Tonga experience too much for Namibia

Scotland beat USA for second RWC win

Wales come from behind to beat England

The Samsung School of Rugby!

Ball explodes in ITM Cup match!

George Gregan's halfback Masterclass

James Schrader's sensational try saver

Sensational Stepper Nehe Milner-Skudder

Richie McCaw reveals breakdown secrets

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paul O'Connell knocks out Dave Kearney with clumsy kick to the head

Leinster beat Munster 22-16 at a wet Thomond Park thanks to a late match-winning try by Brian O'Driscoll, but it was an ugly incident in the last quarter that had everyone talking, and could mean a few weeks on the sideline for Paul O'Connell.

The Leinster win meant that they move to second on the RaboDirect Pro12 table, three points behind leaders Ulster. O'Driscoll's try actually came from over 25 phases of possesion, before the Ireland legend dived over from close to seal the win.

Earlier in the game O'Connell, who has been in great form, kicked at the ball with little regard for Dave Kearney, who had his hand on the ball and his head between it and POC's sizable boot.

Kearney left the field unconcious from the blow, and referee Nigel Owens and his officials failed to see it, so O'Connell avoided punishment at the time. 

"He was unconscious for a period of time. He's come back around and has probably asked the question 10 times, 'Did I catch it?'" Leinster coach Joe Schmidt told TheScore.

"He's going to be pretty relieved when he sees the footage that he did catch the ball. He's not in great shape at the moment. The main disappointment at the moment is, he has really come on.

"He's played a number of games in a row and was getting into a rhythm. He's likely to miss a few games now. That's probably his biggest frustration," he added.

View a highlights recap from the game on page 2

Clearly dangerous, it was more irresponsible than intentional - what kind of ban will this bring?

UPDATE: O'Connell has escaped sanction after the incident was viewed by citing commissioner Eddie Walsh to be careless and nothing more. It was decided that he was making a genuine attempt to kick the ball, and there was no deliberate intent.

View full match highlights of Munster vs Leinster from Thomond Park

Time: 4:52
Credit: rabodirectpro12

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:00 pm | View Comments (100)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 100 comments

colm April 14, 2013 11:36 pm

absolute disgrace as much as i am glad to see o'connell back in the game but that is not rugby, he should get a ban, sad and all as it would be but you can just kick at someones head like that.

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curates_egg April 14, 2013 11:41 pm

O'Connell had no place going in full force with the boot with a head between him and the ball. Shocking viewing and reflects very badly on him: dangerous and reckless is mild. He deserves a decent ban. Very sad, as last week he had pushed himself into Lions captaincy contention. Rabo citing notoriously political though.

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Paul April 15, 2013 6:02 pm

It's a contact sport not tiddlywinks. The ball was there to be kicked. It was slightly reckless and hugely uncoordinated but he had every right to go for the ball.

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leinsterblue April 15, 2013 10:00 pm

He kicked his head, then his hand and never contacted the ball.

Dangerous play, accidental I hope, a player died from the exact same thing in South Africa..

It is illegal to kick an opponent on the ground in MMA, which is a contact port, I hope you or your loved ones are not the next statistic for something like this.

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Paul April 15, 2013 10:18 pm

I suppose the ball just magically shot out of Kearney's hands then.

Kicking a loose ball is not dangerous play. It resulted in a horrible accident but not dangerous play. Players have been paralysed from collapsed scrums, a player died in Texas after being tackled and a kid died in Ireland having taken a couple of heavy hits. Should we wipe scrums and tackling from the game?

I'm all for throwing the book at players who actively endanger the safety of others through dangerous play but this was a simple accident that happened within the rules of the game. Once a ball is placed it is fair game. That's a key fundamental of the game.

Not sure what point bringing myself and my friends and family serves.

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BigBoot April 14, 2013 11:48 pm

That´s why fowards never should try to kick a ball.

But seriously: Pretty reckless by O´Connell, you can´t kick a ball while it´s still at hand.

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Yank April 15, 2013 12:11 am

Can anyone say Alan Quinlan? All together now...

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dave April 15, 2013 12:25 am

too bad for the guy that was KO'D, seems to me that paul o connell doesn't tend to be so reckless, i'm thinking the B&I Lions must be really on his mind, obviously he was trying to win the ball back and maybe anxiety of making the lions while returning from injury is clouding his judgment in the bid to impress gatland

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Warhorse Top Comment | April 15, 2013 1:18 am

I think you're reading into it a little too much haha, he's a lock and therefore is unlikely to possess any sort of coordination with his feet!

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DrG April 15, 2013 1:07 pm

Oh har har -_-

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mise April 15, 2013 1:34 am

its a funny one (as in strange)

You just can't imagine him doing it deliberately - its not his style at all - and yet it looks so clear cut.

One thing - Kearney was already at least winded and groggy when he hit the ground hand. (and then he took that boot to the head!)

Moment of complete madness by POC.

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matt April 15, 2013 1:41 am

It seems reckless and pretty dangerous and certainly requiring some action. I don't know why I think this, but in my mind O'Connell is a very aggressive and nasty piece of work. Like I said, I don't know why I think this, but my instant reaction on reading the headline was not one of surprise.

I also enjoy how RD asks us to guess at the ban length, like even the most informed of pundits has any clue what the citing bodies would award for anything nowadays, never mind when it's the leading candidate for the Lion's captaincy.

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Paul April 15, 2013 5:58 pm

And what leads you to believe that POC is a nasty piece of work. He plays hard but fair and has rarely been in trouble with the referees. You don't get chosen to lead your club, province, country and the Lions by being a nasty piece of work

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Irish-Ossie April 15, 2013 4:01 am

Nothing to it to be honest. He'd taken a ball in the air. No ruck formed - he was placing the ball back and Paul O'Connell came in and kicked the ball and caught Kearney in the head. I think if anyone should be suspended it should be the Leinster # 19 for his rucking attempt before the incident.

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FelipeG April 15, 2013 7:40 am

Don't know the man. But looking at it several times, it's hard to believe this is just clumsiness.

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edward April 15, 2013 8:37 am

The head of a rugby player is supposed to be 'sacrosanct' - it shouldn't be exposed to kicks.
Hopefully the officials will clamp down on the player in question - his recklessness could have caused serious injury.
ban estimation: considering the bans in place for tip-tackles about 6 weeks?

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Guy April 15, 2013 8:57 am

What baffles me most is that it happens richt in front of the linesman with no blocked view, yet he only seems to notice the ball getting over the sideline.

Not sure it's on purpose but something this stupid deserves a ban anywat. My guess: 4 weeks. Which will be reduced to two since he will plead guilty and will show remorse.

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07015678 April 15, 2013 9:06 am

This should have been a red card. Did the ref and touch judge both miss it? This is far more wreckless than a tip tackle, far more dangerous, far more blatant!

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TotesMcGoates April 15, 2013 9:18 am

Shades of the Alan Quinlan incident from before the last Lions tour. It will be interesting to see if the citing commity will show any leniency to a potential Lion. Quinners got the book thrown at him after a Heineken Cup game. This was not as bad as that obviously but I wonder will a Rabo commity be more sympathic than a Heineken Cup one due to ties with three of the Home Nations? Or does it all fall under ERC juristiction and therefore won't make a difference?

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STJ April 15, 2013 9:33 am

Typical of O'Connell. Has a history of offending in many ways and then putting on an air of feigned innocence when the ref sees it. Plays on the edge of the laws, knowing that sometimes he'll get away with it. Should get a hefty ban and not be considered for the Lions captaincy. Pity really, as the Lions need players with his grit and commitment.

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DrG April 15, 2013 1:12 pm

'Typical of a forward. Forwards have a history of offending in many ways and then putting on an air of feigned innocence when the ref sees it. They play on the edge of the laws, knowing that sometimes they'll get away with it.'

Or in short, welcome to the game of rugby.

I don't condone what POC did by any stretch, but your little paragraph up there against him is almost like a 'Lords prayer' for 90%+ forwards...

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Paul April 15, 2013 6:03 pm

Where's the history mate? That is absolute tosh. He's been sent off once in his career.

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Colombes April 15, 2013 10:46 am

More clumsy than malicious, but still very dangerous
Quite incredible that the linesman on Owens don't even notice it.....
so as there was no sanction on the pitch, a ban should be necessary. but like said before, we'seen that bans are often a political thing... Even more now, with the future lions selections

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andy April 15, 2013 11:54 am

I don't think its intentional.

He's not the cleanest of players, but that's not the type of player he is.

It will be a minor ban if at all.

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BradleyWicks April 15, 2013 11:55 am

Disgusting challenge, I agree with the majority of comments above - it's definitely not his style - but it must be considered that a player of his experience should know better than to attack the ball under these circumstances. Accidental or not, I believe he's looking at a ban. But I don't think Gatlin will write him out of a lions tour just yet.

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Glasgow April 15, 2013 12:08 pm

POC is usually a hard but fair player, and surely didn't mean to KO Dave Kearney in this instance. He saw the ball and went for it, clumsily and without due care--but also presumably without malice. POC doesn't have a history of malicious play and, while Matt is right to say that he is aggressive, his record in the game doesn't at all suggest that he is a nasty piece of work. Aside from the incident against the Ospreys a few years back, when he lashed out as he was being held back, his copybook is remarkably clean for an international lock. I'd like to see a stay of judgement on this one.

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endao April 15, 2013 12:09 pm

Well, we have seen it before with other high profile players getting let off or having their bans tailored for them.....Martin Johnson anyone?!
Unfortunately the arm chair warriors are out in force, POC has all of a sudden become one of the dirtiest players on the planet. He has always been a hard player (not a lot of point having a soft second row) but he has not been dirty as such.
Between a rock and a hard place, huge POC fan but even though he was clumsy, I don't see it as malicious. Probably a ban, but a short one. Kearney seems to be ok , so lucky there as well.

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themull April 15, 2013 12:16 pm

Not too much in it really..of course it looks horrible but its just very clumsy by O'Connell..From what i can tell there was no ruck formed, the player had presented the ball and it was there to be played by both teams..Clumsy by POC but I still don't think that warrants a ban...ban's should be for malicious or illegal play, while this was neither...

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Guy April 15, 2013 12:41 pm

Since when is kicking someone in the head, intentional or not, not illegal?????

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matt April 15, 2013 3:04 pm

So many "tip" and "spear" tackles get bans where they are not malicious and just clumsy, in my opinion PoC has done something here that was extremely dangerous, and let's hope it was accidental, but that doesn't mean you can just say it's fine because he didn't mean it.

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Paul April 15, 2013 9:48 pm

The difference is they are breaking a law of the game. Once you lift a player off his feet you are responsible for their safety. If you fail to bring them back to earth in the correct manner its foul play. In this case the ball was there to be kicked, O'Connell kicked it and caught Kearney by accident. Kicking the ball is not breaking the rules.

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Alex Yagoub April 15, 2013 12:20 pm

Anyone else notice at the end... 62th minute. Brilliant.

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MOONSA April 15, 2013 12:23 pm

If that was a south african it would be a life ban

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matt April 15, 2013 3:06 pm

Sort of like those terribly harsh bans handed out to Burger and Botha in the last Lions series right?
You guys are so persecuted I'm surprised the UN hasn't stepped in yet.

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Ade April 15, 2013 12:31 pm

I don't see what all the fuss is about, in my 20 years of rugby played in the back row/second row, I took frequent blows to the head from flying boots and the game is far more intense and faster now than when I played . I can see no malicious intent, yes it was stupid and reckless, but this is a contact sport; when I played, if you went to ground you laid the ball back and then tried to protect yourself from something like this. It's been blown out of proportion by the usual 'health and safety' do-gooders. 2 week ban for stupidity and that's it sorted.

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Craig April 15, 2013 12:42 pm

Sloppy attempt to hack the ball through. Should be a few weeks ban nothing more. Long suspension would be very harsh as appeared to be no malicious intent.

Irish ossie. First his was taken out in the air by a clumsy tackle. So that was a penalty outright. Then kick to head but u go on bout the rucking? Having played some junior rugby for fun id be happy to see proper rucking come back in. If your going to slow down the play and put yourself in that position then you deserve to be rucked out of it. Not condoning stamping but the art of raking an opponent to let him know to cop on and wont get away with.

Have to ask yourself, if leo cullen did that and it was simon zebo on the other end of it would it have been talked up differently? A man with no chance of making the lions but equally as committed to providing the grit forvhis team.

Anyone remember the shane jennings incident with nick Kennedy a few years back. Got banned for weeks for gouging an opponent who later stated that he hadn't made contaxt with the eye area and was said in the heat of the match? No one cried out for justice as he wasn't going on the lions tour whereas quinlan was

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Rugbydump April 15, 2013 12:45 pm

Updated with highlights, which you can view on the second page of this post

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Facepalm April 15, 2013 12:51 pm

Stoopid is as stoopid does.

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DrG April 15, 2013 1:21 pm

Tough call. As with many I disagree that O'Connell is a 'nasty piece of work.' I'd say even Victor Matfield (who appears to be positively gentlemanly on the field) is "nastier" than O'Connell... And whilst we're on it, if POC is nasty then what is Bakkies Botha???

Anyway, moving on. As I said I don't think POC is your nasty second row type, however that doesn't help me out when it comes to deciding on a punishment for this. I would guess it was clumsy/accidental, however I think it's probably important to make a mountain out of this and punish hard to discourage others from taking a swipe at the ball in a similar situation. Perhaps a bit like spear tackles etc, we're just seeing them ALL being hammered so that there is less risk of injury.

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matt April 15, 2013 3:09 pm

Botha is as nasty and as tough as they come. However, no one pretends any different.

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DrG April 15, 2013 9:08 pm

So are you suggesting that the rugby world pretends that Paul O'Connell is a good player who is never nasty???

I've rarely seen the guy do much to warrant more than a penalty at most.

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Kiki NZ April 15, 2013 1:24 pm

Look, whether it was intentional or not (and I doubt it was), that was so reckless that it deserves a LONG citing. That was incredibly dangerous and even if it was a NZ player I would be calling for a long ban.

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Colombes April 15, 2013 2:19 pm

just for info, it is confirmed by RTE and Rabobank that POC won't receive a ban
Everyone will make its own conclusion...

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s_conner April 15, 2013 2:27 pm

The ball doesn't look at all like it's there to be kicked, unless you go straight through the player's head first... which is what POC did! I'd position it somewhere between clumsy and malicious... I'll plump for reckless.

2 week ban

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BestHookerInTown April 15, 2013 2:47 pm

Controversial call not to cite, I'm sure some people here will knock banter out of this conversation so!!

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Jean-Luc April 15, 2013 3:05 pm

Whether it is intentional or not shouldn't have anything to do with bans (in any kind of situation really): he clearly put kearny's safety at risk there. Players should be accountable for this, just as with eye-gouging in a brawl or uncontrolled, unwished spear tackles.
That's for the objective part of my comment. Now moving on to the political aspect, I can't help but notice that Munster is playing a strong Clermont side in 2 weeks time. We've seen months and (dare i say) years bans for careless but dangerous plays. Strange that "nothing at all" can still happen...

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max25591 April 15, 2013 3:10 pm

so how is this different to a tip/spear tackle that isnt intentional? i mean both are very dangerous, and i would say this (even tho not intentional) is even more dangerous that a speak/dup/tip tackle. Even without intent the fact that it happened, means there should be a ban as you cant go kicking people in the head wether it be intentional or not... Stuggling to see the diference between this and another dangerous play which the citing comission will happily ban players for!

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vannrugby April 15, 2013 3:16 pm

Of course he's not suspended, as if the Irish Federation could have done such a thing before the H-Cup semi-final. He's no Cudmore or any other non-Irish (non-british) player. He's fair by birth. The commissionner understood well that the very idea of suspending O'Connell would be heretic. It doesn't matter if it's voluntary or not, if it's dangerous or not. There is no world where POC would be suspended for an important match. Good job commissioner.

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Yannoche April 15, 2013 3:56 pm

Felt the same.
It's like you can't spit, but you can kick.

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Ian April 15, 2013 6:47 pm

And of course, neither of you are biased at all... :/

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Yannoche April 16, 2013 9:23 am

Like the citing commissionner. :)

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matt April 15, 2013 3:16 pm

Does anyone know how the official citing processes are supposed to balance the intent of the offender vs the actual results?
It seems to be a bit strange that BOD got a fairly decent ban for his superficial stamp in the 6N, where as POC is let off with nothing for what was a quite serious, but probably accidental, incident here.

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cheyanqui April 15, 2013 4:07 pm

Absolute hor$e$h!t to not get cited.

Making contact with a player's head, "Outcome" should trump "intent". Kicking at a ball that is still CLEARLY IN POSSESSION of the ball carrier (under his arm and placing it) is a questionable act -- and if the outcome results in a head injury -- should have gotten the book.

Now for my troll -- imagine how quickly POC (and all the other Munster loudmouths who don't wear captain's armbands) would have been in the ear of the referee if it happened to his team. At least he did look concerned for the guy.

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tom April 15, 2013 7:26 pm

This is the problem with comment on an incident like this. You clearly don't know the rules and maybe you haven't ever played the game.

D Kearney is NOT CLEARLY IN POSESSION of the ball because (1) he is on the ground and it is illegal for him to be is posession of the ball and (2) it is free play - no ruck formed. He is entitled to place his hand on the ball but not to impede any other player from taking it or playing it. O'Connell makes contact with the ball with his toe to and connects with Kearneys head with his chin. Citing commissioner saw it that way also. None of this would have arisen if a yellow card was given which is all it was. No citing because it wasn't a red card offence. Fellas throwing the knickers off themselves because an injury was received to the head doesn't help.

Troll all you like. But before you do, PLEASE educate yourself because you clearly do not know what you're talking about. Paying for a ticket doesn't entitle you to troll or shout down anybody. Actual knowledge of the game does.

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Facepalm April 15, 2013 9:42 pm

Why does possession of the ball have any relevance?

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cheyanqui April 15, 2013 11:51 pm


I guess my point was that it's one thing for both players trying to gain possession (think of a "50-50 ball" if you will), and one dives for it head first, while another goes to kick it.

If that were the case, I might say “bad luck”.

But in this case, Kearney clearly held the ball, and was placing it down to release it.

He shouldn't expect to get kicked in the head.

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cheyanqui April 15, 2013 11:48 pm

Kearney gathered the ball and had control of it.
He was bumped in the air, and fell to ground, and was in the process of placing it.
No tackler held him, so not a tackle.
No players from opposing teams formed around him, so no ruck formed.
No Munster player came over the top and try and strip it, so no obligation for Kearney to release the ball
Per Law 14.1(a) – a player on the ground must immediate do one of three things – get up, pass the ball, release the ball. Kearney was clearly in the process of doing so, so I don’t think he was infringing.

The way I see it,
Kearney was complying with the law.
POC violated 10.4(c) – “A player must not kick an opponent”

So maybe my use of the term “possession” is a little imprecise (it is defined in the IRB Laws of the Game as a player “… carrying the ball”). But I generally have a pretty decent grasp of the law.

As for my “troll” – it was simply a comment about the habits of certain pro players who always get in the ears of the ref on every single play—almost emulating footballers.

My troll was not directed at the comments made by any previous posters.

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nemo34 April 15, 2013 5:14 pm

I don't pretend he hit the head purposedly but it still is dangerous play and would deserve a ban. Unfortunately, he's supposed to lead Munster against Clermon on H-Cup semi-final next week. Therefore we can't have him ban right now.

What a joke!

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gareth April 15, 2013 5:24 pm

i don't want to see O Connell representing the lions after watching that. That is sickening. I was all for him being named captain before that! What was he thinking?!

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Jean-Luc April 15, 2013 5:45 pm

Some will say he was thinking of the ball and missed it, some will say he was thinking of the head and made it, some will say he was not thinking, but you're spot on Gareth: the commissioner Eddie Walsh seems to know what he was thinking. That's why he is commissioner and we're just sports fans :)

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elvis15 April 15, 2013 6:11 pm

Deliberate? Probably not. Dangerous? Definitely yes. I'd say he's luck to have escaped further discipline at this point considering that has to be an area just like tip tackles where even if it isn't intended, you have to think of player safety first and your own team's advantage second. The ball being moved just prior to kicking him doesn't help his case either, as it moves from right beside the head to further away and it should have made him more mindful of the danger.

Step over and ruck (I'm sure he knows how to do that as a forward) should be his first instinct, not kick a ball close to a player's head.

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Big jim April 15, 2013 10:14 pm

He couldn't step over and ruck as he had no-one to ruck against, fairly obviously.

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Ronan April 15, 2013 7:13 pm

bad reffing by owens and touch judge, kearny was hit in the air so should have been a penalty straihgt away,
oconnell shouldnt have had the opertunity to boot kearny in the head...

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cheyanqui April 15, 2013 11:58 pm

To me, the hit in the air was a little clumsy -- #15 was going for the ball, but then stopped. Could have been penalized, but I could have just as easily seen that as play on.

But I think that was the red herring that distracted Owens and the ARs. Maybe they thought he was knocked out by the hit, and/or the players were yelling about that.

But looking at the PRO12 rules on their website, it seems they cannot go to the TMO for foul play. Is that right?

What a crazy-quilt of rules we have across competitions -- H-Cup has foul play TMO, but Amlin doesn't?

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Lucius April 15, 2013 7:59 pm

Even in Mma fights such kicks aren't allowed. Ban ban ban

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Hughino April 15, 2013 8:17 pm

In top level rugby you get payed well to play agressively. In my view, POC played much like a rugby mercenary. He obviously meant to play the ball, he just had no time to consider the gentleman part of rugby, as he gets payed to win. The bigger the stakes, the bigger the risks, the more players will forget about this gentleman part. Yes, we play hard, we play agressively, we get hurt sometimes; it's all part of the game we love so much, but IMO this shows something is off in rugby and I think it's the money.

Also, how is this for an example to youngsters? A player kicks another player, who's down on the ground, to the head and gets away with it?

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JRM April 15, 2013 9:04 pm

what an oaf.

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DrG April 15, 2013 9:14 pm

What a 'Crock of shite' with that outcome...

"there was no deliberate intent." - Ok, brilliant, I totally agree with that sentiment... But wait, haven't players in the past been banned for high tackles, spear tackles, tip tackles, etc when apparently there has been "no deliberate intent"...

So POC tried to kick the ball and kicks a head and it's careless.... Someone dodges into a tackle and I take their head off by accident and it's "reckless, unintentional" and I still get a ban...

Again, I'm not suggesting that there was in any way something darker and nastier to this incident, I think it's clear as day it was an accident. I just think, shouldn't players be discouraged from kicking the ball in perhaps a very risky situation.. I don't want to jump on the "what if" bandwagon, but people, in the past have actually died from kicks to the head (in fights on the streets etc) so wouldn't THIS type of thing be far more important to investigate that a tip tackle where a player goes JUST past the horizontal and the tackler gets banned...

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Paul April 15, 2013 10:00 pm

Why do people keep using tip tackles as a point of reference. They are polar opposites. Tip tackles are clearly defined by the laws of the game. If you lift a player you are responsible for returning them to the ground. Same goes for high tackles. Anything above the shoulders is foul play. Regardless of intent. This was an entirely different matter.

Kearney was not in control of the ball. Once he hit the deck and presented it back the ball was live. There was no ruck formed so POC was totally within his rights to play the ball. The fact he kicked Kearney in the process was unfortunate but did not break any rules of the game.

Say a loose ball is hacked through and two players go for it. Player A tries to dive on the ball and player B tries to kick it through. Player B connects with the ball but in the process kicks player A in the head and knocks him out. Should player B be cited? Because despite the circumstances this and the POC incident are both the same under the laws of the game.

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TotesMcGoates April 16, 2013 12:18 am

What you've described is definite foul play. A citing would be judged on the recklessness of the challenge and, it seems from this incident, intent.

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Paul April 16, 2013 12:34 am

Do you play rugby? That couldn't be further from foul play. It's a live ball. There is no intent and the only recklessness is on the part of player A diving trying to dive on the ball.

I've played, coached and refereed the sport and one of the key fundamentals is the ability to contest a live ball. Once Kearney placed that ball it was no longer in his possession and free for POC to contest. What he did was reckless and might have warrented a yellow card but it was not a red and therefor not open to being cited for it.

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TotesMcGoates April 16, 2013 1:25 am

If you've refereed then you'll be familiar with 10.4 d). You can't kick an opponent. Possession or lack thereof is not a factor.

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Paul April 16, 2013 1:39 am

If you'd played or refereed the game you would be aware that all is not black and white. Here's two incidents for you.

Nick Groom kicks Pretorious. Should he be cited and banned.

Here's POC kneeing BOD. Again should he be cited and banned.

You are not allowed to kick an opponent if it is an act of foul play outside the natural course of the game. Like with say O'Gara in Scotland. But players get kicked all the time during a game. At the bottom of rucks, trying to block kicks, trying to kick loose balls and on and on.

Hell Kearney's foot makes contact with Jones chest when he catches the ban. Lets cite and ban him too. The kick was an accident. No intent and it happened in the natural course of the game. Hence one of the best referee's in the game and the citing commissioner, who are much more versed in the ins and outs of the laws ruled in POC's favour.

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TotesMcGoates April 16, 2013 2:03 am

I never implied or inferred anything about citing or a ban. I merely said that kicking a player is foul play. For the BOD example, the operative word in 10.4 d) is 'opponent'. For Pretorious, he puts himself in the line of fire.

Looking forward to your next essay.

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Paul April 16, 2013 2:09 am

So you can karate kick a teammate and it's all good?

No need for an essay because you've said nothing that actually counters the points I've raised.

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TotesMcGoates April 16, 2013 2:20 am

Well, I don't think it is foul play; which side would you award the penalty to would be the first problem. Your teammate might get upset about it though!

Calm down, mate. I'm just winding you up.

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Paul April 16, 2013 2:24 am

Not worked up or wound up at all mate. Not that easy to push my buttons.

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DrG April 17, 2013 1:36 am


In reply to your post where you provided some links...are you slightly lacking in your mental abilities?

How are either one of those in anyway like POC's kick...

Pretorious was charging down the ball (and subsequently stealing it) and BOD was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time. Neither showed any recklessness.

Actually this whole thing sort of reminds me of Jerry Flannery's kick on a French player years ago which; wait for it, was down as "reckless rather than deliberate."

Read all about it:

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Paul April 17, 2013 1:52 am

You should worry about your own mental abilities before questioning mine.

Those links were provided as part of a wider conversation. I wasn't using them to compare to the POC incident. They were in reference to a point made that you can never kick, intentionally or unintentionally, an opponent. They were provided to show that rules are not all black and white.

Now that I've joined the dots for you lets get to Flannery. The difference is that POC was kicking at a ball that was there to be kicked legally. Flannery was was about 5 seconds too late with his kick and a case could easily be made for intent. France could very well have scored had he not totalled Palisson.

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DrG April 17, 2013 12:15 pm

@Paul if I recall correctly the BOD incident was a knee to the head? Was it not? Therefore it's irrelevant, as for the Pretorious incident, if I hold my fist out and you run onto it, does that mean I punched you in the face? Cos that's pretty much how the Pretorious incident went down.

Now onto Flannery, despite being about half an hour too late, he too was kicking at a ball he was legally allowed to boot. Now no denying POC was legally allowed to put his boot to the ball, however, it was done recklessly, he kicked Kearney's head BEFORE he kicked the ball, or did you miss that part? So in short: unintentional, but reckless... Try reading it out aloud, it might sink in better!

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Paul April 17, 2013 7:58 pm

There is no point going into such depth on those incidents. I was using them to highlight the fact that the rules aren't just black and white. There is often a grey area. A more pertinent comparison would be the one I used in another post about two players chasing a loose ball.

The timing plays a huge role in the discussion. Flannery had more than enough time to realise the ball was not there to be kicked anymore.

With POC it's maybe half a second and a few millimetres out from being entirely legal kick. In a game such as rugby you have to give a little leeway. I've said before it was reckless and that he deserved to spent 10 minutes in the bin but I don't think it was worthy of a red card and therefor not a cite-able offence.

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DrG April 17, 2013 11:49 pm

"half a second and a few millimetres out from being entirely legal kick"

But because it was a few millimetres out and half a second late it was not a legal kick? Therefore it was illegal? Therefore deserved of a penalty? And as a result of an illegal kick to the head, a red card. However seeing as no red card was issued during the game, a subsequent ban should have been issued for at least 1 week....

I totally agree that when you see this incident which I truly believe was accidental, it's hard to conjure up thoughts of a red card and a ban, because as I said, it was accidental, but the laws are there not only to govern a "fair game" but also to protect the players, and fly hacking at a loose/semi-loose ball, and striking someone in the head FIRST, shows a huge lack of restraint from O'Connell. I'd still suggest a ban if only to get players to perhaps think in that split second about what they're doing... I hate to do the whole melodramatic shit but, a win is definitely what everyone is after, but at the cost of another players career through injury etc? I don't think any player feels that the game is that big... Apart from Bakkies...

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DrG April 20, 2013 7:13 pm

I think we both probably agree on the incident, our disagreement comes when we talk about the punishment or no punishment.

I personally tend to view red cards as something given to the most deliberate heinous acts, so it's hard to see one givn here, but then I hate seeing cards given for tip tackles when little, o no danger is apparent...

Instinctively I'd say, "accident, pick the guy up, tell POC not to be such a oaf, get on with the game" but because of the way the sport has changed now I feel like a red card could, perhaps should, have been shown.

I know you don't like the talk of spear tackles in this topic, however I just feel that whole duty of care thing, or responsibility of the tackler, maybe should play out here...

Then again, players have in the past had their faces stepped on out of pure accident and the boot owner has not been sent off, so perhaps it's just one of those things..

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Paul April 18, 2013 12:21 am

Step away from the incident for a moment and say POC misses Kearney and hacks the ball through. Is that legal? In my eyes it is and thats why I would deem it to be a yellow card and now more.

If he was swinging at a ball that wasn't there to be kicked then it's a red card, x week ban and move on. But the ball was there to be played and he went after it legally. Thats a key fundamental of the game. Should he have stood back and let Leinster retain possession?

I'm all for player safety but I don't think POC crossed a line here. He went in recklessly but legally. The contact he made deserved a yellow card but it was not a sending off offence.

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DrG April 16, 2013 12:28 pm

@Paul, yes, tip tackles are well defined by the law, so is kicking someone. The main reason I used ANY other illegal act was to point out that 'INTENT' has BUGGER ALL TO DO WITH ANYTHING!!!! So so soooo many of you are using the word intent as is the citing commissioner when, again, intent means nothing, I.e I intend to tackle a player legally yet somehow he ends up doing an ostrich impression, I still get banned, or I intend to really hurt a player doing something legal, and as long as its legal I DON'T get banned, it's as simple as that!

Whether Kearney had the ball or not is another matter than is clearly debatable, however again you clearly miss the point and score another 10 points. What I am talking about is 'recklessness' many players have been banned for it in the past even when they were 'well within their rights.' THIS is undoubtably reckless from POC, agreed there was NO INTENT to injure (which counts for SFA) but reckless use of the boot meant he kicked a player (which as you have been told is illegal) - à la BAN, to encourage people to be a little more careful.

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alasdairduncan3 April 16, 2013 12:06 am

There looked to be some intent there, however sly, no man is that stupid. Great player and all but should have been punished for that one.

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cheyanqui April 16, 2013 2:07 am

it's clear at 0:44 that the ball is still in the grip of his hand. and for those that think the strike was ok -- he actually strikes Kearney's head FIRST.
Kearney does not actually release the ball until he was KTFO.

So through either fact pattern, POC arrives at the same sanction:

1. Kearney releases the ball because he was KTFO by POC, and then POC's own follow subsequently makes contact with the ball. because he struck a player first -- PK -- and red card -- against Munster.
2. POC wanted the ball to be presented to him by a player who did not immediately release it to him. PK against Leinster for not releasing the ball. PK reversal -- and red card -- for POC taking the law into his own hands.

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Jean-Luc April 16, 2013 8:18 am

@Paul: Okay so tip tackles are defined by the law of games. One step further, I'm sure reckless kicks in the head are defined by the law (not an Ireland law expert I must admit). Even though in court it would be ruled based on consequences first and then intention, people are meant to understand the potential consequences of their actions and I don't think anyone has such control over their legs as to decide the consequences of taking that chance.
I don't want my kids to feel like hitting a head in the process of trying to legally recover a ball is an act of fair play, let alone the pure obvious safety aspects. He could and should have recovered the ball by stepping over Kearney. What a poor call.
You get 12 weeks for spitting (outraging and deserved without questions, but not against anyone's safety) because of fair play. Not caring for your folks isn't a great choice.

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Frenchie April 17, 2013 1:02 am

Shocking behavior and shocking final decision! Bias decision? Given the Clermont vs Munster game and the importance of the line out we could be tempted to say yes.

So you can kick your opponent in the head and get away with nothing? not even a yellow?

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KeithH2 April 17, 2013 4:40 am

Utter incompetence - on the part of the player, refs, and review board. He showed a complete disregard by kicking the player before the ball. Even football has rules against that. Heinous lack of enforcement of the laws.

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AndyBoy April 17, 2013 2:00 pm

Intent is irrelevant. Try to kick the ball in that situation and you risk kicking the opponent's head.

Foul play - whatever card the rules allow for dangerous play should have been applied. A ban? Maybe.

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impartial April 17, 2013 10:35 pm

Clearly a ban for reckless behavior (2-3 weeks). simple as that .political decision by IRFU employed citing commisioner, I was intending to support Munster for the Clermont game , not now as they will have a player who shouldn't be playing. this player (DK) was unconscious for over two minutes; a serious neurological event. how long before a high profile player gets killed?

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Vanadyel April 18, 2013 1:10 pm

Does this mean that I can high-tackle if i didn't intend to?

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rdump April 18, 2013 11:55 pm

Yes indeed. Actually you can also gouge if it's not intentional. For example if the opponents' eyes happen to be somewhere between your fingers and the ball. As long as it's not intentional your ok.

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EatMyRugbyShorts April 18, 2013 2:49 pm

The camera angles don't make this look good however in the last angle shown (0:46 - 0:51 in the video) its clear he's going for the ball.

To me it looks like reckless/careless injury causing play that was clearly avoidable - so I reckon he should've been cited. Maybe he would've been found not guilty but a citing sends a message that more care is required in the future.

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Farrell April 19, 2013 12:14 am

Munster players always seem to do clumsy things against Leinster, might be a bit of a pattern. John Hayes red card (Cian Healey's head got caught between his foot and the ground. Alan Quinlan "Cullens eye got in the way of his finger just looks bad in slow motion" and now O Connell, his head got in the way of my foot and the ball.

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Goulix April 21, 2013 6:42 pm

Just imagine how many days a French player should take for an action like that...

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John1239 May 16, 2013 1:04 pm

Mate, he kicked him square in the head. Hard. The ball wasn't loose, it was behind his head. The ball shot out because o'Connell kicked his head into it. Tackles, scrums etc are all intrinsic parts of the game, all have risks and all are designed and taught to (hopefully) do as little actual damage as possible, big injuries and fatalities are thankfully the exception in all these scenarios. Booting someone in the head is not an integral part of the game and injuries such as Kearney's are to be expected therefore the action is stupid and be illegal. I don't think it was particularly malicious, but it was reckless and should have been punished accordingly.

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Mastersa May 16, 2013 3:13 pm

Owen's should have blown up as Kearny was off his feet catching the ball when 15 who made no attempt to catch took him out and the officials let themselve down two seconds later with not spotting that wreckless kick. Finally, compounded by no citing for this Wreckless endagerment. Wrong! Sends the wrong message to parents thinking of getting their kids into this great sport. Actions should be based on what happenend and not the previous perceived good charactor of Paul O'Connell whom I am as it happens a fan of.

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