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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tevita Kuridrani receives five week suspension for dangerous tackle

While the Wallabies are winning matches again, discipline is costing them as they not only internally banned some of their players, but now centre Tevita Kuridrani has been suspended for five matches for the tip-tackle he made against Ireland at the weekend.

The Wallabies were convincing winners in Dublin but in the last ten minutes Kuridrani was red carded for what could be described as a silly, innocuous lifting tackle. These days the law states that it's a red card, which didn't affect the match, but he will also sit out the rest of the tour.

Kuridrani was charged under Law 10.4(j) which states 'Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst the 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.'

The tackle was deemed to be a mid-range offence (8 weeks). An extra week was added as a deterrent, but it was then reduced by four due to the player's previous good record, and no doubt the fact that he wasn't the only player involved in the tackle.

Barring a successful appeal, he will miss their upcoming matches against Scotland and Wales.

"We put a lot of effort into that, because we thought we had a pretty good case," said coach Ewen McKenzie after the disciplinary hearing, stating that they will probably appeal if they have can.

"We went through it frame by frame for some time. It didn't look great in real time, but when you go through all the elements, there were other people involved in the tackle, we presented a good case I thought but didn't get the outcome we wanted.

"He's available for Super Rugby, that's the upside, but at the same token he's got that sitting on his record, so if there was a next time your starting point is way down the track. I'm fully aware of other situations of guys who've had multiple situations and got lesser outcomes.

"I feel for him at the moment. You look at like for like, that was part of our case, some of the other judgements that have been passed down," he added. 

Wallaby team to face Scotland:

15 Israel Folau, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Christian Leali'ifano, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nic White, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Bernard Foley.

Do you think a five week ban is a fair ruling, or was the Red Card sufficient?

Posted by Rugbydump at 10:28 am | View Comments (46)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 46 comments

Steef November 21, 2013 10:49 am

I think it maybe looks a bit worse than it was - but the intent was there. Ref was right.

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GermanFlanker November 21, 2013 10:50 am

I feel the Red card would have been enough! I mean 5 weeks is disgraceful! You can see that the Irish player is being pushed from behind. Had Tevita Kuridrani been alone and dumped him I would understand. But there are some many players engaged in the same play and player.

Harsh sentence.

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krip November 21, 2013 10:59 am

It is disgraceful playing rugby without using your brains. At all... When I saw this absurd act I was like: "Why would he do this?!". It was so unnecessary and unprofessional.

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finedisregard November 21, 2013 1:34 pm

It's not like he kicked somebody in the head. The guy lifted a leg up. It doesn't make him a murderer.

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DrG November 21, 2013 2:57 pm

No one said he was, but lifting legs up can only mean one of two things;
1: The player snaps because he body can't naturally bend that way, or
2: The player goes head down into the ground because his body can't naturally bend that way so the only plausible thing to do is go head first.....

t'isn't rocket science...

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matt November 21, 2013 5:28 pm

I get that this has the potential to be dangerous, but does the law really need to be this stringent? It was a stupid and poorley executed tackle, but it was in all likelihood an accident and had no consequences, is a straight red really necessary for an accident that had no repercussions? And then a 5 week ban? When they gave Hore the same thing for this seems ridiculous

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DrG November 21, 2013 10:33 pm

Other thing is though, outcome (injury wise) and intent have no bearing.

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matt November 22, 2013 10:47 am

Does that seem right to you though? Because in every other part of life outcome and intent have a massive bearing on the penalty imposed on you for your actions.

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DrG November 22, 2013 6:26 pm

In answer to your question Matt, yes and no.

Plenty of incidents in the past have been judged by the letter of the law with no thought into intent, and have sadly (and in my opinion wrongly) resulted in things like red cards. See Tom James headbutt for instance:

The referee's hands are tied etc so I can't blame him.

Then you have other incidents as you mentioned the Hore incident which ends up with the same ban as this particular incident.

I personally, don't feel Kuridrani was trying to break the guy, I suppose he was probably attempting to stop a maul by grabbing the guys legs/ However lifting them that high in the air doesn't give the player many options other than to go head/shoulder/neck first into the ground...

View Video

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matt November 24, 2013 5:14 pm

I agree that the refs hands are tied, and I don't really have a problem with them having made the decision to follow the rules. My problem is that this is not the type of incident that that set of rules was introduced to prevent.
That Tom James clip is interesting, and illustrates the issue about outcomes not being relevant, but James did at some stage make the decision to headbutt Azam (however lightly). It was a deliberate act, where as this tackle looks to me to just be a combination of confusion, poor timing and a complicated group of men fighting.

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DrG November 24, 2013 7:10 pm

I think we're both sort of agreeing here. Referees 'either need to have total control of the game at their own discretion without any retribution from fans/governing bodies etc, or the laws need to be tighter than a ducks arse and referees' made to enforce the laws to the letter.

See a tackle like this was reckless, (lifting a players legs, where do we honestly think his head is going to go) however, imo if the game was left to the referees' to control then I'd be happy with a yellow.

However the laws are somewhat wishy washy, enforced by some officials to the letter, allowed to flow and remain slightly grey by others. So one week this tackle gets nothing on the pitch and a 20 weeks ban after, and the next week a red card on the pitch and a smaller ban.. (although I know 5 weeks isn't small)..

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Clive November 21, 2013 10:59 am

That is a dangerous tackle. These rules are designed to protect players from serious and avoidable injuries. It does not look entirely deliberate nevertheless it is reckless and is a red card offence. Ban was slightly harsh but better than to lenient, these tackles have no place in the game.

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spicksandspecks November 21, 2013 11:09 am

The issue here is not whether or not he deserved a red card and a suspension. He did - as a Wallabies fan, even I can acknowledge that. The issue is consistency with other judgments for tip tackles, especially where other players were involved in the tackle.
- Sam Warburton got 3 weeks for his RWC tip tackle that where no one else was involved.
- Toby Flood got off for his tackle on Andy Goode because his claim that others were involved in the tackle was accepted.
- Digby Ioane got 5 weeks for a tip tackle on his own and already had previous citings. Kuridrani had a clean record and Matt Toomua had already lifted the player.

Fair enough for the red card and a suspension but we need consistent penalties not the lucky dip that's going on at the moment.

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TotesMcGoates November 21, 2013 12:01 pm

Pisi got five or six weeks for something similar two weeks ago, they seem to be really cracking down on it this series. Five weeks is harsh, I reckon.

And Masteri gets nothing?! 'No tip tackles at the weekend, boys. Punch on as much as you like though!'

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kadova November 26, 2013 12:43 am

I was surprised that Maestri (i think it's the one you're thinking about) got nothing, and then i realised most of his punches were in the air. Although i believe he should get a few weeks anyway, maybe his tears made the commission forgiving ?

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Conman November 21, 2013 1:36 pm

You have to look at the actual judgement in each case to understand what the ruling is, people focus too much on the final number. It was deemed to be a mid range offence = 8 weeks. This seems correct to me. One week was added for aggrivating factors (deterent to others). 4 weeks were deducted for mitigating factors (previous good record). All judgements follow this format and if you follow that you'll see that judgements are actually relatively uniform, at least allowing for individual interpretations.

I think in this instance they got it about right. It is a mid range offence, it's pretty much the definition of a tip tackle which is minimum mid range but not an upper range offence as he didn't drive him into the ground and no injury occured, plus there was a secondary tackler to consider.

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Riley Ref November 21, 2013 2:41 pm

Warburton received 5 weeks not 3

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stereo_mike November 21, 2013 11:10 am

it probably wasnt that bad (as far as tip tackles go) but the red card and the ban are there as a warning for any players that fancy doing it in the future

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richb147 November 21, 2013 11:18 am

the fact that he tipped the player and drove him into the ground was dangerous. players are responsible for their own actions. he knew it was dangerous but did it anyway. even in the heat of battle should still have control. yes the ban was a correct punishment. hopefully stop other players doing it. spoils the best game in the world.

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finedisregard November 21, 2013 1:37 pm

How many games have you seen spoiled because of dump tackles?

I think softies changing the laws every season for mothers in tv audiences are spoiling the game, not overzealous tacklers.

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freddie the fullback November 21, 2013 4:52 pm

Its just a game. The 'softies changing the laws' do this so someones career or even life doesn't get 'spoiled'.

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le roo November 22, 2013 12:07 am

watched it a few times now, and at no point did he "drive him into the ground". poor technique, but no malice or intent and he was lowered gently to the ground.

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Colombes November 21, 2013 11:33 am

not that bad, but still dangerous for the player, so deserved red card

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mal james November 21, 2013 11:56 am

each and every tip tackle must be met with at least an 8 week ban,before some one has a neck brokenn

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matt the mauler November 21, 2013 12:45 pm

By the looks of things it's just me but I don't think it was even a red card. And therefore to ban him is very harsh.

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xxxwookie November 21, 2013 1:10 pm

Under the laws, Lifting somebody through the horizontal is a penalty. Bringing them to ground such that their head or shoulders come into contact first is a yellow. Driving into the ground or dropping them is a red.

12 comes in on the tackle and keeps a leg to bring the player to the ground. 13 proceeds to take the other leg and lift, ensuring the player moves through the horizontal. He continues to hold the leg driving the head into the ground.

Dangerous, red card ban followed up approprietly.

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matt the mauler November 21, 2013 1:44 pm

He doesn't get driven anywhere. He does go vertical but he's not driven dangerously into the ground and if anything gently lands on his front - his arm is the first thing to hit the ground. He lands like this because Kuridrani does his best to bring his leg back down resulting in the "gentle" landing. With most dangerous tip tackle the players leg is usually driven down in force on head/shoulder. Kuridrani actually falls over backwards in an attempt to bring the leg down.

Agree lifting a player is just totally stupid in this day and age and not worth the risk but to red card the player and then ban him extreme. A yellow card and penalty would have been fair.

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Eddie-g November 21, 2013 1:29 pm

Spicksandspecks nails it. It's impossible to figure out what sort of consistency is applied to these situations. I don't there can be any complaint about the red card, the only real debate should be over the length of the ban. Is 5 weeks fair? No idea.

What's pretty strange though is RD's describing this as an "innocuous lifting tackle". Sorry, that's wrong, it was incredibly stupid and potentially dangerous. If Kuridrani was not trying to tip the Irish player, then can anyone explain what he was doing?

The issue about other people being involved in the tackle, seems any lifting by Matt Toomua was not caused by him, but is a result of Kuridrani tipping the bloke over. So not sure what McKenzie was on about there.

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finedisregard November 21, 2013 1:33 pm

You guys do realize that tip/dump tackling was legal in rugby before 2003 right? There weren't a rash of spinal injuries back then either. Dumping a player isn't tantamount to scratching their eyes or kicking them in the junk.

Whenever I got dumped my coach would tell me to run lower.

There has never been tackle in the history of rugby union that deserves a 5 week ban.

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matt the mauler November 21, 2013 1:47 pm

Spot on. As I've said go back and watch some of the TSRB (when is the next one coming by the way!) and the majority of these tackles, which we all think are wonderful, would today be considered illegal and result in a ban - think about Tindall's tackle on Gregan in the WC Final. Great hit but the 'nanny' rugby fans would today call for him to be banned for 8 weeks.

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DrG November 21, 2013 3:00 pm

Thats the problem, dump tackles were fine, spear tackles were never fine, but slowly that line between the two has blurred and they're becoming one and the same...

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Eddie-g November 21, 2013 1:52 pm


Spear tackling, as far as I know, has always been illegal. The tip-tackle is its less serious but still dangerous cousin. No question at all that IRB have feeling their way around the punishment regime for tip-tackles, but they started getting serious about it around 5 years ago, and their intent I think is generally supported. Certainly there have been some very marginal calls in that period. This one wasn't.

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mackinaw November 21, 2013 5:21 pm

@finedisregard ... remember lions tour of NZ? O'Driscoll had just about the exact same thing happen: umaga took one leg, mealamu too the other, up he went, down he came, broken shoulder.

if instead of a broken shoulder, o'd had broken his neck, would you change your opinion?

there are a lot of cases where things go wrong because of momentum, and two players being involved in a tackle. In this case, though, this wasn't a tackle: it was a cleanout. Kuridrani took a leg lifted it right up past horizontal. He could have, instead, lifted and driven straight back.

these tackles are dangerous, and unnecessary. card & ban appropriate.

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matt November 21, 2013 5:33 pm

Under the rules the red card might be correct, but it still seems like nonsense to me to red him and then ban him as well. I'm all for player safety and ensuring we don't have a repeat of the BOD in 2005 incident, but there needs to be some common sense engaged to differentiate between what is malicious, what is careless and dangerous, what is careless and not dangerous, and what is just an error of timing or judgement that wasn't dangerous. Red him, ban him, hang him for all I care, but afterwards have a look at the rules and get rid of this cold, one rule fits all approach and put something in place that reflects the complexity of the game and this type of situation.

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themull November 21, 2013 9:57 pm

Definitely agree...The IRB needs to update the rules drastically in terms of differentiating between different offences and differing levels of the same offence..

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Tyke Stevenson November 21, 2013 10:05 pm

Lot of good comments and views on here. Bottom line has got to be if you put yourself in a position where you are challenging the match official to make a call you cannot blame anyone but yourself if that call goes against you. As for the five weeks and what other palyers got or did not get sorry take your punishment, learn from it and move on.

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rusi ravosai November 21, 2013 11:57 pm

try put yourself in his shoes ! this is the game of rugby and thats a norm . if you wanna play this sport why don't you man up . for those of your that are talking shit about lifting a leg in the air , you guys should go play soccer.

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Stubby November 22, 2013 4:25 am

I would have been happy with just the red. It was stupid to lift the leg that high into the air. It also looked Green 6 was being held up a little so as not to drop him on his head but by who...

Careless but not malicious.
He should have gone to say sorry and shake hands = instant reduction of ban. Or did I miss that?

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Pagra November 22, 2013 10:13 am

Anybody that commits a foul like that deserves
the gate. Whether the ban should be longer depends on his history and if there is are other instances of dangerous behavior.
And Rusi. This is not a game for thugs or idiots who make life dangerous for others.
If somebody put you on your head and you suffered a cervical (spinal) injury that impaired your mobility maybe you would forget about manning up.

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HeavyHooker November 22, 2013 11:16 am

I have said this before on this site about those who moan at the "new rules", go start a new league called the RRF (Real Rugby Federation) and allow dump tackles, spears, head shots, straight arms, no wrap, rucking, stomping, racking, punch-ups and slap downs. Everyone says the sport is bigger, faster, stronger than even ten years ago when someone over 6'3" was an oddity. Now, we have 6'1"+ as a norm and the size and strength is exponential. One day a hit like this will go very bad and it will be to a "smaller" player and that is not the time to say Oops, our bad."

This was a stupid play by a professional who knows better with no need to do what he
did. The real time play shows he had no intention of helping this guy to the ground the way he flipped the leg up. The card was warranted and I see the ban as signal to those less smart and skilled but equally strong that this will not be tolerated. Rugby isn't what is use to be, but then again no sport is, so just accept the fact that the rules will not change and debate the call, not the "In my days."

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Pagra November 22, 2013 5:25 pm

Well said HH.

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PiratesRugby November 24, 2013 9:07 am

All he did was lift the leg of a player who was already very low. There was no intent to drive him into the ground. Nor was he lifted and dumped. He was being controlled by the tackler (Toomua), and that's who he directed his feigned indignation towards. Kurindrani merely lifted the free leg to take the drive away and get him to ground (which is where he nearly was anyway).
This is not the famous tackle on BOD nor the Tuquiri tackle on Macaw. It fits into a pretty contrived interpretation of the laws at best. It hardly represents the kind of mischief the law was introduced to eradicate.
More danger and violence is present in the average ruck than in a wrestle like this. That Kurindrani was sent off was ridiculous. That he was then banned for 5 weeks is a disgrace.
The Irish player should be ashamed of himself for carrying on like that. He belongs in Serie A.

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browner November 24, 2013 5:37 pm

You Pirates Rugby are an apologist for deliberate foul play. I've just travelled back from a premiership match and had a chat on the train with a ex-rugby player in a wheelchair, broken back caused during a match ...... you look him in the eye and tell him that taking someones feet up in the air "without a damn good reason" is justified.

The rugby lawmakers say it's not, officials must do likewise & you me ol pirate must move into modern times, this sport is unrecognisable from the one that our parents played.

The Law is clear, Read Heed Comply or Goodbye.

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DrG November 24, 2013 7:19 pm

I'm sort of in the boat of "this one isn't that bad" and I know the game in someways can't be policed with a "what if?" attitude, however there are plenty of folks around asking for facts or figures of players breaking necks in tip/spear tackles. The only concern here is whilst we're all probably unaware of broken necks due to spear tackles, is it necessary for there to BE one before there is any actions taken?

I'd imagine it'd be a tough pill to swallow sitting in a wheel chair hearing that NOW because you got your neck broken, the IRB is going to do something to stop it happening to anyone else???

@Browner, you neglected to mention if that player broke his back as a result of a spear tackle. I know one player/friend who broke his neck in a scrum (fortunately he is "fine", however he refuses to play any contact again and coaches), then we have one of the Scottish brothers who broke his neck, again not as a result of a tip/spear tackle etc...

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PiratesRugby November 26, 2013 1:15 am

It was not a spear. There was no dropping or driving as required under the relevant law.

I do not challenge the law nor do I apologise for deliberately dangerous or foul play.

What I am saying is that Kurindrani did neither of these things.

The problem is that the spear is reduced to "lifting legs above the horizontal". That's not a spear that is just lazy language. The law requires driving or dropping. It assumes that the player is standing vertical when tackled and then up ended and driven or dropped onto the ground from a height. We've all seen examples of a real spear in games we've watched or indeed games we've participated in. This was not one of those. Kurindrani attacked the leg of a player who was almost horizontal and very near to the ground anyway.

What I am saying is apply the law properly.

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