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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Huge hit by Tonga in Pacific Nations Cup draw with Samoa

The Midyear Tours are currently on the go but the Pacific Nations Cup is also under way, and featured a dramatic 18-18 draw between Samoa and Tonga in the opening game on Saturday. In the first half there was this huge hit, by a fullback on a prop.

Tonga scored through Otulea Katoa before Josh Afu helped them to a 12-5 lead at halftime, with Samoa's first half try coming through Fautua Otto. Northampton Saints star Kahn Fotuali'i came on after the restart, and while there were errors on both sides, things opened up late in the game.

Flyer David Lemi scored a try for Samoa on 65 minutes, which Tusi Pisi converted for a 15-12 lead. Tonga held their nerve though and Fetu'u Vainikolo beat a few defenders before Samoa killed the ball and replacement prop Census Johnston was yellow carded.

The kick was slotted and the scores were tied at 15-15 before another Pisi penalty looked like they were on track for a hard-fought 18-15 victory.

On fulltime a lineout infrigement left Wayne Barnes with no choice but to award a penalty, which  replacement Fangatapu Apikotoa stepped up and slotted for a well-deserved 18-18 draw. Samoa attacked the line but Tonga held out, and looked the happier of the two sides at the final whistle.

We've got highlights of the match on page two of this post, but the featured clip here is of a massive hit by fullback Tevita (David) Halaifonua on big prop Sakaria Taulafo. The tackle was penalised by referee Barnes, and some might say Halaifonua was lucky to only get a talking to.

View the match highlights

Page: 12View All

Posted at 11:30 am | 17 comments

Eddie Aholelei punches Jebb Sinclair after fight with Canada

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 17 comments

Mark - a tackling fl June 11, 2014 10:15 am

Sorry, what was wrong with that tackle? The attacking runner (yes, something of an oxymoron given he was a prop) dropped his shoulder into the contact at the last second so the tackle was maybe a tad high when it hit him, but if anything then only by a tad, and not the tacklers fault. The tacklers' arms were out to wrap in the tackle but the prop went down so fast the tackler didn't get to "grip" him with his arms. I know safety is paramount, and shoulder charges and high tackles are illegal and should be punished, but this penalty seems harsh, imho. In a contact sport you cannot completely sanitise the contact or the sport will lose one of the elements that make so many people play & watch it !!!

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DrG June 11, 2014 10:21 am

Must be a brutal game, two of the hardest hitting nations pitted against each other...

I know they call it 'the Samoan sidestep' but it is often used by all of the Islanders, so that's got to be an interesting scenario...

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DanKnapp June 11, 2014 10:43 am

I've watched this a couple of times and even tried to pause it at the right moment. I've even looked up the laws in order to better understand this.

The tackler starts low (his torso is almost horizontal) and explodes slightly upwards. The tackled player goes lower in order to win the contact. As a result the tackle hits him up near the top of his chest/in line with his shoulders (maybe, hard to see).

Law 10.4 (e) says:
A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.

He makes contact with him at shoulder height.

However the tackled player does go low into the contact in order to win the collision. I can't find anything about this in the laws - can anyone point me to a specific law or explanation from the IRB in order to clarify this? I'm more interested as a nerd now, rather than in this particular instance.

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DrG June 11, 2014 10:00 pm

It is interesting, I think at some point the 'tackled' player has to take some responsibility for their body position when they enter into contact.

As for my original comment, I meant more that you have two teams that when attacking will be performing the 'Samoan sidestep' on each other, and when defending will be stopping players with the force of a small truck..

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DanKnapp June 13, 2014 3:13 pm

I know exactly what you mean. I love watching games between two Pacific Islander teams. Normally from behind my sofa.

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xxxwookie June 11, 2014 11:10 am

ducking into the tackle isn't a law per se, it's a guidance for referees to use. Underneath the already complicated laws are a set of guidelines for referees to consider and it's down to the referee's interpretation of those laws and guidelines. Now you could judge that the tackler's strike is at around shoulder height, but the referee will be considering how much influence the ducking had on where the tackle is made and whether the tackler had an opportunity to adjust.

For me, he's standing up in the tackle to hit high and make an impact, he could have kept lower in the tackle and it's a penalty. Looking again, it's very high as it's impacting with the head. When referees call ducking in the tackle, they're usually looking at a tackler who has already committed when the carrier has ducked down and gotten caught.

My other problem though is how he uses his arms. Impact is made with the shoulder and there's no attempt to wrap the arms in the tackle and the result is a shoulder charge. So combine the contact with the head, with the manner in which he made the tackle and the lack of arms, it's quite easy to give a penalty and the yellow card can't be too far away

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DanKnapp June 13, 2014 3:14 pm

Thanks wookie, that's a really insightful comment. 1 internets point for you.

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Bomp June 11, 2014 11:11 am

It's not about the height of the tackle. The referee seemed to get a call from the touch judge (hence no stated advantage) about no arms being used in the tackle. On the replay the tacklers arms do not wrap around opposing player, so it is a penalizable offence. Bit harsh as it can be argued that the tackler made an attempt to wrap arms.

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Ireland West June 11, 2014 11:56 am

This is an excellent example of 'not using the arms'. However entertaining we may find these huge hits, they have no place in the game. Unfortunately it will continue until a serious injury is caused to a well known player in a high profile match. At that point the rugby world will realise that this type of tackle constitutes dangerous play. I would ask RugbyDump.com to feature only those instances of these 'hits' where the tackler is penalised. I don't want to attend the funeral of a team mate (or opponent) fatally injured in this manner. Do you ?

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stroudos June 11, 2014 9:44 pm

Slightly melodramatic, don't you think?

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Jon June 12, 2014 12:58 am

Jesus Christ, what are you on about mate?
Have you ever played the game?
People sometimes get hit in the head, it's been happening for a hundred years. Yes, it should be penalised, and occasionally (if it's real bad or blatantly intentional) should result in a card.

But someone dying? Jesus, settle down. It's just a high tackle. They happen all the time. It's a tough game. There's risk involved.
The Samoan will be fine.
It's basically the equivalent of taking a good uppercut in boxing and getting TKOed.
It's not good for you sure, but it's a contact sport, and these guys accept that risk.

And no matter how much you make it illegal and penalize people for it, high shots are 99% of the time accidents that will always occur in a game as tough and uncompromising as rugby. If you don't like that, fair enough, play soccer or something.

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markus June 12, 2014 1:56 am

Goes for the wrap, shoulder hits first and he bounces off...fair tackle....

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Guy June 11, 2014 3:19 pm

Actually, this is exactly the kind of tackle I DON'T like. The sole intent of the tackler seems to be to hurt the opposing player. I (and I guess we all) have read quite a few articles on concussions etc. lately so even if this tackle is legal, it's still dangerous.

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stroudos June 12, 2014 6:41 am

I'll be honest, I enjoyed the tackle just before this more. The one where the rampaging winger was stopped dead in his tracks right on the 22. But in that case the winger made a cheeky offload (clearly forward, by the way) and kept the move going. No chance here of the prop making a quick offload!

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Foxy June 11, 2014 6:52 pm

I think the player with the ball going low explains why the tackle ends up high but doesn't excuse it totally.
Dan. In terms of the laws of the game I think tacklers are and must be duty bound to not hit high or we will have injuries all over the show. Also it is sensible and commonplace to dip into contact when carrying the ball rather than remaining upright, it doesn't mean players can hit high.
Also not much use of the arms in that tackle so foul play on 2 fronts for me

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Jon June 12, 2014 12:54 am

Perfectly good hit in terms of being a shoulder charge (that's not a bloody shoulder charge - it's just a normal tackle). The problem is that if you look carefully, it goes a bit high and the point of the Tongan's shoulder hits the Samoan prop's chin, which is why he goes down like he's been punched (a shoulder to the chin is about the same as an uppercut).

The idea that this is a shoulder charge is ridiculous. It's just a standard tackle. Textbook, if it wasn't a bit high. If he hadn't hit the guy in the chin, the Samoan would have probably just taken the hit, presented the ball and the game would have gone on.

The Tongan leads with the point of the shoulder (as per normal tackling technique), with his arms coming round the Samoan a second after. The Samoan crumples cuz it collects him on the chin.
If this is a shoulder charge then half of all tackles are shoulder charges.

It was a high shot. So a penalty is due, maybe even a yellow (though personally I hate to see cards and I'm happy the guy didn't get one - it was clearly an accident).

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stroudos June 12, 2014 6:44 am

The highlights clip is worth a butcher's.

Looks like a pretty entertaining game - some decent running rugby and a few big hits as you'd expect.

Nice solo try by the Samoa #14, from the halfway line, right up the middle of the park. Quite amusing to see 4-5 defenders taken out of the move by one massive telegraphed dummy!

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