Hairy f*cking Martin Castrogiovanni rant


Francois Hougaard's IRPA Try of the Year


Teddy Thomas incredible solo effort


5 Nominations for IRPA Try of the Year


Great sportsmanship from young 7's man


Lee Jones makes huge trysaving tackle


Brad Barritt happy to put body on line


Sam Warburton's possession Masterclass


Nigel Owens makes not straight comment

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Top 5 Crazy Cards of All Time - Rugby HQ

Following the controversial dismissal of Bismarck Du Plessis in the Rugby Championship, and the admission by the IRB that referee Romain Poite got it wrong, the Rugby HQ guys looked into the archives to find similar mind-boggling referee calls.

It goes without saying that without referees, we wouldn't have the great game. Rugby is also one of the few high profile sports where we treat them with respect, and rarely question their judgement.

Having said that, with excellent TV broadcasts and analysis these days, we're able to scrutinise every call from the comfort of our La-Z-Boys, and occasionlaly, they do produce some shockers.

Technology is not only the reason we feel we're able to accurately criticise, but it's also one of the things that is now available to them, so there really shouldn't be any big calls gone wrong.

Poite's big call came a week after the decision was made to allow referees in the Rugby Championship to ask for replays of foul play to be put up on the big screen in the stadium.

That is a new innovation though and in recent years, while there was still the ability to speak to the touch judges and use common sense, we've seen a few howlers.

Sean Maloney compiled a list of some of the worst in recent memory with their latest Top 5 list.

View our Top 5 archive, and all the incidents mentioned in the video in the Related Posts below

Posted at 1:32 pm | 33 comments

Bismarck Du Plessis carded for huge hit on Dan Carter

Paul Williams red card for strike on Heinrich Brussow

Manu Tuilagi punches Chris Ashton

Wycliff Palu's yellow card hit on Rob Kearney

Paul Williams suspended for Dan Carter late hit

British & Irish Lions Tour 2001 - The Waratahs War

Posted in Top 5 compilations

Viewing 33 comments

45678 September 20, 2013 4:46 pm

the number 1 is wrong. if someone is intentionally holding you back then you are entitled to try and get away. brossouw clearly milked it, but to get a palm in the face for trying to get out of the ruck doesnt make him the guilty party

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UpTheLowEnd September 20, 2013 4:59 pm

I'm sorry there was far more malicious intent in that than 'trying to get away'.

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Wombleno9 September 20, 2013 5:55 pm

You're right there, UpTheLowEnd - you could see the malice in his gesticulating at the ref and touchie to get Williams penalised. Vicious hand waving!

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stroudos September 21, 2013 12:00 am

45678 - completely disagree. I used to like Brussow up until this exact moment, when my admiration for his work-rate and scrabbling/fetching prowess just immediately switched to seething hatred and disgust. He should have been made to retire from the game and to piss off and try his hand at football.

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RugbyFan September 20, 2013 5:07 pm

Nigel Owens is the worst referee i ve ever seen!!!!

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stroudos September 21, 2013 12:02 am

Incorrect. He's one of the best.

Got this one completely wrong, but if I remember correctly he was dependent on his touchie - certainly if you look at his position in the video, there are 2-3 SA players between him and Brussow/Williams, blocking his view a bit.

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Benny September 20, 2013 5:25 pm

Haha, controversial of the Aussies to make that #1! The saffers will not be happy

Glad to see they weren't tempted to include the Drew Mitchell red card in there.

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Canadian content September 20, 2013 5:41 pm

Ozzie bias never ceases to amaze me. Many could argue palu's tackle was recklessly high. Argue mind u, so that makes it borderline, not a crazy card.

Williams should have been a yellow, not a red, a palm strike is still a strike.

Ashton's, who I hate btw, should be number 2. Card for pushing and then getting treated like a punching bag?

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alasdairduncan3 September 21, 2013 7:27 pm

You sir, took the words out of my mouth

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paimoe September 20, 2013 6:17 pm

Paul Williams vs Namibia in the WC as well, legit tackle that looked bad at full speed

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stroudos September 21, 2013 12:04 am

I remember that one. Outrageous call. I also recall Williams saying in an interview shortly afterwards - quite refreshingly IMO - "if we're not allowed to tackle like that any more, I'm not sure I still want to even play the game".

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Benny September 23, 2013 9:58 am

Interestingly, guess who the ref was...Monsieur Poite. I guess you shouldn't put a big hit on a #10 when he's the ref.

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stroudos September 21, 2013 8:32 pm

That's the one! Beautiful.
And that comment he made was on the brilliant Tuilagi smashes a reporter" video - about 0:30 in:
http://www.rugbydump.com/2011/11/2225/alesana-tuilagi-smashes-a-reporter

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Eddie-g September 20, 2013 7:18 pm

Very average list.

The Palu hit, that was borderline legal. Completely understandable decision by the ref to hand out a yellow.

The Paul Williams card (at #1!?!), I have to be honest, I am mystified that there's anyone out there who thinks red wasn't a fair decision by the ref. Never mind that it was unprovoked, he struck him square in the face. Open-hand or closed fist, either can get you sent off. End of.

As for the Brussow milking it argument, you know, that's pretty thin gruel too. The guy was hit square in the face with a cheap shot. It was easily hard enough to knock him off his feet, so at worst, his offense was not to get back to his feet quickly enough. As I see it there's a lot of armchair warriors trying to give the McCaw haters a run for their money with baseless criticism of Brussow and attempts to paint Williams as the victim.

As a final point, these idiots help feed our idiots who think there's some sort of deliberate double standard in terms of the way SA is treated by rugby officialdom. I guess we should add Sean Maloney to the former group.

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stroudos September 21, 2013 12:16 am

Disagree. More of a shove than an open-handed strike. The way Brussow went down like a sack of shit was cynical and outrageous. And before I expose myself as an "armchair warrior", no I would not like to be on the receiving end.

Brussow had a right to be pissed off and personally I'd have penalised Williams way before it got to this point - off his feet, all over the wrong side of the ruck and blatantly trying to prevent Brussow from getting away from the ruck. I say *trying* because Brussow could quite easily have got away, he's a back row forward for God's sake, he has the grappling skills, strength and dexterity to get a bloke's hands off his shirt.

But he chose the cynical and cowardly option instead.

Those poncy little whacks on Williams's back were never going to be effective in getting him to release, they were purely an attempt to get the officials' attention in a cissy little snitch kind of way. And the footballer's dive... Unforgivable. Heinous, despicable behaviour.

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DrG September 21, 2013 8:38 am

Whilst I almost completely agree with you Stroudos, I don't feel that "those poncy little whacks on Williams's back" were all that "poncy", looks to me like he was using his forearm to hit Williams head (which only made Williams hang on harder).

I totally agree that as a back row Brussow should have been long gone, even if it meant Williams was being dragged around the pitch still hanging on.

Also completely agree with you regarding Brussows actions on the floor, I'm guessing that shove to the face really did some irreversible damage...

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stroudos September 21, 2013 10:37 am

Indeed. What I meant was, if you were genuinely trying to get someone to let go of your shirt, you'd grab or whack his wrists/hands/fingers, not pummel the bloke in the back and head.

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Reality September 21, 2013 8:38 pm

I think if you're illegally preventing a player from moving from a ruck, having the guy hit your arms or whatever's closest to get you off him is the least you should expect. If then you're stupid enough to strike him in the face afterwards, you deserve a card. I don't see how Brussow being a backrower changes things. He's smaller than Williams, and I don't see how he could have grappled his hands off him. He could have given him a Chinese burn, but I'd say his frustration impeded his ability to think logically.

And if I was Brussow I probably would have fallen over too since the strike came out of nowhere and he wouldn't have been expecting it (really brave from Williams by the way, in contrast to Broussow's 'cowardly' actions, because expecting the ref to penalise him is really cowardly). You can say he milked it then and reproach him for that, but he only milked what Williams was stupid enough to give him.

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DrG September 26, 2013 7:54 pm

No one was saying Williams was "brave" with his hit on Brussow, they're simply saying that Brussow was pretty damn lame with his whacks! As a forward I generally expect a lot more to bring me down than a shove to the face like that.

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katman September 26, 2013 8:45 pm

I'm sorry, but you're talking absolute twaddle. Doesn't matter whether Brussow is a flanker or a tighthead prop, if a guy like Williams wants to hold on, he will. Brussow wasn't milking it. He seriously wanted the cheating Samoan to let go. And as for the cheap shot - anyone would have hit the deck. Your reading of this situation (and subsequent disappointment in Brussow) is just miles off.

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coops September 20, 2013 7:54 pm

I still maintain the worst call I've ever seen is in the second test of the Lions v South Africa in 09. Linesman tells the ref that he has clearly seen a deliberate eye gouge and they agree on a yellow card. Absolutely f-ing unbelievable.

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finedisregard September 20, 2013 10:43 pm

Imagine a game with no cards...It isn't hard to do. Before 1999 if a player did something super bad they were sent off. It was much less cumbersome and controversial system. What we have now is widely inconsistent.

I had a referee assessor tell me once that I should be giving out at least one yellow card a game. That is a problem.

I believe cards have negatively affected rugby and changed the role of the referee.

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stroudos September 21, 2013 12:06 am

"I had a referee assessor tell me once that I should be giving out at least one yellow card a game."

Really? That is truly shocking. I just hope he's in the minority...

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finedisregard September 21, 2013 6:52 am

Yes, and I'm talking schoolboys. Refs should have no agenda.

At our Referee Society it's always "we want to see more of this or less of that". I don't think ref's should have an agenda.

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DrG September 21, 2013 8:42 am

If referee's are given quotas to fill then that is truly pathetic...

Unfortunately though, why not, the rest of the world has quotas, so why shouldn't some numpty in a cardigan dream up a quota for referees'...

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Jolindien September 21, 2013 8:43 am

They are missing one big here : Chabal monster - and perfectly legal - tackle in some European Cup for Sale against a french team (sorry i can't remember the exact details - if one can help me). I believe this was on RD but i can't find it.
It was just so big that the ref sent him off with a yellow for a perfect takle. Shamy.

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morgs September 21, 2013 11:04 am

Ashton's has to be number 1 when you consider that Tualagi wasn't carded at all for what was attempted assault, and then was given an incredibly lenient ban which was reduced to 5 weeks (which resulted in Tualagi missing the Churchill Cup & having a summer holiday instead) because of the push by Ashton which Ashton did due to the high tackle/block.

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guest September 21, 2013 12:41 pm

i agree with that was a shocking call. however, Tuilagi has been yellow carded as well (even thought it clearly desserved a red one)

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Sean Annigans September 22, 2013 11:12 am

"I had a referee assessor tell me once that I should be giving out at least one yellow card a game."

Not the first time i've heard this unfortunately, finedisregard. I've also heard about refs being advised to 'balance out the game' to maintain the spectacle, regardless of what actually occurs on the field. I hope you reported this assessor!

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ConnachtMan September 23, 2013 11:57 am

Before people start ref baching I am an active ref and this sort of behaviour is NOT encouraged ( at least in irish reffing anyway), the main dictat is to ensure the game is balanced and the refs only look at the material impact of the play.

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Battle Dwarf September 23, 2013 9:26 pm

Yeah totally biased, but still fun the Top 5.

Up here in Europe....the Pro12 have "crazy cards" every week. It's getting ridiculous.

For me the #1 in this clip should be the 4 yellows....I mean WTF?! o.O I saw only 1 yellow, that's it.

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Mat September 28, 2013 11:28 am

Everyone went crazy at tuilagi for this and completely ignored that Ashton dropped his knee into manu's back when he was down. Ashton also threw punches and what you see I tuilagi retaliating, better.
Yes the block deserved a penalty because manu bought the dummy pass, but Ashton deserved the same if not longer ban than Manu, but at the time Manu wasn't an England "star" so got a ban

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