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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Liam Williams and Robin Copeland face disciplinaries after double red card

Liam Williams and Robin Copeland were given their marching orders after an incident in Sunday's Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets Pro12 match at the Millennium Stadium. Williams offended at the breakdown for his second yellow, before Copeland stamped on him.

Williams received a yellow card earlier in the match for a dangerous tackle on Alex Cuthbert, so when he killed the ball, he received his second yellow, which naturally resulted in a red card. 

Copeland took exception to Williams slowing it down and appeared to stamp his head. He was shown a straight red card for the contact between boot and head that could be seen on TV replays.

The independant Citing Commissioner has deemed that Williams' first half tackle was sufficiently dangerous to have warranted a red card, so he has been cited, under Law 10.4 (e): Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.

Update: Both Williams and Copeland will face disciplinary hearings in Dublin on Thursday.

You can view a full match report and wrap-up on page two, which includes the dangerous tackle

Page: 12View All

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:28 pm | View Comments (21)

Jared Payne banned for 2 weeks for challenge on Alex Goode

Wales' biggest ever win over 14-man Scotland in Cardiff

Andrew Trimble and Liam Williams carded for fighting

All Black Adam Thomson's boot on Alasdair Strokosch's head

Dave Attwood facing a lengthy ban after stamp

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 21 comments

redwan_ April 22, 2014 8:37 pm

Never been a fan of Liam Williams, he always seems to just throw himself about, and cynical play from him is no surprise to me. The stamp doesn't look like it was aimed for the head, I seriously doubt that Copeland could have seen Williams' head there but that is simply not on. A stamp in that situation would probably have been a yellow anyway, and if you can see what you're stamping, there's always the possibility to hit the head.

I agree with the citing commissioner there though, that tackle was deserving of a red, that is so dangerous. No way Williams should have even been on the park to get a second yellow so I reckon a ban is coming his way, around 3-5 weeks? Copeland will likely get a week or two longer, but I dont know much of his disciplinary record, so he may get off lighter. Both deserve bans though, in my opinion.

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flanker2712 April 22, 2014 8:56 pm

On the Williams tackle, I take it the ref did not see the Ulster v Saracens game. Illustrates perfectly the double standards.

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DrG April 22, 2014 9:28 pm

I was about to state exactly the same thing, I am actually quite disgusted by this whole incident. I am unsure which camp you're in, but I was in the 'Ulster v Saracens incident was an accident which didn't warrant a card' camp, so to see THIS incident which shows an actual tackle on a player not amount to the same punishment (at least on the field) is outrageous.

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flanker2712 April 22, 2014 11:10 pm

I am in the same camp as you, with a bit of sympathy for a well-put argument that Payne could have been given a yellow.

I have been waiting for the first post-Payne Northern hemisphere high-profile "player tackled in the air" incident, fully expecting to see a straight red card given the citing commissioner's decision and reasoning. As an Ulsterman, to see Williams get a yellow makes me so angry!

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flanker2712 April 22, 2014 11:13 pm

I meant disciplinary hearing officer or whatever title they have.

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ajb April 23, 2014 7:01 am

There was a bit of a discussion on that during coverage of the match. Apparently part of the IRB edict about tackles like this released after the Payne incident is similar to how refs are supposed to deal with tip tackles- if the player tackled in the air hits head or shoulders first (as Goode did) then it should be a red; if the player does not go beyond the horizontal, penalty or yellow depending on other issues (as for Williams). This may be post factum justification by the IRB, but that is what was said.

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DrG April 23, 2014 7:33 am

I realise ajb that you are only the messenger in this scenario, so no abuse I hurl is aimed at yourself, but that answer that the IRB issued is utter rubbish, they need to look at the clear examples of what is going on. Payne was clearly reaching out for the ball and did not see where Goode was - Of course people can happily argue that he should be more aware, that is; in my opinion, a cop out but never mind. Here however, we see Williams attempting to tackle Cuthbert who was in the air and receiving a yellow.

So on one hand we have a 'actual' tackle on a player in the air receiving a yellow and on the other hand we have an accident which involves a collision with a player in the air which receives a red.

It makes no sense that a deliberate act of foul play which I think we can all agree is dangerous receives a lesser punishment, than a complete accident.

If I swing my fists randomly in the air stretching or something and unintentionally punch a guy in the face is that worse that if I deliberately punch a guy in the stomach?

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ajb April 23, 2014 9:16 am

I generally agree with you that the IRB are being too cautious, but I can understand their perspective also.

Their aim seems to be to eliminate not just deliberate foul play but also recklessly dangerous play which Payne's arguably was.

The IRB, referees and most of us amateur critics also seem to be caught between whether to penalise the incident in isolation, or take into account the circumstances and consequences. Payne's tackle had much more serious consequences, which no doubt factored into Garces' mind, even if sub-consciously, whereas the Williams tackle caused no lasting harm, even though it was deliberate.

One thing I do believe, which others likely disagree with, is that, for consistency's sake, an offence should be viewed independently of the context of the match. By that I mean that it should not matter whether the incident occurs in the first minute of a World Cup final or a regular league game- the incident should be dealt with the same way. Having said that, the context within a game is obviously important; a fractious derby likely necessitates more strict refereeing with regard to foul play than a more amicable match, though Tim Wigglesworth's efforts in Bath v Gloucester possibly shows the limits of that supposition.

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Reality April 23, 2014 4:39 pm

Ajb, the problem with your reasoning, or rather, the reasoning that you heard mentioned, is that when you take someone out in the air you have no control over how they land. If you lift someone up then you have some control over where they go and that's why there's a difference between putting someone down on his backside and putting someone down on his head; in other words, spear tackle or not.

In the case of taking someone out in the air it's a lottery, because the way the person jumps, the direction they're facing, whether or not they already have the ball; all those factors are as important if not more so in the landing than the actual 'tackle', so giving yellow cards or red cards for outcomes completely outside of the control of the perpetrator rather than for the offences committed just doesn't make sense. The punishment has to remain the same (either all yellow or all red) for the offence committed, not change based on outside factors.

The only distinction that can be made is whether it's done on purpose or whether it's done accidentally. To say that Payne's recklessly dangerous but accidental impact is far more deserving of punishment than Williams's recklessly dangerous tackle which seems completely on purpose doesn't make any sense to me.

I agree that incidents should be viewed independently of time and importance of the match - absolutely - but also independently of outcome in cases where the outcome is beyond control.

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LJNumber8 April 22, 2014 11:00 pm

So what is with this:
Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.

I noted a penalty in a Super Rugby game over the weekend from the feet in the air situation. It wasn't from a kick, just a shitty pass that the player had to jump (about 10 cm) into the air at the last minute to catch. The tackler was already committed and then got shafted with a penalty. What's stopping a player from jumping in the air moments before getting tackled everytime to milk a penalty? They get penalised for cynical play?

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Guy April 23, 2014 7:27 am

Good point! I believe there is also a law that forbids jumping into a tackle. Not quite sure which one it is though. But jumping to catch every ball that's been thrown your way is still an option. Strange penalty.

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DrG April 23, 2014 7:35 am

Obviously it's not advisable to jump for every pass as you'd lose 'traction', some momentum and you leave yourself open to being hammered if someone times it right, but as you said, it's still an option and a bit of an awkward one - and very open ended...

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Guy April 23, 2014 8:45 am

It could become the rugby equivalent of soccer's 'trying to screw your opponent over'.

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DrG April 23, 2014 12:45 pm

Could be the straw that breaks the camels back. Rugby has always included 'playing to the referee' but in my experience this has been more of an individual or separate team view i.e. YOU play to the line up to the line of the referee and not beyond in order to not be penalised, of course there was always an element of getting under your opponents skin and trying to get him to lash out, but 'faking it' and 'milking it' are primarily soccer traits which seem to be gradually creeping in more and more...

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flanker2712 April 23, 2014 6:11 pm

I don't think there is a rule/law against jumping into a tackle, but it can be penalised under the catch-all foul play rule against doing anything contrary to the spirit of the game (or something along those lines).

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lega2406 April 23, 2014 6:42 pm

Great decision. Good for the ref.

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Vladimir April 24, 2014 11:28 am

Absolutely. The ref went straight to the point without milking around. Dangerous and cynical play=card. Period. Good job.

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Mastersa April 23, 2014 8:10 pm

Williams has a bit of a dirty streak to him. Still remember hin cynically dropping the elbow into Paddy Jackson's head after Jackson grounded a try in the ireland v Wales match. Got away with that. The ref was spot on with decision in my opinion.

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Mastersa April 23, 2014 8:10 pm

Williams has a bit of a dirty streak to him. Still remember hin cynically dropping the elbow into Paddy Jackson's head after Jackson grounded a try in the ireland v Wales match. Got away with that. The ref was spot on with decision in my opinion.

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Mastersa April 23, 2014 8:10 pm

Williams has a bit of a dirty streak to him. Still remember hin cynically dropping the elbow into Paddy Jackson's head after Jackson grounded a try in the ireland v Wales match. Got away with that. The ref was spot on with decision in my opinion.

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DrG April 28, 2014 11:19 am

Regarding the stamp, I don't think it would have warranted anything had he missed the head..

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