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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Maurie Fa'asavalu makes huge hit on Andrea Masi in the Aviva Premiership

This massive hit by flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu is from last weekend's match between Wasps and Harlequins, and features Italian back Andrea Masi on the receiving end of a big Samoan shoulder.

While some might question the legality of it, stills show that former rugby league player Fa'asavalu made an attempt to wrap, but his huge arm simply smashed Masi before he could.

Whether that's a correct assesment or not, the impact was absolutely brutal.

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Posted by Rugbydump at 5:03 pm | View Comments (17)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 17 comments

DrG February 16, 2014 4:03 am

No questioning of legality from me, was a cracking hit!

I suppose rather than 'attempt to wrap' maybe there is call for 'arm tucked in', 'not tucked in' explanations or something... which is really what it all boils down too...

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Canadian content February 16, 2014 2:05 pm

Couldn't wrap?

He didn't even try to wrap! Basically lamely swung his to make it look like he did. Which I don't understand because it still would have been a big tackle! Other than perhaps the concept that if u wrap u r less able to deliver a blow.

What I think is happening is that he's positioned his body so that he cannot wrap.

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DrG February 16, 2014 2:22 pm

The thing is right, if you tackle someone to the ground, you then have to get to your feet, 'release them' and then grab the ball....

Does this not just cut out the need to get back up and release them? Surely now he can go straight for the ball... if he has it...

From what I understand: 'Basically lamely swung his to make it look like he did. ' THAT is all you need to do...

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Jon February 16, 2014 10:53 pm

The rule doesn't mention wrapping.
No where in the laws does it talk about wrapping the arms.
This is a strange Northern Hemisphere invention.
The rule talks about "making an attempt to grasp".
You don't have to succeed, just attempt to get a hold of the other player.

The reality is that 90% of hits are exactly like this one, an attempt to smash the shoulder into the other guy, then try and throw the arms round and drag the guy down. Because that's how you tackle. There is no other way to put on a good hit.

The rule is to stop league style shoulder charges, where you fly in side on with the arm tucked up and just try to knock the other guy over.

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aidy668 February 17, 2014 1:27 pm

If you don't "attempt" to "wrap your arm" then you are quite clearly not "making an attempt to grasp" it is impossible to grasp another body with your arm out straight or tucked in. I'm not commenting on this particular tackle as it looked to me like he was bringing the arm round to attempt it but just noting the contradiction in what your saying about what are by the way not "rules of rugby" no such thing - they are the "LAWS" of rugby! ;)

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Jon February 18, 2014 5:58 am

aidy, I can easily grasp your arm or jumper with my arm out straight. That's a ridiculous thing to say. Look at the photo of the two players above. Fa'asavalu has his arm straight, it's not wrapped around Masi, and he's grasping Masi's jumper.

Case closed. Good tackle.

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stroudos February 17, 2014 1:54 pm

Exactly Jon. And this guy does such a good job of grasping the tacklee, that - despite smashing him backwards in the tackle - he is still grasping Masi's shirt when he touches the ground. In fact, based on that criterion alone this is a textbook tackle.

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cheyanqui February 17, 2014 2:04 pm

by Northern Hemisphere invention - do you mean the English common law concept of precedence in law, whereby historical rulings over time establish the precedent?

if so, while "attempt to wrap" isn't codified in the law, it's clearly there from a common law point of view.

laws vs rules -- learn it, live it, love it

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DrG February 17, 2014 2:20 pm

Not sure why it's a NH invention?

But just to try and clear things up a bit, it seems more likely that people are getting confused with words rather than with the laws... Either buy a thesaurus everyone or read between the lines..

Grasp = seize and hold firmly
Wrap = cover or enclose

So in this scenario (rugby) I think we can all agree that 'wrapping, is a form of grasping'... in other words grasp = wrap more or less..

The only alternative to wrapping that I can see as a definition of grasp, is to 'grasp' with your hands, or shall we say 'grab', which is a much less effective form of 'tackling' if you were indeed to run around the pitch 'grabbing' or 'grasping' peoples body parts or shirts..

Jon, you described the perfect tackle technique, however 'then try and throw the arms around and drag the guy down'... so wouldn't that; essentially, be easily defined as 'attempt to wrap'... I mean if I were to pick up one of the tall tackle bag (pole things) I wouldn't necessarily 'grasp' it, I'd wrap my damn arm around it...

As I described in a previous comment, the easiest way to probably look at this is with the view of 'arm out or arm tucked in'...

Arm out: This tackle.
Arm in:

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Jon February 18, 2014 5:56 am

The issue with defining the law arbitrarily as 'wrapping the arms' is that wrapping the arms is only one way to grasp someone, and is an action not referenced anywhere in the law.
It also ignores the fact that the law states quite clearly that a player must "attempt to grasp" the other player.
The word attempt is very important.

The context of the law is important. It was introduced specifically to stop one thing - league style shoulder charges (similar to an NFL hit) where the player runs in side on, with the arms tucked up to the chest and smashes only the shoulder into the player.

It was not meant to outlaw these kind of hits (where a player is executing a textbook tackle).

If you have played rugby at any decent level, you would know that you are taught how to tackle by leading with your shoulder, driving it into the opposing players midriff, followed by an attempt to get a hold of the player whose momentum you've hopefully stopped, to drag him down.

The issue with interpreting the law to mean anything other than a ban on league style charges (defined above), is that you start penalising players for simply executing a textbook tackle TOO well.
i.e. if Masi had been able to endure the hit better, Fa'asavalu's tackle would not be questioned at all, even if it was preformed with exactly the same action.

We have started penalising the outcome of good tackles (the guy going flying backwards, being put on his @rse), rather than the technique of the tackler.

This is a great tackle, executed perfectly. The action used is no different to 90% of tackles in the game. Because in this case the tackle was so effective that it knocked Massi off his feet, people question the legality of the hit. That's not what the shoulder charge law is supposed to result in.

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DrG February 18, 2014 9:13 am

I don't disagree with you there Jon, however are you reading my posts? Or replying to me? Please elaborate on other ways to grasp - Like I said previously, there aren't a whole lot, using your hands is one way, however it's less effective than 'bear hugging' (or wrapping)...

So really, the problem does not stem from the concept of 'wrap' or 'grasp'. The only thing people need to understand is 'attempt'.

I think it's unfortunate this debate has appeared on this particular tackle, as we are definitely both in agreement that it is a great tackle.

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themull February 18, 2014 8:25 pm

Grasping could include pulling a guy down by his jersey or shorts, or any body part, which is common when a guy is chasing down the ball carrier from behind..

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DrG February 20, 2014 10:27 am

@the mull,

Like I said to Jon, this; well not so much this, but tackles like this, are the ones which come under scrutiny, they are the 'questionable' tackles... Chasing down the ball carrier from behind and pulling him down by his shorts or jersey are never scrutinised, nor 'questionable' so they aren't really able to be included. I know what you're getting at and I can see your point, chasing a guy, last minute ditch you might jump and grab with your hands at their jersey and drag them down to save the try, but no one is going to question that.

Next time there is a big hit, ask yourself whether it would be possible with 'snatchy hands'...

The two types are apples and oranges really... they're both 'tackles' but not in the same category, in fact, we call a tap tackle a tackle, but it's clearly not defined as a tackle in the laws.

What I'm getting at, is we can all be insanely pedantic, or we can agree that the whole thing is an 'attempt' to do something. If you want to attempt grasp; which to me implies hands, your opponent when you try to put in a big hit then by all means go for it, however I will still be attempting to 'wrap' next time I throw a shoulder in!

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Jon February 18, 2014 10:30 pm

DrG you answered your own question.
Grasping with the hands is a perfectly legitimate way to "attempt to grasp" the other player. Wrapping the arms is another.
But if you erroneously think that wrapping the arms is the law, you are only allowing that one thing to define a legal tackle.
Grasping could mean reaching out with your arms straight as a player goes past you and grabbing at his legs, tripping him up. It could mean wrapping your arms around in a bear hug (the most common way obviously), and dragging him down.
As themull says below, people never talk about wrapping the arms when a guy runs another player down from behind and drags him down by grabbing him with the hands. No one ever talks about wrapping when a guy is stepping past a defender and the defender sticks his arm out despairingly to try and grab or trip the attacker.

The real problem is that people forget why the law is in place. It's to prevent a league or NFL style charge, where you are basically turning your self into a missile and pulling your arms across your chest.

And I'm not having a go at you at all mate, just talking about the tackle with you.

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DrG February 19, 2014 2:27 am

But the 'questionable' tackles are never those which involves chasing someone down and tackling them from behind - ooh er - Unlike this 'sort' of tackle (which for the record is not really questionable in my eyes).

So that only leaves the 'big' tackles that come under any scrutiny.. Now for the record, I'm not sure how many 'big' tackles you've ever made, but tell me how many 'big tackles' involved grabbing the guys shirt? Chances are the answer is none. I can't say I recall any big tackles which involved wildly grabbing someones jersey... So all that really leaves is a shoulder first..

So really the only way you can 'grasp' a player when you stick a shoulder in, is to throw your arm(s) round afterwards - hence why people often refer to 'wrapping' or attempting to wrap.

If you watch this video again, what IIIII see, is an 'attempt to wrap' which ends up as a successful 'grasp' of jersey as the player hits the floor (which for the record; if this was an illegal tackle, I would deem too late - you can hardly shoulder charge someone, then grab their shirt on the ground and claim you grasped).

I agree that the whole point of the law is to weed out 'arm in' sort of tackles.. but 'attempt to wrap' is a fair call in layman terms which incorporates the most common attempted outcome to a big tackle (a wrap, rather than a grasp)...

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ahrefuronlyabollix February 17, 2014 4:25 pm

Tackle is fine. If you see Masi tries to change the angle and it is well read by Fa'asavalu who lines him up and masi has no choice but to go through with the run into what is always going to be a head on collision. Fa'asavalu goes reasonably high and Masi bounces off him, no way you're going to "wrap" in that situation so much so if it had been Fa'asavalu on the attack and Masi going for a similar tackle, Masi again have bounced off and wouldn't have been able to "wrap". Interesting thought though, if Masi had gone down and played it up a bit as if he had been hit illegally would the ref gone to TMO and would he have given it as an illegal hit, IMO he probably would have... Remember Du Plessis' completely fine tackle on Daniel Carter, perfectly fine but he got done for it because the ref saw Carter go down like a sack of spuds.

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Dan February 17, 2014 10:04 pm

In fairness I think most of us would go down like a sack of spuds if we were hit like that by du Plessis. It's a hooker against a fly half and it wasn't play acting from Dan Carter, he even came out and said afterwards it was a perfectly legal tackle.

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