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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sona Taumalolo and Yoann Maestri red carded for France vs Tonga fight

France and Tonga each had a player red carded following a punch-up at the beginning of the second half of what was an ill-tempered game in Le Havre. France came out 38-18 victors, avenging the 19-14 defeat to Tonga in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

France scored four tries to two and had the boot of Morgan Parra to slot two conversions and four penalties. Despite the comfortable win, France will need to go up a notch next weekend when they face the Springboks. Captain Thierry Dusautoir was satisfied with the result however.

"It's pleasing. We've erased what happened at the World Cup and we can move on to something else," he said. "We're very happy but the black mark was losing Yoann (Maestri red card)."

Shortly before halftime Taniela Moa was yellow carded for elbowing hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, and France scored from the resultant scrum. They went into the break with a 21-6 lead.

Yoann Maestri and Sona Taumalolo then got in a tangle from the second half restart as a bit of contact led to punches being thrown, and a number of players joining in.

Referee Glen Jackson, upon referral with his touch judges and the TMO's TV replay, felt that two red cards was the fairest way of dealing with it. Maestri was clearly dejected, and probably felt pretty hard done by as he appeared to take the first punch on the chin before retaliating.

We'll get highlights from the match, and the other big ones this weekend, archived soon too.

Posted at 12:40 pm | 42 comments

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Mamuka Gorgodze and Yoann Maestri sent off for fight

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 42 comments

matt November 17, 2013 3:28 pm

I like seeing refs be decisive and not bottling big calls, but I do feel like it is a little bit unfair that someone can throw a punch with so little provocation and end up with the same punishment as the person responds/defends themselves. I can see why the refs felt that this had to be the decision, but it seems unjust to me.

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alasdairduncan3 November 28, 2013 5:02 pm

To me it seems that Maestri began by fending Taumalolo with an elbow. Taumalolo is clearly in the wrong and completely deserving of a red, but Maestri showed clear wreckless intent throughout and I agree 100% with the referee's decision.

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Gaz November 17, 2013 4:02 pm

I agree with Matt. The laws can't be seen to condone fighting but in this case I think the officials could have exercised some judgement. I suspect the fact that Maestri threw a few punches counted against him. If he had just had one retaliatory punch it would have looked better for him. Still I think red for Taumalolo and yellow for Maestri would have been a fairer outcome.

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alasdairduncan3 November 28, 2013 5:03 pm

To me it seems that Maestri began by fending Taumalolo with an elbow. Taumalolo is clearly in the wrong and completely deserving of a red, but Maestri showed clear wreckless intent throughout and I agree 100% with the referee's decision.

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themull November 17, 2013 4:56 pm

A part from some of the terrible calls regarding some "tip" tackles. this is the law which most needs looking at by the IRB..You cannot expect anybody to stand there and let somebody punch them in the face in the middle of the game without reacting...this is a man's game and you have to be allowed to defend yourself...Deserved red for tonga and at most a yellow for france...

We're going to get to the stage that if a guy cannot defend himself then his only option is going to be to roll around on the floor to bring attention to the incident and thus get the man sent off that way, and I don't think anybody in rugby wants to see the game go down that road..

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matt November 18, 2013 7:27 pm

I agree, if the French player hadnt fought back then I seriously doubt that anything would have been done about that, and that is wrong.

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Oliver November 17, 2013 5:34 pm

agree with the other posters.....Not to mention Taumalolo had been trying to start shit for a while.

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i love bacon November 17, 2013 10:32 pm

Anyone else notice what looks to be a cheap shot but Taumalolo with a punch to Chouly's (?) gut in the first tackle?

Looks like he was just out there to punch away and start a fight as quickly as he could...

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nzbougnat November 17, 2013 6:40 pm

A date unfair to my opinion too. My biggest issue with this type of calls is that it doesn't help with the issue of "football diving" creeping into our game. As pointed out my the commentator, someone punches you, what do you do? Just sit there? I just hope that player don't decide to drop to the turf like a sack of dung to avoid cards...

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Owainc13 November 22, 2013 12:15 pm

Why not just sit there and take it? I think the image of a player holding another by the collar and smiling back whilst he takes a couple on the chin is quite powerful. In the professional game the puncher is going to get cited later if not immediately sent off anyway. Why not take the moral high ground? When I've played local club rugby, I've never had the need to punch anyone, if they aggrieved you that much during the game then take him down later in a hard, legal tackle, or make him look a dipstick with a decent sidestep. Better off doing something that help your team win the game than something that might get you sent off. Our game is a hard, aggressive contact sport, and it does feel good to safely smash someone back, but it doesn't have to be violent.

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FelipeG November 17, 2013 7:08 pm

Always a shame to see punches thrown. Agreed that the first one is worst. Still, discipline sometimes requires unfairness...
Anyway, I d rather see the tries than this (even tough it's usefull to focus on these incidents). Thx RD

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Sean November 17, 2013 7:40 pm

Taumalolo had to go for sure, but you can't allow someone to throw three punches 'in retaliation' and not hand them a red card. If you feel the need to retaliate than you deal with the consequences for throwing a punch... If Maestri had stepped away and let the ref send Taumalolo off he would have been on the pitch for the rest of the game and would have had the last laugh...
With regard to diving the ref should be punishing the action and not the reaction. A punch is illegal, if it floors someone or not.

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matt November 18, 2013 7:30 pm

The ref would never have seen what happened in this case if the French player didnt fight back or take a screaming dive. Plus, as I remember it, he took most of his swings with his shirt over his head, you cant expect a man who has just been punched in the face and then blindfolded to patiently wait there until the light returns to him

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yago November 17, 2013 7:55 pm

Considering how tense was the game, I have to agree with the referee's decision. I even saw in a game a yellow card for the first "assault" and a red card for the "assaulted" who replied. The referee is the one to do justice on the field, you can't do it yourself or it can be very messy.

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sha1966 November 17, 2013 7:56 pm

Jackson was better as a player than referee

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CambridgeshireKid November 17, 2013 7:58 pm

Well, that escalated quickly...

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finedisregard November 17, 2013 8:02 pm

No way do these guys deserve the same penalty.

So if a player punches a member of the opposition and the guy defends himself they receive the same penalty as the aggressor?

If so then why don't teams just target the best player on the opposition, send your worst player to provoke him into defending himself, then both players get sent off?. Tactically it's a good trade after all.

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TotesMcGoates November 17, 2013 8:54 pm

I didn't catch this game but it seems to me from what the commentators said that there was a bit of handbags going on all game and that the ref might have been a bit more heavy handed with the two reds to set a precedent that he was not going to tolerate it in the game.

I agree it's a funny one though; it reminds me of the Cudmore/O'Connell incident from a few years back, except POC was yellow carded as the retaliator and JC red carded as the instigator. Not sure what the IRB's official stance is on this kind of thing, a yellow/red would seem like a fairer result.

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Colombes November 17, 2013 10:13 pm

Except it's not the ref who sent off cudmore and saved o'connell but a booing thomond park crowd ')

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flanker2712 November 18, 2013 2:41 pm

In that incident, O'Connell only did what the vast majority of players, fans and, dare I say it, referees want to see. There are many incidents of players punching Cudmore and only getting yellows!

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Fin November 17, 2013 9:00 pm

I don't think this situation is strictly self defence. To be fair, the first punch isn't a full blooded hay maker by any means, it's a fairly soft dig. (Punch none the less and deserved red) however Maestri really goes off, throwing 3 or 4 full blown swings. I wouldn't say that's self defense. It's an extreme retaliation. To be honest I think Taumalolo deserves a red for throwing the first punch but by following up with three heavy swings, Maestri is equally deserving of a red. It's not self defense in my book.

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matt November 18, 2013 7:35 pm

Just looked at it again, and I cant say for sure that any of Maestri's punches land, which if I'm remembering right is a very important distinction. Plus Taumalolo started things off with an illegal shoulder charge, just to add to his list of offences

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browner November 17, 2013 11:04 pm

Rugby Law 10.4[L] requires players to control themselves and not retaliate.

This Law is one of the fundamental requirements to negate the likelyhood of brawls commencing.

Why is it that the best sides in the world rarely brawl, but that the lesser sides & i include Georgia & Romania [& french club rugby in this description] are always at it.

The authorities set the tone, and referees should always always punish the retaliator & REVERSE the PK, because it is this that sends the 'discipline' message to players.

Ignoring the retaliator is 'implied permission' to retaliate without consequence..... no wonder it all kicks off.

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matt November 18, 2013 7:37 pm

You're living in a fluffy duffy world full of cuddles and love, mate. That might be the rules, and I dont think anyone has said that they aren't, but they are stupid.

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Ced November 18, 2013 8:44 am

Fair decision or not, I'll just remember Maestri leaving the field in tears :/

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Fin November 18, 2013 10:33 am

I could be imagining things… but does Taumalolo try to rake at Maestri's eyes just after throwing the first punch? Does anyone else see that or am I imagining it?

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SharkFin November 18, 2013 10:43 am

Look at 0:11 seconds, watch him run into the tackle with a swinging arm!! That's absolutely disgraceful behaviour, especially after he follows it up with another punch at 0:18, the end result should have been him receiving the red carded and Maestri let off... if someone starts hitting you, are you then expected to just stand there and take it, without defending yourself? Bollocks, if someone lands a punch then you should have every right to drop one or two right back without being red carded for it! I do not agree with the refs decision here, he got that wrong!

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veji1 November 18, 2013 10:51 am

Red for Maestri might seem harsh, but this is how it should be done, both of them ended up throwing a fair amount of punches. Where the difference should be made is in the ban. There the commission should appreciate that one started it with an unprovoked punch. I could see Maestri getting something like 4 weeks and the Tongian 8. That type of suspension would seem fair to me.

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matt November 18, 2013 7:38 pm

Those suspensions would be jolly good and fair and all, but it would have been zero comfort if France had gone on to lose narrowly, should the commission reverse the result as well?

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ESEA November 18, 2013 11:57 am

If you look at 1:40-1:42 it looks like Maestri left arm came up, what looks like a strike then Taumalolo tucked right in followed by Maestri. Red for both good call.

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Bozza November 18, 2013 12:44 pm

Well spotted ESEA - I saw the first strike by Maestri also. Right decision.

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frenchy November 18, 2013 2:29 pm

What's funny is that France' scrum half Parra punches 7 or 8 times in a Bordeaux's player face who was hold by two Parra teammates during the French national championship. And he only got yellow carded and suspended 2 weeks (4 weeks at first, then they figured out he would miss the autumn tests, so they finally gave him 2 weeks of suspension).
The refs need to be coherents. How can you get a yellow card when your teammates are holding a guy so you can punch him in the face and be sure he won't respond, like in the dirtiest street fight, and get a red card when you respond to an agression? That's stupid!

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Eddie-g November 18, 2013 3:47 pm

Even if Maestri took the first punch, he can't retaliate like that. Obviously he's going to react, but throw a bunch of punches in response and you don't give the ref much choice. Especially at this level.

He'll miss the SA game now, which is maybe one reason he was so distraught, and I guess Vahaamahina will take his place. Any subplot there, given Vahaamahina and Taumilolo are Perpignan team-mates?

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DavSea November 18, 2013 4:11 pm

Maestri throws the first pucnh. If you watch closly he throws a sneaky one when the charge is made. Both red good call

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Colombes November 18, 2013 11:46 pm

Seem that everyone has its own IRB laws interpretation here.
I always tend to agree that u need to be 2 to make a fight and that the 2 fighters should be punished at same level.

Concerning the retaliator and instigator consequences let's hope that we won't see some footballers reactions

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DrG November 19, 2013 2:54 pm

I can see a few problems though. Take McRae vs Ronan O'Gara, now ROG played dead (or was nearly dead, or couldn't move) and still got pummelled. Now take POC vs Cudmore, Cudmore dished out, POC fought back, and both were rightly punished, POC was right he "had to defend himself", however players must understand it does not give free reign to do anything they want.

I believe the correct decision for referee's should be to red card the Tongan in this instance and then to look at how serious the retaliation is before awarding AT LEAST a yellow card. I actually believe in POC v Cudmore case, there could be call for another red card (I could understand it, but not support it) as POC dished out many punches. In this case Maestri barely did anything in return so I feel a yellow card SHOULD have been sufficient.

That ^^^ is not my interpretation of IRB laws, merely my humble opinion on what SHOULD be the case.

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dave November 19, 2013 12:38 am

the french guy should have shat in his hand and smeared on that tongan pricks face

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Tyke Stevenson November 21, 2013 10:23 pm

How the French No1. gets off scot free is beyond me. Watch his bandaged right arm, he throws a definate upper cut at the first contact which is the catakyst for it all

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Pagra November 25, 2013 4:08 pm

I think I would have given them both a yellow with a stern warning. At this level it can affect the match drastically. Especially if an "impact " player is ejected. This is a common ploy in Ice Hockey where a goon starts a fight with a key player hoping to get both sin binned.
I'm not sure if this is the case here but it's always a possibility that needs consideration.
I really don't put it past some coaches to employ any tactic to give their side an edge.

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Pagra November 25, 2013 4:08 pm

I think I would have given them both a yellow with a stern warning. At this level it can affect the match drastically. Especially if an "impact " player is ejected. This is a common ploy in Ice Hockey where a goon starts a fight with a key player hoping to get both sin binned.
I'm not sure if this is the case here but it's always a possibility that needs consideration.
I really don't put it past some coaches to employ any tactic to give their side an edge.

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alasdairduncan3 November 28, 2013 5:04 pm

To me it seems that Maestri began by fending Taumalolo with an elbow. Taumalolo is clearly in the wrong and completely deserving of a red, but Maestri showed clear wreckless intent throughout and I agree 100% with the referee's decision.

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