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James Schrader's sensational try saver

HUGE hit between giant Polish forwards

Sky Sport NZ's Super Rugby Player Awards

Recap from Highlanders' historic win

Horrell hit hard by Malakai Fekitoa

Touching Haka from Under 20's

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brian O'Driscoll dumped off the ball by Mauro Bergamasco

Leinster are waiting to hear if Zebre's Mauro Bergamasco will be cited following an off the ball tackle on Brian O'Driscoll during the RaboDirect PRO12 match at the weekend. So near to the Lions tour, fans will be pleased to note that he wasn't injured. 

There have been vocal calls for a citing though, as the Leinster star was tackled not only without the ball, but lifted and dumped down in a way that could have caused some damage.

It appeared as though Bergamasco thought he had read an inside switch, but you can see he was looking at O'Driscoll - who didn't have the ball - and went through with the heavy tackle anyway.

It went unnoticed and unpunished at the time, despite the centre being clearly incensed. A shoulder injury ahead of the Lions tour, especially in this manner, would have been cruel irony.

The PRO12 Independant Citing Commisioner has 50 hours from the start of the match to make a decision on whether Bergamasco should be cited. That runs to 4:30pm today. 

Coach Joe Schmidt was relieved to leave Italy without any injuries, after Isa Nacewa was also on the receiving end of a questionable tackle. He wasn't overly concerned at the time though.

"I think there were a couple of things that might get looked at. They were both happy to continue," said Schmidt. "Drico hasn't played a lot in the last 10 weeks and Isa didn't play over the Six Nations at all. They were pretty keen to get game time under their belts. So, we left them on."

Leinster won the game 41-22, with O'Driscoll setting up a try and playing well throughout. 

Do you think Bergamasco should be cited for this, or was he just overzealous?

*Wednesday 24 April update: Bergamasco was not cited.

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:38 am | View Comments (79)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 79 comments

Qeu April 23, 2013 10:54 am

Red card all way long.

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Bokfan April 23, 2013 11:01 am

Ofcourse he must be cited. But so should O'Driscoll for taking the law into his own hands for punching. Red cards both.

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macmurchu April 23, 2013 11:06 am

Bullshit! When have you ever seen a player on the receiving end of that not react? And they were hardly punches, handbags at best

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Bokfan April 23, 2013 11:20 am

He hits like the fairy he is. You are correct. But you are NOT allowed to take the law into your own hands. No matter what the cause. The fact that YOU think it is ok..does not change the rules. Last time I retaliated for hitting the arms of someone who was holding me without the ball. I got yellow. Last time I punched someone in the head because ...again I was held without the ball...I got red and 5 matches suspension. And I accept it...because where would it all end if everyone just retaliated.

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BBRL April 23, 2013 12:23 pm

You call that punching?? That can't even be classed as a retaliation! I've seen handbags more vicious than that. Off the ball tackle is a pen and maybe a yellow because it was so obvious and lifted. Nothing more, no ban - the tackle was totally within the laws. And BOD deserves nothing of the kind - except maybe to be shown the footage again so he can see how he was tonked on his arse again by Bergamasco.

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Bokfan April 23, 2013 12:42 pm

Like I said...he hits like a fairy. Whe I got banned for hitting...I shattered the guy's cheekbone and shifted his eye socket. But the law says nothing about how hard! A punch is a punch. Who cares what you think about it. Or I for that matter.

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hedderball April 24, 2013 9:33 pm

Did you have to go on a course to learn how to talk such a load of complete arse or did it come naturally. I suppose when O'Driscoll absolutely minced Roussow in the 2nd Lions Test in Pretoria he was being a fairy?

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Harry_McMahon May 04, 2013 1:03 am

Wow, Bokfan, you are sooo cool. Can I be your mate??? Tell me again how tough you are after smashing someone's face in... I just want to hang around with you... You cock jockey!

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Hater April 23, 2013 1:15 pm

So a hater made it further in rugby than you ever did?

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Hater April 23, 2013 1:17 pm

So a fairy made it further in rugby than you ever did?*

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goodNumber10 April 23, 2013 1:37 pm

wow! you sound like a lovely person, just the type this game need. :/

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ColinCharvis April 23, 2013 2:17 pm

"I shattered the guy's cheekbone and shifted his eye socket"

Wow, you're such a legend. tell us more.

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joe April 23, 2013 4:03 pm

only players who have no rugby skills resort to punching.....

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RealBok April 23, 2013 5:11 pm

Sure you did bro, then did you get off your computer game and join the world? You are clealy a little girl-key-board warrior. Stop boasting on the internet, you're making us real boks look like fools. It is a red for Bergamasco and the retaliation was just wrestling, no punching at all.

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Fin April 24, 2013 12:14 am

Wow, you broke some guy's cheek bone and eye socket. You must be so tough! just a quick question... who are you trying to impress here?

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Crusader13 April 24, 2013 10:22 am

Oh my god you're a loser. Nobody believes your story and even if it is true you're a joke commenting on rugby videos about it. What are u trying to achieve? Also o'driscoll a fairy? Probably the best centre of our generation and tough as nails too.

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Full Back April 23, 2013 11:01 am

I wouldn't say red, if he had the ball it was borderline. Yellow card for off the ball tackle.

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DaveC April 23, 2013 11:08 am

Nothing in it. When dumpy lines like that are run, an off the ball tackle becomes a grey area. If you want to say the tackle is a red cant you say its a red for O'Driscoll running the dumpy line into him and taking him out of the phase of play?

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Niall April 23, 2013 4:24 pm

If you could just tackle anyone without the ball because they were running a play then it would defeat the purpose of running a play. You're completely wrong and clearly have never played rugby.

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Full Back April 24, 2013 1:25 pm

It's called a dummy line...dumpy line makes no sense on any level...if if he did get dumped :D

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HowardTheDuck April 23, 2013 11:09 am

It was of the ball, so it should have been a penalty for that (Bergamasco might have the mitigating factor that BOD was a dummy run on that play).
Tacklewise I do not see anything wrong with that. It does not go "beyond the horizontal" (BOD lands flat on his back), the tackler does not let go and brings him to ground. BOD takes exception, so he obviously isn't hurt (at least not physically).

I think his lashing out is due to the fact that their personal score is now 2-0 in Mauro's favor.

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Guy April 23, 2013 11:23 am

Agree with Howard: I don't see much wrong with the tackle itself although it's close to the edge of the rules. It was off the ball, don't know what the punishment should be for that. Not a citing in my humble opinion.

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Guy April 23, 2013 11:23 am

And by rules I meant laws.

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matt April 23, 2013 11:56 am

I'm with you two, the tackle looked fine to me, it was a dump tackle, not friendly, but not illegal either (yet). The fact that it was off the ball is not good, but I hardly think it warrants a citing, the ref and touch judges should be the ones in trouble, how do 3 professionals miss a tackle of that size away from the ball?
I know Berg has a bad reputation, but I think he did well not to react to BOD's reaction, there are a lot of players who would have taken that chance to try and earn a yellow for the oppos talisman.

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goodNumber10 April 23, 2013 1:44 pm

you say he doesn't come through the horizontal and he controls the descent of BOD but neither are true... legs pass the horizontal and BM has no control over either of them as both his feet leave the ground..

It's a dangerous tackle...

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Conman April 23, 2013 8:10 pm

I agree #10, although it's borderline so a yellow more than a red for me based on the tackle. What turns it into a red though is how late and unnecessary it is. This whole dummy runner excuse is nonsense, he had plenty of time to see BOD didn't get the ball but he set himself, lifted him up and drove through the tackle to knock him over.

Completley unnecessary and potentially dangerous, therefore, he deserves a ban. It's a cheap shot basically.

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Chris April 23, 2013 11:11 am

Looked like he'd committed early to the tackle, almost like he had pre-empted a planned move by Leinster. He's not brought him down gently, but I think it looks worse because BOD's legs get swung around in the tackle, partly because he's trying to break away from him.
I don't feel this was enought to be classed as a tip. He never seems to break the horizontal line, and he lands flat on his back.
In the game, I don't think that should be more than a penalty. It's off the ball, but it looks like he's committed very early to the hit so maybe he's followed through because of that and not out of spite. Not worthy of a yellow imo: if it wasn't for bod's legs swinging when he tries to break free then he wouldn't have looked so close to the horizontal. He lands flat on his back, I would call that a dump tackle.
For the tackle alone: If BOD had the ball I would have given nothing really. I don't think there was enough there to penalize, I just think BOD's leg swinging round makes it look a lot worse than it actually was. It's just a big player up against a smaller guy, thinks happen. He lands him flat on his back, I'd call it a dump tackle. Play on, toughen up.

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MunsterMick April 23, 2013 11:12 am


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welshhero April 23, 2013 11:20 am

Fantastic tackle, not even borderline, he kept control of BOD and never went beyond horizontal, seriously lads if you dont want to see this type of tackling go and watch football and stop spoiling rugby union. In the modern game you have to take out dummy runners, the ball could have easily gone to BOD and if BERGAMASCO had let him through we would all be laughing at him. A penalty would have been harsh.

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CambridgeshireKid April 23, 2013 11:26 am

It's actually illegal to take people off the ball welsh hero. Give'em a bit of a wrap but no need to smash a dummy runner.

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matt April 23, 2013 11:57 am

This is a stupid thing to say, 'you have to take out dummy runners'? No you have to be in position to tackle them, thats not the same as actually tackling them. If you were allowed to do this then defending would be much easier, as you'd just take down each attacker as they got into position, ball or not.

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welshhero April 23, 2013 12:22 pm

I agree that you cant just take men of the ball, that would be silly. But you have the likes of Leinster running very good lines in twos and threes and well timed flat, short balls then you cant let them through. If BOD had been further away from the ball carrier then i would agree, but one offload and he is through, you have to defend the channels. Most players would have just dropped the shoulder on BOD which would probably be worse.

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DanKnapp April 23, 2013 2:04 pm


"Oh, that run looked really convincing, so I had to tackle him."

Nonsense. You tackle players with the ball. If a team runs a lot of good lines to trick you, well done them. The tackle would have been fine if BOD had the ball. He didn't. Penalty, nothing more, and only then for tackling a dummy runner. If he'd hit the dummy runner because he'd lined him up for a potential tackle, then couldn't get out the way, then fine, but that isn't what happened. Playing on the edge, nothing to write home about or get cited over, but still against the laws and therefore a penalty.

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DanKnapp April 23, 2013 2:05 pm

Whoops, for some reason I clicked on the wrong post to reply to. Sorry!

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DrG April 23, 2013 12:30 pm

I think what he means is you cannot always just assume the guy you are lining up is a "dummy runner" and give him a bit of a cuddle, if he turns out not to be then he'll be going full speed to flatten you...

So in some ways be as ready as you can to flatten the guy (as you would ANYONE running down your channel; well at least try too...) and be almost ready to pull out if you read the dummy...

I think it's definitely a shady area in the laws and difficult to police unless you take a black and white "off the ball" stance with it...

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matt April 23, 2013 1:30 pm

I just did not like the idea of saying you have to tackle dummy runners, as if there is nothing between letting everyone run through and tackling anybody who looks ready to take the ball. As annoying as it is that this tackle has been blown so out of proportion (would never happen with any other player at any other time of year) I do think that Bergamasco had plenty of time to see that BOD didn't have the ball, so if he had been set there and BOD ran into him, Bergamasco pushed back so as not to be flattened, and then they went there own ways there would be no complaining, but I think he has done far more than is necessary to simply cover a dummy runner

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Full Back April 24, 2013 1:27 pm

If it's not stopped then we'll end up with something similar to NFL where you have blockers.

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DrG April 24, 2013 7:32 pm

It was of course a tad over the top from Bergatobasco, but I cannot sit here and state that I have never made a "committed 'late' tackle" on a player who has passed on the ball... I can't recall ever falling for a dummy runner.. not in this horrendous fashion though lol..

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dema April 23, 2013 6:17 pm

Taking out dummy runners is what they do in American football, not rugby union.

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Jean-Luc April 23, 2013 11:29 am

Citing, these days, anyway... more a state of mind than of law

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matty April 23, 2013 11:30 am

if you run a line and get the dummy you should always expect to get tackled. tackle was good didn't go over the 90. painful but shit rugby's a hard mans game.

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Paly April 23, 2013 11:34 am

I wouldn't cite him at all. this was very convincing dummy and he reacted to that. I am not completly sure, but I thing you can tackle player in this case, because if pass were here he wouldnt have a chance react...

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DrG April 23, 2013 12:20 pm

Nothing to it, no citing, no card, penalty at most.

I'm sorry but running a dummy line is done to "fool" the opposition, if you get clattered then you can take comfort that your dummy line was very convincing. The other reason we run lines like that is to ofcourse draw away the opposition and create a gap, NOT to hope that if we DO fool them and get tackles then we get a penalty....

If he'd had the ball it would have been a fine tackle, he didn't, so penalty at most.

I'd be tempted to go so far as to say no punishment at all considering the "aggravating factors" of BOD running a convincing dummy line... But probably a penalty is the safer option to stop people getting slaughtered by dummy passes/lines etc...

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Tbksjordan April 23, 2013 12:23 pm

Ordinarily the tackle would be fine if BOD had the ball. The fact that he didn't have the ball and never did in this phase of play should have been automatic red. Cited after the match? No, a firm speaking to from the manager should be put in place for bergamasco' careless play. I think BOD hit out because he just got dump tackled without the ball? This is a game of rugby, not American Football, just because someone is running a line doesn't mean you can take them out. For anyone who can't see why he retaliated, try watching it in HD or something, you obviously didn't see the video clearly enough.

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DrG April 23, 2013 12:32 pm

But automatic red for what? A technically perfect dump tackle is not illegal and that was technically perfect (minus the ball) and an off the ball tackle is not red card worthy, last time I checked anyway... :/

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Tbksjordan April 23, 2013 12:41 pm

If bergasmaco thought that BOD had the ball why didn't he continue to try and rip it from him? From impact he clearly knew BOD was not in possession of the ball. Fair point, red could be deemed as overreacting.

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matt April 23, 2013 1:33 pm

I think even a yellow card would be viewed as deliberately making a point, as really a penalty there is 3 points, and that is plenty of punishment for a player who has done something idiotic.

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goodNumber10 April 23, 2013 1:40 pm

the tackle wasn't fine... he lifted the man and had no control over how they came down.

Bergamasco is off his feet as they come down, he has no control - it's a dangerous tackle.

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DrG April 23, 2013 2:08 pm

I'm no expert on the law, but is it that you have to have total control if you LIFT a player, or only if you take him passed the horizontal...

Call me old fashioned in my early 20's but this type of tackle has always been deemed as a successful "dump tackle" and was never in the past, frowned upon.

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browner April 24, 2013 11:49 am

check again... 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

Law says lifted + upper body = dangerous

Modernise DrG.

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DrG April 24, 2013 1:17 pm

Thank you for the law browner, I hadn't realised the game had turned that soft... BOD landed horizontally on his back so I wouldn't call that "upper body" personally...

Apparently neither would the citing commissioner...

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Full Back April 24, 2013 1:43 pm

No his back is clearly not part of his upper body....oh wait...

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DrG April 24, 2013 7:39 pm

@Full back this now comes down to either interpretation or some clarification which may be written in the laws read on:

What is defined as a "body"? Is that a Torso? or is it an entire person.

I'd personally call the "BODY" the Torso, I'd then call the solar plexus about mid "body", therefore above the solar plexus would be classed as "upper body"...

So landing horizontally on his back would not (in my eyes) constitute the "upper body"... landing with your shoulders on the ground whilst your lower back was in the air would constitute the upper body.

Anyway, I'd be somewhat happy for my interpretation to be altered with evidence, but that is what I meant..

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10stonenumber10 April 23, 2013 1:16 pm

I've taken a few of these hits. Defender reads the "potential" dummy runner... if you're calling for it at full pelt to draw a defender and get smashed... doesn't that mean you've just done your job very well within the context of the play? Quarter of a second later run and Berg may have pulled out.

If you're calling the ball, going full bore at someone who has his head down, in the words of the great Tana, it's not Tiddlywinks... you're going to get your ribs re-arranged. It's as much on the attacker as the defender, you run into a man without the ball it's as much your fault for getting smashed as the person smashing you.

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stroudos April 26, 2013 7:54 am

Exactly. Most sensible comment so far.

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10stonenumber10 April 23, 2013 1:19 pm

and whether I have the ball or not, If i get dumped big style, I can't help but react a bit to the bloke clambering all over you when you're on the floor, never swinging unless it was dirty/late/spear, but a bit of rough "getting up" is part of the game!

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goodNumber10 April 23, 2013 1:38 pm

through the horizontal, no control over the man coming down, off the ball.

Citing please...

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Flanker April 23, 2013 2:14 pm

I don't think that is a red card. Maybe yellow since O'Driscoll had no ball...the tackle was hard but legal.

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Jungleboogy April 23, 2013 2:31 pm

K so man up dump tackles should be brought back, it was one of the parts that made me fall in love with this sport. But the late hit should be a called upon definitely

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Colombes April 23, 2013 2:55 pm

A penalty for the off-the-ball tackle. Nothing else, as BOD falls on his back
Everything else is just trolling

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gerrymentle April 24, 2013 5:24 pm

Totally correct. You'll see refs give players a lot more time executing a tackle on a player making a kick than a player without the ball. I think once a ref believes a tackler is truly committed and the tackle isn't illegal they'll let it go whereas O'Driscoll didn't even get near that ball and Bergamasco thumped him. If Bergamasco got duped by the dummy run that's his problem and to follow through with tackle on a player who's not in possession of the ball then it's a penalty, pure and simple, if the tackle was a tip tackle which it wasn't he would have been cited. Ref missed it so Bergamasco got away with what was without doubt a piece of intimidating play which is all part of rugby. O'Driscoll had a hissy fit because he nearly wet his pants thinking 2005 again, shoulder could've gone and no Lions tour which will be his Swansong.

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CoachColin April 23, 2013 3:04 pm

Nothing wrong with any of it. BOD ran a good dummy, and if you look at when he's hit, he's half a step behind the ball carrier, still very eligible to take a pass. The hit would have been simultaneous almost with the pass. A tackler doesn't have time to make that distinction. If the tackler had plenty of time to see BOD didn't have the ball, then certainly BOD, who KNEW he didn't have the ball had plenty of time not to run straight into the tackle. A bit of handbags at the end is all in the game.

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cheyanqui April 23, 2013 3:42 pm

I ran my IRB Excel model, and got the following:

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Ottawa Rugger April 23, 2013 4:31 pm

I'd buy Bergamasco's excuse that he was committed to the tackle after the dummy switch by BOD. I also don't think BOD ever got taken past 90, let alone fell beyond 90. It's close because one second later or one degree further and that could have been bad, but I don't think it's worth a ban. Maybe worth a citing, but I'm hoping the commissioner sees sense at let's this one go

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tc April 23, 2013 4:38 pm

i have always thought that as a defender, if someone runs in your channel they have to expect to be tackled. the question of intent of the attacker is do they pull short, or do they proceed full tilt with the intention of taking out the defender. either way, i think dummy runners should expect to get hit if they dont pull out of their line

the legality of the tip is another question altogether

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10stonenumber10 April 23, 2013 4:40 pm

IRB will hopefully leave him be, but call it up through the official channels to send a message that late hits will be policed carefully?

Also given the fact it is BOD, and Berg has a history of going hard at him (see 6 nations shin-cracker from a few years ago) there will probably be noise about it... but if the Rugby Gods have any influence it will be a 1 line news article "Bergamasco avoids sanction for late hit"

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Logan Sinclair April 23, 2013 5:16 pm

To be on honest the one thing wrong with that was that it was off the ball? Nothing wrong with the tackle

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michael creagh April 23, 2013 6:30 pm

If you pick him up you must put him down safe,in my opinion that wasn't safe

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Benny April 23, 2013 7:54 pm

He could have died!

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Lewis April 23, 2013 8:06 pm

Surely if you are hitting a dummy line you should expect to take contact, although definitely went too far with the tackle and should probably be cited in my opinion.

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Italian ref April 23, 2013 8:54 pm

harshest is a yellow for both on the spot but if i'd seen this i would probably have awarded a penalty kick

Bergamasco tackles without the ball a guy that is running dummy and calling for a pass so that would not really ill timed just that BOD did not have the ball. The tackle itself is legit. no dropping nor lifting the player above horizontal (cam is misleading, check BOD buttocks land before his shoulders)

BOD: retaliation, cannot be seriously called punching. again, i would give a penalty kick and maybe a yellow but just for him to get 10 min lessons on boxing 'cause that weak punching is a real disgrace..

if you think the tackle is "too rough" or "that kind of punching has no place in rugby" then it could explain why the Lions keep on losing tours after tours

rugby IS tough and this action, albeit stupid on both sides, is part of the game.

for the faint hearted there's always badmington... and soccer

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BOD is GOD April 23, 2013 9:02 pm

I've watched it several times and it is clear to me that Bergamasco tries to 'tip' BO'D. He didn't go past 180 simply because he got angled slightly (to the viewers left) which insured that some of the upward momentum was transferred into horizontal momentum. Could have been extremely dangerous. I would hope he gets cited as it was reckless and the intent was there. I watched the match and Berg was getting into several clashes with the Leinster team throughout the match. 3 weeks imo.

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stroudos April 26, 2013 7:58 am

Oh God.

@RD, you need to introduce a "dislike" button for this type of hysterical hyperbole.

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tom April 23, 2013 10:41 pm

its illegal to tackle a player without the ball ... its alright to block them but bergamasco dump tackled him off the ball and his feet left the ground so it wasnt controlled ... definite penalty maybe even a yellow as it wasnt controlled ... the worst bit is that three professional referees missed it ... thats what worries me .

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TotesMcGoates April 24, 2013 1:07 am

Penalty kick. Nothing more.

On the dummy runner argument, am I a cynic for suggesting that Bergamasco probably had a fair idea that BOD didn't have the ball? Maybe a body check would have been more appropriate than a full blown dump tackle.

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DrG April 24, 2013 1:19 pm

I probably agree, but when was the last time you hear of a 7 playing fair?

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Canadian content April 24, 2013 3:51 am

Off the ball, if micro reads it wrong, that's his fault, so it's a penalty. I'd also say it was a very aggressive tackle with intent to injure, so I'd give it a yellow.

No one without the ball should get unceremoniously dumped like that. Otherwise this is wrestling.

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stroudos April 26, 2013 8:01 am

Blah blah, whatever. Best thing about this video is the timing of the ref's comments on the replay, as BOD goes up in the air in slow-motion at 0:14 - he's off his feet, he's off his feet! Is this coincidence or nice editing by Mr Dump?

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