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Friday, May 23, 2014

Mathieu Bastareaud big dump tackle on Jaques Cronje in Top 14 semi final

Toulon beat Racing Metro 16-6 last weekend to book themselves a spot in the Top 14 final against Castres. Tomorrow however they face Saracens in the Heineken Cup final, with bruiser Mathieu Bastareaud sure to have a big impact in the midfield.

He made this big tackle on flanker Jaques Cronje at the weekend, but was yellow carded for it. You'd think he was a little hard done possibly because it was a solid hit, but the laws are the laws.

Tomorrow he'll form a lethal midfield partnership with former Wallabies star Matt Giteau, who crossed for a very well taken try against Racing Metro. Working alongside Jonny Wilkinson, with good ball from the forwards, they'll no doubt have a telling influence on the game.

Former Toulon forwards coach Olivier Azam has compared 'Bastarocket' to Ma'a Nonu, saying that there aren't many centers in world rugby with such size and penetration. At 25-years-old and still improving, he's sure to rack up the Test caps over the next few years.

Without getting too into it, all around the park there are great matchups but the loose trios of both sides in particular making for an exciting prospect. It's Springbok, Argentina and England up against Scotland, Namibia and England (full team sheets below).

As mentioned on our Facebook page, another interesting aspect to the game is that if Toulon do manage to defend their title, winger Bryan Habana will become just the 5th player ever to win the Heineken Cup, Super Rugby and the Rugby World Cup.

The others are Brad Thorn, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha and Rod Kafer.

Toulon Team:
15. Delon Armitage; 14. Drew Mitchell, 13. Mathieu Bastareaud, 12. Matt Giteau, 11. Bryan Habana; 10. Jonny Wilkinson (c), 9. Sebastien Tillous-Borde; 1. Xavier Chiocci, 2. Craig Burden, 3. Carl Hayman, 4. Bakkies Botha, 5. Danie Rossouw, 6. Juan Smith, 7. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 8. Steffon Armitage. Replacements: 16. Jean-Charles Orioli, 17. Alexandre Menini, 18. Martin Castrogiovanni, 19. Ali Williams, 20. Virgile Bruni, 21. Maxime Mermoz, 22. Michael Claassens, 23. Jocelino Suta.

Saracens Team:
15. Alex Goode; 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Brad Barritt, 11. David Strettle; 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Schalk Brits, 3. Matt Stevens, 4. Steve Borthwick (c), 5. Alistair Hargreaves, 6. Kelly Brown, 7. Jacques Burger, 8. Billy Vunipola. Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. James Johnston, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Jackson Wray, 21. Neil de Kock, 22. Charlie Hodgson, 23. Chris Wyles.

Posted at 2:04 pm | 23 comments

Mathieu Bastareaud's rib tickling tackle on Talebula

Mathieu Bastareaud charges through Alexandre Flanquart

Mathieu Bastareaud breaks Agen scrumhalf Alexis Bales

Mathieu Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

Bastareaud brace helps France to win over Scotland

Mathieu Bastareaud red card - U20 World Championships

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 23 comments

Josh May 23, 2014 3:13 pm

I know rules are rules, but that was a quality hit. Think referees should just use common sense when making decisions on tackles

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Citing Commissioner May 23, 2014 3:16 pm

I am now without doubt, I am witnessing the demise of the game I have spent the last two decades enthralled by.

This has to stop, do-gooder idiots with no playing experience are ruining the game.

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TDowney2394 May 23, 2014 3:18 pm

It's ridiculous that's even a penalty. He put in a quality hit and brought him down safely

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Colombes May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

I watched this game (and this solid hit) in a pub in paris.
The crowd had a laugh when the ref raised the yellow to bastareaud
Speechless..

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finedisregard May 23, 2014 3:28 pm

So lame. The refs are killing this game!

I don't care what the law says. Change the law. They already do every year anyway. There is nothing in this.

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joe May 23, 2014 4:48 pm

to be fair the ref seemed to think it was ok or he would have stopped the game straight away. it seems to be the tmo who recommended yellow. and the same with the ed odonoghue 'eye gouging' steve walsh didnt seem to want to send him off

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TopCat May 23, 2014 3:38 pm

Something has to be done about this 'above horizontal rule'. That is not a dangerous tackle in any sense of the imagination, but just because he is at 190 degrees rather than 180 he is getting carded??? We're already seeing the likes of Habana throwing himself around like a Salmon when he is tackled to get players sent off. Obviously we can't have people being dropped on their heads, but this is ridiculous.

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DrG May 23, 2014 4:54 pm

That's exactly my point, we're now talking about single degrees rather than tens of degrees..

In my opinion, the whole point is to dissuade people from doing THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUlWZXR5NiM

Not the tackle that bastareud did.

View Video

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guest May 23, 2014 4:45 pm

beyond ridiculous: if people don't make it clear that things like this, quite clearly, constitute a good tackle, the game will go soft. There seems to be a big body of fans and players who are all against this sort of refereeing

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This comment has been removed

DrG May 23, 2014 9:07 pm

Really... removed? haha.. For the record it was all a joke..

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rugbyaddict87 May 23, 2014 10:44 pm

Disgrace...... Basically no more dump tackles. Game ruined. Let the professionals DO WHATEVER THEY WANT WITHIN REASON AND COMMON SENSE.

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10stonenumber10 May 24, 2014 1:47 am

This "better safe than sorry" approach analysing the hit at 1/30th of realtime is a major downfall, of course it will look bad. If the tackler remains on his feet while dropping the player, his legs will rotate beyond 90. If the tackler falls with the player, he will be penalised for driving into the floor/not putting them down again safely.

It is a no win situation. Unless the attacker clings onto you like a Koala, he is going to rotate and something will hit the ground before his arse does. I don't know about you, but i'm usually more concerned with keeping hold of the ball than grabbing whoever hit me for a softer landing.

Referees ruin the flow. Now, the same point we come to on every big hit video... six of one, half a dozen of the other. Laws exist, so does common sense. Pick the smashed player up, had he been the tackler, would he be satisfied with getting binned for hitting someone like that? Don't think so.

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DrG May 24, 2014 8:48 am

He could have died...

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Bunn May 24, 2014 9:18 am

RugbyDump you will have to change your name now cos you're illegal!

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FatProp May 24, 2014 10:22 am

It is so stupid, the body is bound to come down first because the tackled player is trying to get too ground and get the ball to the floor. You can normally tell by the reaction of the tackled player, he doesn't care anymore than if he stubbed his toe on a table. The rules have to be there too stop players being driven head first into the ground but this isn't dangerous.

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DrG May 24, 2014 1:41 pm

In all fairness, I generally go bat shit crazy when I stub my toe..

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Juggernauter May 24, 2014 3:59 pm

The TMO's to blame, I think. It was once a great idea - have technology and slow-mo replays to help the ref when his own experience of the events was incomplete or inconclusive to make a decision. But what we are seeing now is ridiculous, with refs looking for a forward pass or obstruction or whatever a good couple of phases before a try was scored.

The same thing happens with tackles. Big hit, player landed safely, no one complains, no injury whatsoever, play continues. But refs are coming under the scrutiny of punters and TV commentators, columnists and ex players, journalists and every rugby fan, who have the luxury of watching slow mo replays and judge upon them. So I guess you can't really blame the refs for always trying to make sure they make the right decisions, using every bit of footage available, even if that means losing several minutes of play (and entertainment) every game.

I think a great example of the use of TMO was on show whn JP Doyle sent off Salesi Ma'afu for punching Tom Youngs in the premiership semi, and gave Youngs a yellow. But it should really be restricted just for dangerous play or the act of scoring itself.
Refs aren't perfect and neither is rugby, it is insane to think that a ref can see everything that goes on in the pitch (that's what touch judges are for!). So let's go back to the time when the ref made the calls, trusted his touch judges with his life and we could all enjoy a game without this sort of nonsense!

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10stonenumber10 May 24, 2014 11:08 pm

I'm not saying we go as far back as "jumpers for goalposts" (because of Paul Whitehouse, I can never take that phrase seriously), but I also feel that a lot of linesmen are pressured to jump on stuff too...

Any sportsman, no matter how highly trained, will lapse in concentration and make more mistakes if he is going at 60% rather than 80-90%. You are not as involved in the pace and tempo of the game, they have an ear piece to hear the ref, but you are watching different things, and following things on a single axis of movement. That close to the crowd, you won't hear a thing anyway.

With hits, it is a mixture of 2 experts second guessing each other, and then a bloke with the forensics chucks his oar in too.

Ref allows a 50/50 call.
Sideman linesman raises his banner of disgruntlement.
Other team jump on it, hungry for a penalty, baying at ref like that dog down the road that never shuts up.
Ref thinks 'oh sh*t, damn you spirit of the free game for allowing it, how dare he break the play, better get someone sitting on their arse watching 6 TVs, it better be worth it."

3rd official takes the call 5 seconds (can be up to 12) before he sees it being made on the Sky Sports broadcast he was actually paying attention to due to digital broadcast delay.
Sh*ts himself a little bit at being called into action, hides the pie and pint under the desk so you can't see it on camera
Watches a few unhelpful angles at an incredibly bad resolution and strobe style low frame rates.
Players mill around awaiting a decision.
Pressured into a quick decision, like the concussion check... half arse the job. If nobody is on a stretcher/tombstoned/no fight, give them a yellow, if it was worth a red they wouldn't have needed him.
Leave the hard work to the citing commissioner if they still want to shout about it after the game.

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DrG May 24, 2014 11:29 pm

The old dog who likes rucking the **** out of people (still mid 20's mind) in me agrees with you, however the new techno geek disagrees...

Unfortunately there is this potentially indescribable level that we're at with the game where the stakes outweigh 'The Game'... I suppose it's always been high stakes, but what I mean is, in the old days (said the young pup) there was an 'injustice,' the receiving person knew about it, the offender knew about it, and a couple others, and the referee missed it, half the crowd saw it and will talk about it forever more, the other half didn't see it, the referee gets someone moaning and a half booing crowd, calls up who he thinks was the offending player and tells him 'I didn't see it, just behave yourself!'

So that was the past, the now and the future, some players see it, the crowd sees it all, the thousands at home see it, the touch judge might see it, now the TMO see it's - so really if the referee turns round and says "I didn't see it" the whole crowd yells - "Well if me in row 1000000 can see it, how the **** did you NOT see it!" etc etc...

Then part of me says well "The hand of back" results in the win for a team which did not deserve the win - This is where it gets complicated - The game is designed by cheaters, it helps cheaters, promotes cheaters and hey us 'thugs' enjoy cheating, so to incorporate a video referee, thousand angle etc that catches out cheating will actually ruin the; awkward to say here, fundamentals of the game(??)

So as I said, if a team cheats and gets away with it and wins, is that correct? If Dan Carter, Jonny Wilkinson cheats and should be red carded but they aren't and they slot all the kicks is that right? Then again the flipside is, where do we stop? TMO interrupts because of hands in the ruck? Lying on the ball?

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10stonenumber10 May 24, 2014 11:54 pm

I completely agree. Referees get spooked by the tech.

Take prison as an extreme example. The more restrictive the environment, the further you have to go technically to beat the system. Players are trained to cheat to gain advantage in all facets of play. Rucking, mauling, half-backery, scrummaging... "it is fine as long as we don't get caught". The mock 'shock' and 'it wasn't me, honest' acting performances would rival the cast of Eastenders when they are caught.

As for people cheating, you win some, you lose some, over the season i'd say it probably averages out. Maybe not at Leicester though.

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DrG May 25, 2014 9:48 am

But then it's more the fact that we're entering into this age of 'if the tech is there then why not use it?' which I agree and disagree with.

As I said above, a million people see an incident on their tv sets/big screen which would result in a last second kick at the goal posts for the win and the referee doesn't see it... He becomes the odd one out, then people say - 'Well give the bloke access to video replay'

But then again as you said, cheating in rucks, mauls etc are in some ways not designed to be policed by camera - but then again the argument from some will be 'why not'... and before we all know it, we'll be playing a stop start American Football instead.

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Drogers93 May 25, 2014 2:01 pm

i am so happy reading these comments, everyone has common sense! so often you see a tackle like this and inexperienced rugby fans jump on the irb/pundit/commentator band wagon of "that is dangerous and he should be sent off".
Tackles like these are great. They lift a team, they are safe, and also they do look spectacular which is good for spectators. I think the problem is that the majority have somehow been brainwashed into thinking that these types of tackles, or small collisions in the air etc etc are incredibly dangerous and people will get hurt. But lets be honest these are pros, they spend their lives conditioning themselves for the sport, if nooone is hurt then get on with it and play rugby!!

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