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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Digby Ioane manhandles Bryan Habana in tense Top 14 clash

Stade Francais narrowly missed out on a Top 14 play-off place as they were beaten 17-15 by league leaders Toulon in Nice at the weekend. The match was as competitive as ever with multiple cards, including a red, and a sin-binning for Wallaby Digby Ioane.

Replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn, renowned for his quality goal kicking, had a conversion kick to square things up late in the game after a Heinke van der Merwe try in the 77th minute.

That went wide, so Toulon held on for the win after having played 30 minutes with just 14 men, after Georgian Konstantine Mikautadze was red carded for a knee/kick on an opponent. 

It was tense throughout and Stade Francais had three yellow cards themselves, with wing Ioane picking one up for a dangerous tackle on Bryan Habana as he came through a ruck. It looked as though he brought his Rugby Championship rival to ground safely, but was carded nonetheless.

Earlier in the match Ioane had come in off his wing to smash the Springbok star, and was penalised for that too, but wasn't shown a card despite the referee chatting with the TMO.

Habana seems to have a bit of a habit of twisting his body dramatically in the tackle, whether it's deliberate or not. As we saw with Devin Toner and Tom Court at the weekend, that can have dire consequences for the tackler, and perhaps for himself too.

With the victory Toulon secured their semi final spot, where they will face the winner of Toulouse vs Racing Metro, which takes place on 9 May. Montpellier beat Racing Metro 44-10 so they too go the guaranteed semi, where they will face the winner of Clermont vs Castes (10 May).

Below you can see the big tackle Ioane made on Habana, and then the incident he was yellow carded for. On the next page you can view the Konstantine Mikautadze red card incident.

Page: 12View All

Posted at 5:12 pm | 35 comments

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 35 comments

DanKnapp May 06, 2014 6:41 pm

Second incidence, looks about right.

First incidence, as the description says, Habana does seem to drop and go completely limp in the air. It looks a little like a dive to me. Now Ioane's arms DO lift his legs, so he is culpable, but I'm a little disappointed with Habana.

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DanKnapp May 07, 2014 5:28 am

I should be clear, the 'second incidence' is the second tackle, not the second video.

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Reality May 06, 2014 6:48 pm

That first incident is the same trick Habana pulled against France where he just goes limp in order to hit the ground with his head/shoulders first and get the tackler in trouble. Such a respectable guy.

The second one was just stupid from Ioane but in fairness he did put him down pretty legally. Glad to see it's not a red.

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Guy May 06, 2014 8:10 pm

He took him down safely in the second tackle. But in all honesty the fate of the player that's being tackled is no longer in the hands of the tackler if you hold someone in this position. So I guess yellow would be correct (in my very humble opinion)

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joe May 06, 2014 8:29 pm

dont think there was even a penalty warranted for the first one barely late completely legal hit.
second tackle possible yellow but it did seem he tried to put him down safely when he realised he had him in an awkward position otherwise habana would hav been dumped instead of being held up for so long.

on another note these commentators are terrible

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cheyanqui May 06, 2014 8:49 pm

Habana sold Ioane's pile driver really, well, even jumping up into the position.

Maybe when he's done at Toulon, Vince McMahon will call him up.

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cheyanqui May 06, 2014 8:52 pm

Mikautadze gets a hand in the bollocks, seeing blue and red at the same time.

Poor reaction, but the guy smacking his balls should have been sent off too.

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coostov May 06, 2014 9:32 pm

Nothing wrong with the first hit. I can't stand when the commentators complain about a non-call. GET ON WITH IT.

The second hit, however, is quite dangerous. You can't go lifting people off the ground. There was no reason Ioane has to lift him. That drop could have been much, much more dangerous. Deserves the yellow surely.

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DrG May 06, 2014 9:36 pm

Haven't seen the red card yet - moving onto that in a little moment.

Regarding the first 'incident' - if you can call it that. Nothing wrong with it, looks like Habana has been practising that play acting a little too much.

Secondly I have to say that I think the Ioane yellow is a farce... I understand that we don't want to see something nasty occur, but frankly Ioane did all he could to keep Habana 'safe'... What is the current law regarding spear tackles? Forgive me if I'm wrong, blame it on the commentators, but is it not something like, 'if you lift a player and take him beyond the horizontal, you must return them to the ground safely' ?? in which case I'd say Ioane did everything in his power to fall backwards and ensure Habana was cushioned in the landing, in which case I'd say pat that man on the back.

Really it looks to me like Ioane held him, Habana probably tried to leave his feet and ended up like that, to yellow Ioane was ridiculous...

...Now onto the red... Pitiful, nothing really there and a fair reaction by Mikautadze. I'd take umbrage if someone manhandled my spuds in a game, but really there was nothing in it, you red card one you should be carding the other too!

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TotesMcGoates May 07, 2014 1:08 am

10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that 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.

Take from that what you will but for my money, Ioane didn't drop or drive Habana.

I agree on the other two counts as well, looked like a textbook dump tackle and a bit of handbags, respectively.

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DanKnapp May 07, 2014 5:30 am

I agree with you both. As I've said before, I think that players should be savvy enough by now to realise that if they lift a player off the group they are pushing their luck. As DrG says though, I think Ioane does everything he can to return him safely to earth. Careless play, mildly dangerous perhaps, but nothing in it that a 'be careful' wouldn't fix.

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finedisregard May 07, 2014 12:38 pm

Exactly!
Habana goes into contact with his shoulders lower than his hips, which is unsafe and not a great way to play rugby. Ioane does pick him up but does not drive him into the ground or drop him. What is a guy to do?

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FatProp May 07, 2014 6:30 pm

Yeah I think the first one is actually fine, he is committed to the tackle and then the ball goes away. The second one, Ioane has lifted him up and really I think it is a yellow, if someone goes into the back of him trying to support him in the tackle he could easily drop him on his head. Credit to Ioane though as he does bring him down safely and just a penalty might have been sufficient. It's a weird one if a guy on my team was the tackler I would probably say that it is just a penalty, if my guy was the player being tackled, I would probably be yelling for a yellow.

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DrG May 07, 2014 10:25 pm

To Totes, Dan, finedisregard and Fatprop, thank you for all your replies (even if they weren't all to me). I understand that we cannot all always be in agreement for every situation but I do appreciate the words you have left.

I think the Ioane odd tackle, 'looks' quite bad and perhaps on an amateur pitch most opposition players and fans would probably be in a fair position to kick up a fuss, but with the camera angles, etc, in pro rugby, I think this is in all fairness a bit of a mix up and I think Dan is correct that a simple word could have sufficed.

Totes, thank you for supplying the law, I think we're definitely on the same line that this tackle didn't tick those boxes.. I wonder if it could roll into a sort of reckless play type of law, which again I think could be covered with a simple talking too.

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DanKnapp May 08, 2014 3:04 pm

Thanks DrG. In my day job I teach ethics courses and we talk about the strengths and weaknesses of any ethical theory. The sad truth is that every rule will have an obvious exception, and if you only ever focus on the consequences then you end up with a dirty milieux of different rules which satisfies nobody.

I think that at the end of the day we have to trust our referees to enforce the spirit of the game as best they see fit. This will lead to inconsistency at times, but those inconsistencies can work in the game's favour. Think Mr Owens telling Brown and Huget that they were being 'immature' after a little scuffle. He wasn't applying the letter of the law, but the spirit of it. He allowed the game to flow. At other times this won't be appropriate. Forget 'consistency'. We're never going to get it. It is an impossible dream.

At the same time, I think that in the above clips Habana 'seems' to be playing outside of the spirit of the game. Ioane seems to be playing within the spirit of the game. Ioane definitely breaks rules which have been put in place to attempt to safeguard player safety (lifting Habana) but not in a way which placed the tackled player at any risk of serious injury.

The responsibility lies, ultimately, at the feet of the players and at the feet of the spectators. The referee should not be expected to police the game for the rest of us. We should police it ourselves. Other players and captains should tell their teammates when their behaviour has fallen afoul of the spirit of the game. Spectators shouldn't put up with these antics to see their team win and should boo accordingly.

Lastly, I think that players at the top level should remember that their actions will be viewed, and copied, by others at the lower level of the game. They have a responsibility to the sport that has so handsomely rewarded them to conduct themselves in the most professional way possible. They will make mistakes, at which point we spectators should allow them some slack.

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DrG May 08, 2014 10:24 pm

What a rare and open response to get over the internet.

Of course we're both speculating on how Habana acted and whether or not it was a deliberate - for the record, it looked 'odd'.

I agree with your sentiments however regarding the actions and also how Ioane played.

As you said there is no way we will get 'consistency' with different characters reading laws which are not completely black and white. The laws themselves are open to some leeway, then applying different characters attitudes to already wavering laws and it is no surprise that we really get differing decisions.

I think sadly the unfortunate thing about the professional game these days is that it has gone so far, teams are breaking codes of honour/laws etc in order to get the win - Bloodgate scandal etc.
After in game incidents we also see management spinning every controversial episode around, 'well I didn't see much in it, they were doing it all game' etc etc... The win is becoming more important than the spirit of the game.

As you said, it needs to be self policed, players taking a step back and putting the spirit and the meaning behind the game ahead of just a win.

I think there has often; on a whole, been a vast gap between professional rugby players and professional footballers, I'm not sure the gap is so vast these days and I'd hate to see it become indistinguishable.

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DanKnapp May 09, 2014 8:51 am

I couldn't agree more. You and I have different ideas about how the game should be referred in terms of tackles (dangerous and otherwsie), but I think all the regular commentators on this site have a shared sense of what the game should be. I think this is common across 99% of rugby fans, which is why we sit together at games and get drunk together without fighting.

Bloodgate is a good example of how the game can go wrong, but I would add Richard Cockerill's antics towards referees are as bad or worse, because they suggest an acceptance of that behaviour. I think the authorities should be entirely within their rights to dock points for such outbursts.

The beauty of rugby, for me, is the way in which 99% of decisions by the referee go uncontested. In football you have to watch the players raising their hands and claiming possession every time the ball leaves the pitch. Of course there are the odd videos which nerds like us like to pore over on sites like this, because those videos are examples right on the edge of legality and therefore make for interesting discussions.

Rugby should be, first and foremost, about a collection of standards and assumptions that unite all participants before they step foot on the field. There are acts of cheating which are generally considered acceptable and those which are generally considered unacceptable - think fisticuffs and playing hurt to get a card.

For me the single biggest problem facing the game is the increasing practice of coaches criticising referees during and after games. I believe that this should be entirely unacceptable. Talk about it in private, yes, but not in public.

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DrG May 09, 2014 6:57 pm

Cockerill is a fantastic example (I had thankfully forgotten about his antics) - As someone who despises football/soccer yet is not unaware of the awful displays by players and coaches, I can only liken Cockerill to Alex Ferguson, a person who referees' (by all accounts) were terrified of upsetting because they were allowed a huge disgusting amount of freedom of speech.

Again, I don't like the idea that a referee can get away with an abysmal performance, but then I think that is something that needs to be controlled by the governing bodies and NOT by the media and the managers or a coach. I would happily support the docking of points in order to prevent managers insulting and complaining about a referees performance. I think it's especially ridiculous in a game like rugby where much of the time the ball is shrouded beneath 3-6 bodies, somewhere along the lines a referee is going to miss a decision. I have heard people in the past moaning about a decision against their team labelling it as an outrage and how the referee should near enough be hanged for his mistake, yet when questioned about a dubious decision which went FOR their team they remain silent and adamant that it did not happen.

I love the attitude of players interviewed after a match who feel tremendously wronged by a decision that went against a team mate yet they remain impartial a leave a comment such as "well I didn't quite see what happened, from where I was on the pitch it didn't look like much but the referee and linesman probably had a better view of it than I did." - which in translation generally means "I thought the referee made an awful decision and should stop taking bribes but I'm not really allowed to say it".

Back onto football again, I get disgusted on the rare occasions I see a glimpse of a match where a referee is being blocked from reaching the player he wants to card by a bunch of overpaid pansies screaming at him - I'd red card the whole f'ing lot of them!

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DanKnapp May 10, 2014 11:30 am

I couldn't agree more.

Regarding your last paragraph, I'd add that if a player in rugby ever lays a hand on the referee or blocks him from something, he gets a yellow immediately. The captain has the right to a certain amount of chat with the referee, and this should be entirely to the referee's discretion. Some like a bit of chat and it helps with their game management, others don't, but I don't want to see players arguing with the ref.

One habit I don't like, but is creeping in, is the player who shakes their head when they've been sent from the field. They can go bat shit crazy in the changing room, but until then they should keep it to themselves. I've seen kids at our school copying this when they're not happy with a decision, and it shouldn't be tolerated.

We sound like a pair of properly grumpy old men.

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Canadian content May 06, 2014 10:44 pm

Whether habana goes limp or not, ioane pulls his legs in and drops him, which is illegal. Nothing wrong the lateness, he was committed, but a yellow would be fine for me.

Whereas in the second tackle, I think habana just gets in an awkward position and ioane does well to put him down safely. If ioane drove habana into the ground in their original contact position, I think it would have ended up badly for habana, like a pile driver. Instead he picks him up and puts him down safely. But I guess it could have ended really badly and that can't become legal.

Red on last totally deserved. Push was to the inner thigh not the bullocks. A ball spiked on the opponent and a kick = a red

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finedisregard May 07, 2014 12:39 pm

The Georgian guy is guilty of a bad attitude, nothing more. A quick talking to the ref would have been enough. Why are you so keen on taking guys off the field for niggling stuff like this?

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Canadian content May 07, 2014 10:25 pm

Cuz I don't like to see this type of thuggish behaviour influence the game. Opponents should not fear being kicked when on the ground, nor having the ball spiked on them, which I would call a straight yellow itself. This type of "niggle" leads to more thuggish violence and injury. I highly doubt this pro player in his late twenties would suddenly change his approach because of a stern talking to by the school master. Costing his team dearly will make him think twice though.

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Canadian content May 07, 2014 10:26 pm

Still like your call sign though.

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jrc88 May 06, 2014 10:54 pm

First hit for me is a fantastic tackle, not a penalty and should have been a scrum for a forward pass. Never is that late, he brings him down safe and its Habana 'flopping' to try and win a card.

The second one is really interesting.

On one hand Habana goes in with his head low to the point where his hips are all Ioane can get hold of, surely he has the right to attempt to hold him up or get him into touch.

On the other hand you cannot pick someone up-sidedown as that is clearly dangerous play. Ioane may have full control of Habana but any of the other players on the pitch could have joined the contact and taken it out of his control.

DrG the laws don't actually mention anything about horizontal, they basically say if you take a player off their feet and their shoulders or head make contact with the ground first that constitutes a dangerous tackle. Which means you are completely rite in that the tackle wasn't dangerous but I think this card is for dangerous play as opposed to a dangerous tackle.

I'm sure if someone speaks French they could translate what the ref says and prove me wrong!!

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DrG May 07, 2014 10:30 pm

I sort of answered to another person up there in similar fashion, I think you're probably right, the card was more intended for open general dangerous play...which I personally don't agree it was.. but hey ho, another day, another game etc.

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TBFC May 06, 2014 11:29 pm

ncident, it's not like ioane drived habana into the ground. It was a straight drop.

The second incident looks bad but if ioane dropped habana or even took him down straight away habana would have ended up in a much worser state. All credit to ioane though not dropping him and falling backwards. Would have been just a penalty.
Like tana umanga once said "are we playing rugby or tiddlywinks"

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Rugbynotnetball May 07, 2014 12:37 am

Why are these commentators so keen on cards being thrown around? Saying that first hit was really late? Ione is in his final step when Habana throws a miracle pass to nobody just to get rid of it, then Habana clearly arches his back in order to ensure that his head and neck make contact with the ground. If they want to be serious about player welfare they have to stop this nonsense!

The 2nd tackle was odd at the very least, why Ione ended up with a player in this situation is not all that clear but there was nothing dangerous about it. And as for the comment that had another player joined the contact Ione could have lost control, well another player didn't so in my opinion that is a mute point. Neither was deserving of a yellow card however the fact that Ione was called up for Habana's original dive meant that he was certain to get a card for the 2nd offence. Which I am not even sure warranted a penalty. Not the best refereeing but more than that, absolutely appalling commentary!

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Guy May 07, 2014 10:49 am

Actually, the second tackle IS dangerous. If I follow your philosophy driving through the red light is also not dangerous...unless you cause an accident.

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AUS Rugby Fan May 07, 2014 7:30 am

In regards to the first tackle how in any way is that a bad or late tackle, he was committed looking down at the the player not where the ball is, plus Habana is the softest bloke. You can see he panics when he see the hit coming and throws a horrible forward pass and goes limp in the tackle. Furthermore the second tackle you can see its unfortunate possition he's got himself in but he lets Habana done on top of himself, not driving or dropping him. And has no one noticed Ione gets brought to the ground with an arm around his neck by another player at the same time (respect to the big fella). However the ref had to give Ione a yellow for the second tackle, having him upside down and all.....

ps the commentators are hopeless!

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Ithilsul May 07, 2014 8:37 am

To me, the first tackle deserved a penalty, but no more. Would Ioane have pursued the tackling move, it would have been legal to me, but as he seems to "stop" the tackle in the middle of it, it gives the impression he is dropping the opponent. And, as said before, Habana is also to blame for his move.

Second tackle is also quite hard do judge: it's plain there is no evil intended, and Ioane made the effort to land Habana quite safely. But following the rules, he deserved a yellow. Red or any citation would be too harsh, however.

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Ithilsul May 07, 2014 8:46 am

2nd video (the red card): Mikautadze's kick didn't have bad consequences for Paris player, but deserved a red: what the referee judges is the act, not the consequences. Mikautadze's act is still stupid, and he doesn't seem surprised by his fate.
And, to go into details, the referee was right to whistle against him in the ruck: he was the assisting tackler. :)

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ruckinmaul May 07, 2014 9:11 am

At some point at the season, I thought I saw Stade Francais was on top of the table, during the 6nations I supposed. What happen to them? Massive lost of form?

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Ithilsul May 07, 2014 4:11 pm

Yep, during the 6 Natons, they've lost their best players (Bonneval, Plisson, Parisse...), and with Parisse, their leader, getting injured for few weeks/months, it's been very hard for them since.

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Jon May 07, 2014 9:20 am

Soft, both penalties, especially the card.
Terrible reffing.

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Digger May 11, 2014 5:04 pm

Well said AUS Rugby Fan, nothing in any of these.
Habana has been faking injurys after almost every contact for years.
And yes I did notice that Digby did try to place Habana down safely from a very odd position while being head highed.

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