddenly runs in front of my car while I am below speed limit.

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Sparky April 08, 2013 3:33 am

He didn't hit him with his shoulder as the announcer says, but with his bicep.
He's been banned for the concussion.
How do you change your angle in a nano-second?
The yellow card only is fair - his arm is up high around the neck

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matt April 08, 2013 1:40 pm

I think it's extremely harsh that this lad gets banned for what appeared when I saw it to be an honest mistake, and one that was certainly made worse by the movements of the ball carrier, whilst Nonu flies in with a deliberate, and high, shoulder charge and is let off with a yellow?

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Full Back April 08, 2013 3:49 pm

With a yellow??? Not even mate, let off with a warning!

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browner April 08, 2013 4:06 pm

More high hits, inevitable concussions ..... the scurge of the game.

It's a clear red card, arriving player smashes his face with his arm.

It the player hadnt ducked slightly this would still have ended up sliding up & through the throat area - vitually unavoidable .

Ive been saying for 3 years that these are getting worse, watch everyone change tune when the serious injury's arrive.

Genuine tackles are below the armpit in these instances, more crap RL techniques filtering into my sport.. get rid.

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CambridgeshireKid April 09, 2013 12:28 am

I think you are a troll, but your spelling is so bad that your trolling doesn't even make sense.

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browner April 09, 2013 2:55 pm

& that's it is it, the sum total of your thoughts - pathetic.

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browner April 08, 2013 4:24 pm

Ive now freeze framed this from 0.46s onwards, the arriving players arm was always at the same height & the catcher would have taken a hit through the throat.

If you wanna hit someone hard, then the shoulder into the guts with arms wrapping around the player is the standard way... Moala's shoulder was virtually outside the bodyline of the catcher, so a arm tackle was only ever intended.

The IRB must put more onus on the tackler ...... if they don't then they are culpable in the injuries that follow.

It is not accpetable for a bloke running at 20+mph to hit a stationary catcher ANYWHERE above the armpit level IMO - Zero tolerance.


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matt April 08, 2013 6:33 pm

I don't think many people disagree with this. I think most people's problem is with the total lack of consistency in the citing process, this guy gets banned and Nonu gets a yellow? And I hate to bring it up again, but the Hore incident? We're saying that the difference between the two offences is that small?

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browner April 09, 2013 2:59 pm

you're entering the murky world of politics ! it stinks

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Reality April 08, 2013 6:28 pm

I have to say that I don't share the general opinion here that Moala was unlucky and the other guy was somehow responsible. If you're catching a high ball, you naturally duck a bit to take the impact, and even if he ducked a bit more than usual because of bad technique, it was still the tackler's responsibility to tackle him within the limits of the law.

If someone jumps at the last second to take a high ball and the tackler flies into them, then it's the tackler's fault. Should it not be the same thing here?

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BoshMyLord April 08, 2013 8:37 pm

Its surely the tacklers responsibility to ensure his tackle is not dangerous? Running at full tilt from 30 meters away doesnt grant him any lenancy, neither does the actions of the tackled player.

This tackle is reckless. If you cant ensure that the innitial contact you make will not be high, then you shouldnt be making that contact running at full speed.

Not malicious tho. I think I'd rather see him red carded and not subsequently banned.

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browner April 09, 2013 2:57 pm

High tackles are mostly malicious, you intent to go high ! I always knew what i was doing !

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AndyBoy April 08, 2013 9:58 pm

Clear red card. The tackle was high and could have easily impacted the guy's wind pipe.

If you're going to smash the guy, make sure the tackle is a proper tackle. Running full pelt and then aiming at the shoulders is always going to cause injury.

Poor play and a shame that their are so many apologists for it.

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browner April 09, 2013 2:58 pm

Applause to AndyBoy

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Sammo April 09, 2013 11:39 pm

I also feel the tackle was fine, he had the ball and was on the ground so therefore it is not late or early.

Secondly yes he has gone a bit high I guess from looking at the footage if he had been standing straight he would have hit him around the chest area... However he did have arms going around the player...

Regardless the player has crouched or braced for what he knew was coming this resulted in him taking it round the neck.

Feel for the guy and obviously hate seeing anyone injured but I think it may be a bit harsh on George Moala!

Just an opinion! :)

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Gmandurham April 15, 2013 9:56 pm

If he had jumped to collect the kick then he would've been fine...

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