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The Wraparound from Rugby HQ - Week 27

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jebb Sinclair controversially red carded for 'leading with the elbow'

Canada came agonisingly close to a famous victory over Scotland on Saturday, but had a late penalty reversed due to a controversial sending off. Scotland will be relieved to have won the tour game 19-17 after the home side pushed them all the way.

Both sides scored a try apiece in Toronto, but the Six Nations side failed to take control of the clash as the Canadians stayed in the game right to the death. They could easily have snuck a win too if it weren't for the referee and TMO intervention.

London Irish loose forward Jebb Sinclair made a strong run through the midfield, taking out Ruaridh Jackson in the process, and while play continued and Canada were eventually awarded a kickable penalty, New Zealand referee Mike Fraser called on the TMO to have a look at the incident.

The 18 788 local fans watched on in horror as Fraser judged that Sinclair had led with the elbow, and deserved to be red carded for it. Canada were denied the shot at goal, and had to play the last few minutes with just 14 men.

"For me, it wasn't even a penalty against Sinclair and decisions like these set a dangerous precedent," said former Scotland international Mike Blair in his BBC column. He said that if referees are going to penalise and punish that type of thing, then they need to at least be consistent.

Canada captain Tyler Ardron, who could be heard saying to the referee something like 'It's happened the entire game. How many elbows have we had in the face? What do you have against us?' said post match that they shouldn't have left it that late in the game to go for the win.

"I'm sure that call is what's going to be talked about this week. I don’t think it should have come down to that, we should have closed it out before that, it shouldn't have made a difference."

What do you think of the red card for 'a deliberate elbow to the head'?

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:54 pm | View Comments (115)

Bismarck Du Plessis carded after leading with elbow

Eddie Aholelei punches Jebb Sinclair after fight with Canada

Hooker Dylan Hartley cited for striking Ulster's Rory Best

Jebb Sinclair red carded for punching Jean Deysel

Gio Aplon knocked out with brutal elbow from teammate

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 115 comments

45678 June 15, 2014 8:56 pm

It's unfortunate to see anyone injured, but if that is worthy of a red card, then we are heading down a very slippery slope to a non contact sport

Let these incidents be judged by citing procedures, not a man and a TV with a slo-mo function. The game is becoming farcical

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karimabuseer June 15, 2014 8:57 pm

Appalling decision. He was not leading with the elbow at all. Shame on the TMO too.

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lantwit8 June 15, 2014 9:01 pm

I think it was fine he just pushed the scot away. didn't lead with the elbow as his elbow was by his side. The issue was the scot got knocked out and all because he put his head in the wrong position.

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Pipo June 15, 2014 9:03 pm

if that is a red card, then I most probably should have earned a red card in every single rugby game I have ever played. Heck, even in trainings I should have been sin-binned

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BoksKick June 15, 2014 9:06 pm

I was at the game. Pathetic decision that cost Canada the game. Hang your head in shame ref.

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Jojo June 15, 2014 9:06 pm

Scotland supporter :- what is the game becoming! It's a mans game it always has been - the people who are making these decisions have never played a game of rugby in their lives!! Shocking!!

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Bongo June 15, 2014 9:07 pm

After that i'm never saying Americans are soft ever again... I think the TMO's been watching too much of the football world cup!
There should be a post match reversal and a ref card for the TMO...

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joeythelemur June 17, 2014 7:26 pm

Americans? You know this is Canada, right?

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Daryl June 15, 2014 9:08 pm

How is that possibly a red card. The Scottish player goes in to the tackle awkwardly. That's just strong and powerful running by Jebb Sinclair in my opinion.

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Gav June 15, 2014 9:10 pm

Our great game is slowly being ruined by referees and TMO's. If somebody gets injured it doesn't mean there is an offence or if there is it makes it more serious. Things always look a lot worse in slow motion. Most referees show little empathy or understanding of the game these days. If you watch every contact in slow motion you will see thins like this 20 plu times a game.

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Dolphin2010 June 15, 2014 9:11 pm

Yellow card, he is following through with the elbow and arm afterwards and that is only going to cause damage. Not a red though

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TotesMcGoates June 15, 2014 9:17 pm

'Wow', he says as he leaves the field. I'm inclined to agree.

Looked to me like he braced himself for contact, nothing more.

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Blew1 June 15, 2014 9:19 pm

This is one of the worst decisions I've ever heard of! Absolutely NOTHING wrong with that whatsoever. The fact the Scottish player got injured probably contributed more than anything but should've been irrelevant. No foul play there. A shame and a poor advert for rugby in an up and coming rugby nation. The IRB need to start throwing the book more at incompetent officials. I'm a neutral and I'm angry about it! Can't imagine how annoyed the Canadians and their fans are. Awful decision and totally wrong. Canada have every right to feel conned out of a victory.

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Scotty June 15, 2014 9:20 pm

Your allows to hand off, open hand ... your not allowed to lead with the elbow/ closed fist to face, its illegal = red card correct. That's the rules peoples ...

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DanKnapp June 16, 2014 5:55 am

Pretty hard to lead with your elbow when it's tucked into your body like that. The Scotsman put his head where the elbow was, not the other way around.

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DrG June 16, 2014 10:07 am

Except rugby doesn't have rules, it has laws...

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DrG June 16, 2014 3:50 pm

Haha, love it :D

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Pipo June 17, 2014 12:34 am

shut up and take my money, Rugbydump! : D

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James June 15, 2014 9:24 pm

I cant decide, I am on the fence. It looked as if Sinclair did lift the elbow up intentionally.
On the other hand rugby is a tough game, and Sinclair might have not done that intentionally.
I can't say, but I am disappointed - a Maple Leaf win would be nice.

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Chris June 15, 2014 9:29 pm

My first thought was that this wasn't even a penalty. However Law 10.4 (a) is very clear that you cannot strike an opponent with fist or arm, including elbow. He doesn't make any attempt to hand the Scotland player off, it's just a forearm smash. That's clearly foul and dangerous play.

I think the red card is harsh but as soon as you award the penalty you've taken Canada's opportunity to win the game anyway so oh well - if it was yellow he'd still be off for the remainder of the game.

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Down under June 15, 2014 9:30 pm

The video angle at 1:46 clearly shows the Canadian leading with his elbow into the tackle and also directly elbowing him into the face. Although you are allowed to fend, leading with the elbow to the face is dangerous play, even if Jackson's tacking position is awkward, and even though his elbow starts by his side, he clearly pushes through with his elbow, making no effort to try and avoid using his elbow in a dangerous way. It is not intentional but by the rugby laws, it is deemed as at least a yellow card for dangerous play.

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DanKnapp June 16, 2014 5:57 am

No chance. I'm always called out for being on the soft side of the interpretation of the laws, but this was an absolutely bullshit call. There is no way he can be pinged for this. 'Leading with the elbow' is designed to stop people raising their elbow, pointing it outwards, and - you know - leading with it.

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cakes June 15, 2014 9:34 pm

watch the Polynesians play and then watch this replay. you can tell the obvious difference between leading with an elbow and the indirect contact of a shoulder charge to fend off. i do it all the time against smaller players to keep them from grabbing my legs as i run through them. he just didn't get his arm up and the lad caught the elbow. he never brought his elbow up going into contact. good lads on that Canada team. i worked for them in vegas

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Citing Commissioner June 15, 2014 9:34 pm

I watched this live and emailed rugbydump straight after the game requesting this clip. I am so glad it has been put up, thanks rugbydump!

The decision is unbelievably bad, quite often on here I comment on tackles... that although I (dis)agree with the referee I can understand the logic of the other side of the argument. This however is just 100% outrageous.

What this clip doesn't show is the TMO's comments. It's really interesting to listen to- the TMO said there was nothing wrong with it and wasn't foul play at least twice, and advised the referee to go back to Canada's penalty on the 22 which would have let them take the lead with a couple of minutes left. The referee watched the replays on the screen and overruled the TMO saying it was dangerous and the Canadian lead with the elbow, the TMO disagreed then just kind of went quiet before eventually non-committally going with the ref. Basically what is the point of the TMO in this situation if the ref just watches the TV in the stadium? On a side note when did this current fashion of the ref watching the clip begin and what is the guidance on the situation?

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Citing Commissioner June 15, 2014 9:44 pm

I watched BT Sport 2 commentary - you could hear the TMO there, HE GOT IT SPOT ON and said there was no offence. This is totally the referee's wrong doing. If a transcript or audio clip could be found of their exchange it would be extremely interesting for everyone.

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jog1986 June 15, 2014 11:13 pm

I don't think that is the TMO speaking, but the co-commentator. Notice how the Welsh commentator replies at one point saying 'that is what he will be asking'.

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Rugbydump June 16, 2014 1:50 pm

No sign of the TMO there - pretty sure that's the commentator

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Citing Commissioner June 16, 2014 3:02 pm

Ha, just listened again, yup think you're right. I feel like a right chump now, in my defence it was pretty much the only thing the co-commentator said during the match so I assumed it was the TMO. Woops.

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DrG June 16, 2014 4:00 pm

I agree with you that this is a non event and not red card worthy. Just to let you know the TMO was Davey Ardrey and he is from the US, so unless he's an expat, he'd probably have an American accent..

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Guest June 16, 2014 8:29 pm

That is not correct. Mike Blair as co-commentator was extremely vocal during the match.

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Rugbynut June 15, 2014 9:36 pm

Another game decided by ref instead of players. Disgraceful ref and tmo. They Should both be called to a hearing to explain that decision , and receive a 10 match ban !

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BiggJeff June 15, 2014 9:39 pm

Bad call Ref, sinclair's arm was against his body when Ruaridh Jackson put his head down to tackle, he put his head right on sinclair's elbow, Sinclair's arm did not move until "AFTER" contact so how could he have lead withthe elbow, his arm moved only to shake off his attempted tackler which is legal, The Ref really needs to review the tapes to see his error in this instance, and the video replay crew in the booth really screwed up on this one as well, when the ref asked if there was any reason they could see why it should not be a red card...... the introduction of video to assist ref's has madethe ref's lazy, they gotta get back to calling the game on what they see

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alasdairduncan3 June 15, 2014 9:44 pm

I agree with @Dolphin2010, he could be given a yellow for a pointless attempt at swinging his arm after the hit, but even that would be harsh. At least it only cost his team a few minutes with a man disadvantage. He will not be given any ban, you can be sure of that.

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DanKnapp June 16, 2014 6:02 am

"At least it only cost his team a few minutes with a man disadvantage."

Yep. An turned over the penalty that they'd be awarded in a kickable position.

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jockandy June 15, 2014 9:49 pm

Good call ref, well done.

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Big Dave June 15, 2014 9:57 pm

Shocking decision, simple as that. I've always praised the TMO's in rugby and argue it should be used more in other sports but the officials in my opinion are losing there confidence to make decisions during play and are relying more on TMO decisions and replays. Every year there are changes to the scrum laws so it speeds up play and safety of course but maybe it's time they look into how much the TMO is actually being used and restricting it so the referee has to make the call in play. On that I understand from previous comments that the TMO has waved away foul play and has been overruled maybe the screens shouldn't be playing the replays so the TMO decision is final.

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JR June 15, 2014 9:58 pm

That is an absolute joke of a red card the ref should ban himself. Idiot.

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Mort June 15, 2014 10:04 pm

Absolutely disgraceful decision. Scotland limped away with a win they didn't deserve. I sincerely hope this ref is sanctioned.

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jockandy June 15, 2014 10:17 pm

Ok maybe it wasn't a red but strictly speaking it was a penalty. Scotland have been on the wrong end of plenty ref decisions in the past e.g Hogg's incident v Wales in the 6 nations should have been just a penalty, Phil Godman v Wales in 2010 when Byrne took a dive. Scott Murray v Wales (hmm) in 2000 something and of course Nathan Hines bullsh1t red v Wales in 2000 something too. Didn't mean to pick on Wales, just the ones that come to mind ????

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jog1986 June 15, 2014 11:31 pm

Sorry, just find it impossible to let your comment go considering how selective your memory is.

While the Godman/Byrne incident is up for debate, the others you have mentioned either did not happen or were clear cut. Hogg jumped at Liam Williams and elbowed him in the face. Straight red. Scott Murray kicked out at Ian Gough in 2006. Whether he meant to kick him in the head or not is irrelevant. Straight red. Nathan Hines has never been sent off against Wales, and had not even played them as early as 2000.

As for this incident, I am torn. It looks like Sinclair attempts to shrug off Jackson who is in a really awful position. The slow motion just makes it look really bad.

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DrG June 16, 2014 4:02 pm

He probably means the time when Hines gave that diving little sh*t Byrne a backhander for holding onto him - and as such received a yellow for his troubles..

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Pipo June 16, 2014 2:39 am

"Hogg's incident V wales in the 6 nations should have been just a penalty" What game did you see? He jumped into him way after the kick was made and elbowed him in the face. Not only it was a red, but it was a very stupid red. If I see someone do that in my team I would be shouting at him in the changing room.

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joeythelemur June 17, 2014 7:31 pm

So you're saying it's OK to get this one totally wrong since Scotland has, in your opinion, "been on the wrong end of ref decisions in the past"?

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jockandy June 15, 2014 10:19 pm

Those question marks were meant to be a smiley face! :-)

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SK June 15, 2014 10:56 pm

Sorry but the voice you hear is actually Mike Blair, who is former sco Scrum Half and is commentating. At the end, ref asks...any reason why I should not award a red card and the response is in the negative. This confirms that two professional officials with the benefit of far more footage than any BT sports viewer have adjudged the offence to be a red card offence. The offence is indeed prescriptive in it's sanction and a yellow was not available. Your sensationalist comments are not helpful and if this happened in Under 19s (where I officiate), I would have no hesitation in applying a similar sanction.

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Jon June 16, 2014 12:12 am

Then you should get fired too.
You are a bad, bad ref if you see a red card for this.
What the hell was Sinclair supposed to do? Chop his arm off? The Scottish scrum half made a terrible tackle, with bad technique, got his head in the wrong place and collected an elbow for his trouble.
If this happened in the Six Nations or Rugby Championship, it would just be a god hit up.
What a joke.

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SK June 16, 2014 8:39 am

Its not the actual act. Its the suspended time that the arm is in contact. That's what makes it suspicious in favour of dangerous play. A 6 versus 10 would normally make contact and drop off quickly. That did not happen here.

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DanKnapp June 16, 2014 7:28 pm

I think you're confusing slow motion with real time. Is that you, Jonathan Pierce?

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Bunn June 16, 2014 8:04 pm

The refs have exactly the same footage as the viewers because the footage comes from the tv company, we see the same as the tv company because they have the cameras. Also Jackson's head was going to hit Sinclair's elbow whatever he did because Jackson put his head where is elbow was!

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Chris June 15, 2014 10:57 pm

You can't fend off a player with an elbow to the face though? It may not have been malicious but it's in contravention of Law 10.4 (a)! Red card seems harsh but the penalty reversal was enough to take the chance of the win away from Canada.

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Chris June 15, 2014 10:59 pm

PS I'm with SK, you can't hear the TMO at all? The only indication of what he's saying is the referee clearly getting a confirmation that the TMO agrees with his sanction.

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Gonzalo Olias June 15, 2014 11:03 pm

What’s our game going to become in?

If you must take care in each and every tackle, in each and every Charge, in every contact… How are we going to play?

It’s not a security matter, we are losing our soul in the way; what is this game about?

Let’s all play rugby tag, not even sevens, at the Olympics… and what about a tag Heineken cup?


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10stonenumber10 June 15, 2014 11:18 pm

Right. I'm done with this sport. Going back to Sunday League cricket instead, nobody gives a sh*te about dodgy umpiring decisions because we've all had 4 pints before the innings.

If anything, Ruaridh Jackson should have been given the red for such a pathetic attempt at a tackle. The great Colin McRae once said "If in doubt, flat out", if you might get trampled by a raging back row and can't escape/no close backup (come on, let's be real here), you're going to have to go at it hard, or you get hurt a lot worse.

He's a lot bigger than you mate, Glasgow kissing his elbow won't bring him down.

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ryangwyn15 June 15, 2014 11:34 pm

I hope that ref has a serious talking too i dont get how can refs be allowed to ruin an amazing sport!

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10stonenumber10 June 15, 2014 11:35 pm

Compare this to the Rene Ranger vs Slade smash.

Both brought their arm up to protect their chest/ribs/stomach from the incoming hit from a smaller player. Both bumped them off mahusively. The main exception here is the height difference.

THAT IS HOW YOU HIT WHEN YOU ARE THE BALL CARRIER. You cannot wrap up the tackler, that is just stupidity, so it is a shoulder charge. If Jackson was bigger and actually attacked the contact, it would have caught him in the chest.

Halfway reckless on both parts, at the most a penalty and a 'very stern talking to'

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Bazinator June 15, 2014 11:47 pm

It's called leading with your elbow. His elbow is not up nor leading his body. His shoulder is ahead of anything. I'd love to see replays on every single hit in any rugby game. This is a horrible call. Anyone ever watch Lomu play? He would fend every single player off by leading with his two arms in the air. For the people who disagree with this call you are watching and probably playing the wrong sport. He lifts his arm up after he made contact with the player. He did not have his arm in the air going into the player. Bad call overall and from what any TMO clip you get with audio the ref does overrule the TMO.

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Bazinator June 15, 2014 11:51 pm

I might actually start watching league.

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Jon June 16, 2014 12:09 am

I've been watching more of these second tier nations, Japan, Canada, USA etc and I've got to say, the refs just won't give them a chance. Every game is littered with penalties against the second tier countries. all the 50-50 calls go against them. It's like the refs have just decided that the second tier countries aren't worthy of victory or even just a fighting chance. They get treated appallingly by terrible refs who are going out of their way to hurt these teams.
How discouraging it must be for Canadian fans to be treated so unfairly. If this had been the other way round, there's no way in the world the penalty would have gone against Scotland.

This is one of the softest calls I've ever seen in my life, by a ref and TMO who should without a doubt immediately lose their jobs. Just disgraceful. It was such a good test match too, Canada had fought so hard and done so well. There was a great capacity crowd there for what should have been a famous Canadian victory. Instead one idiotic ref and an even more idiotic TMO have stolen the win from Canada, and destroyed a classic match with their incompetence. It's like these moron refs are trying to stop the game expanding into second tier countries by stealing victories from them, and treating them as second class.

Can you imagine for a second if Australia was playing NZ and Ma'a Nonu crashed the ball up like this, knocking down the Aussie fly-half. Does anyone think for a second it would be referred to the TMO, or result in a red card? Of course not. Because these stupid refs have one rule for the first tier countries, and another for the second tier.
The IRB should issue an apology.

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DrG June 16, 2014 11:16 pm

IRB should issue an apology to all of us, regardless of whether we're second tier or first tier fans. It's appalling that any of us could play or watch the game with officials having such a varying opinion and view on the laws.

I get it, one lets the game flow a little more than the other - I can live with that if it's evenly spread across both teams. But when a referee makes a decision like this, based on the footage which imo is NOT red card worthy, then it ruins rugby (and not just Canada's chances at a big win!)

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rocketryan June 17, 2014 5:44 am

While I think it more likely a bad call than a conspiracy against second tier nations, as a Canadian I was immediately reminded of last June's match in Toronto against Ireland. In a similar play, with what looks to be greater malicious intent, it certainly was interpreted very differently. Took me a while to find this clip. Check at the 0:55 mark for the good angle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4oegyRb0ms

View Video

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stroudos June 17, 2014 11:38 am

Now THAT is how you lead with your elbow.

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DanKnapp June 17, 2014 1:11 pm

A textbook example of what the laws were written to try to stop. Completely different to the example above. Good share, have a like.

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DrG June 17, 2014 1:26 pm

I'm so glad that many of us are like minded when it comes to the laws. There are certain things that they were designed to stop from happening and certain things that unfortunately get rolled into the same category when they shouldn't be.

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jog1986 June 18, 2014 5:02 pm

You have that one bang on. As stroudos says below, that is exactly what leading with the forearm/elbow is and is exactly what the law is designed for. Sinclairs was never a penalty, let along a red, in a month of Sundays.

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Damien June 16, 2014 12:20 am

He didn't lead with his elbow bud, it was tucked against his body, the Scottish player was just in a poor position and a lot shorter than Sinclair to begin with. That's rugby peoples...

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Joaco June 16, 2014 1:02 am

Guys, how long are going to accept this? This and the other recent questionable cards? I think there should be some fan-inflicted punishments for these kinds of betrayals by officials. Btw where is the IRB brainwashing camp, where they brainwash referees and TMOs ? Anyone knows ?

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finedisregard June 16, 2014 2:45 am

I'm with you. Refs used to be old players that wanted to help out and contribute to the game. Now refs are like cops with quotas trying to put their own stamp on a game.

The refs have become more of a part of the game than ever before and it sucks. Guys don't train so hard to have a ref decide a game. Be #31 not #1.

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DrG June 16, 2014 11:17 pm

What can us as fans possibly do... I suppose we could all sign a petition asking the IRB to remove their heads from their anuses - (or is it ani?)

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Rugby Canada June 16, 2014 1:09 am

The iRB has retracted the Red card issues to Sinclair. There will be a statement release shortly.

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10stonenumber10 June 16, 2014 1:26 am

Still doesn't undo the game changing decision.

He might not have a ban, but he didn't finish the tight game.

I'm sending my CV to the IRB with links to this site and relevant comments.

On a side note, did anybody tune into the Alternative Rugby Commentary for the England game? check it out, Jed Thian is a hero.

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Reality June 16, 2014 1:54 am

How poor must Canada be if they can't beat Scotland with only 14 men?

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Reality June 19, 2014 8:29 am

What the hell is this? I'm Reality! You're an impostor!

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Juggernauter June 16, 2014 3:41 am

This is crazy. TMO's must be ruled out from judging every thing that goes on the pitch and only be allowed to help the ref with the grounding of the ball on scoring situations. This is insane. Geez I simply cannot believe it. What are the IRB doing to my beloved game!!!

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guest June 16, 2014 4:49 am

Shocking. How does this play differ than the knock Taylor Paris took from the Scotland #13. This is a tough game played by tough men. If you do not get yourself in the appropriate tackling position against men of this size, speed and strength then injuries will happen. Technique is everything at this level.

What steps will the IRB take against this official? Scotland infringed at the breakdown all game long. Not sure why the Tier 2 countries continue to get the shaft.

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CEO Front Row Union June 16, 2014 4:56 am

If he lead with his elbow ... then my reply leads with my middle finger .!..

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Mark June 16, 2014 5:45 am

It is made way worse Jackson making an absolute mess of the tackle, but I think the penalty is justified and sit somewhere between a yellow and a red. Sinclair had time to get a hand up to fend, or turn his body to brace for impact and driving forward with his legs. He clearly leads with his elbow, as you can see from the motion after he makes contact with the head. It's his elbow that is driving upwards.
It is harsh though as had Jackson actually got it the right position for the tackle either going low or wrapping high, play would have continued without anything happening.

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stroudos June 16, 2014 6:39 am

Agree with the commentator and majority on here. Incorrect decision.

I would suggest though that the Canada captain needs to learn to STFU when the ref is talking to him and his players.

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brigandaca June 16, 2014 7:57 am

I'm Scottish and this call was garrbage. It was nothing other than a good run from Sinclair and poor technique by Jackson - don't penalise the ball carrier for a poor defensive play.

Canada deserved to win - no doubt.

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ConnachtMan June 16, 2014 10:05 am

As a refereee the key around the decision should always be INTENT & MATERIAL IMPACT.

Intent: Did the Canadian player intentionally lead/ swing his elbow, in contact ? No, you can clearly see the 'elbow' is no more than an awkward brushoff of the scottish tackler.

Material impact: The Scottish player was already steamrolled by his own poor tackling technique. The 'elbow' did nothing to impact the situation. As a ref I would have said play on.

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DrG June 16, 2014 10:17 am

Defining moments for me are when the Canadian player catches the ball, around 0:42 (all in slow motion, he takes the ball low on the outside of his right knee, so his body is low, his arms are low and he currently has the ball in both hands -

0:43 - so 1 second after catching the ball in slow motion (so would we be talking half a second real time?) he is transferring the ball over to the other hand to keep it away from contact. Still at 0:43 we see a Scot make contact with a very spongy part of the arm - the hard pointy part of the elbow is pointing down so that leaves the area where your forearm muscles meet your upper arm muscles (hence the spongy part comment)...

All in all, it's unfortunate, not great technique by the Scottish player and has now (imo) set a precedent as there has been no further ruling, so I look forward to watching 7's next week (when 7 player on each team is all that is left on the pitch!)

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Guy June 16, 2014 11:09 am

I guess I am one of the few, if not the only one here to think he IS leading with the elbow. Just before impact he pushes his elbow away from his body into the head of the tackler. With such force that the movement of his elbow carries on way after the contact moment.

Not sure if red is the correct decision (not completely at home in the lawboob tbh) but I can see where the TMO and ref are coming from.

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Pipo June 17, 2014 1:00 am

Come on, Guy. Just look at the picture at the top of this article, right at the moment of impact. Take a look, I'll wait.

Now, is the elbow LEADING? Is the elbow in front of the ball carrier? Is the elbow in front of his shoulder? Is the elbow, the pointy part, that is the elbow, even directly hitting the Scottish player's face? Just look at the picture on top... No is the answer to all these questions.

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Guy June 17, 2014 6:08 am

Excuse me? One picture does not say anything about the movement of the elbow. That's like saying two cars did NOT crash because in a picture 1/10 before the crash the cars are stil 2 meters apart.

When I look at the video I see an elbow moving towards the head moments before impact and moving 'through' the head with force after it.

I'm not saying I'm an expert (I'm definitely not) and I am not saying this kind of thing doesn't happen all the time. I'm just saying I can see how they came to the conclusion it was an offence. In hindsigth of course, I have to be honest: don't know if I would have made the same decision if I had to make the initial decision myself.

But hey, I'm not a referee. Fortunately!

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Pipo June 17, 2014 7:37 am

I'm not an expert either. But the picture is not 1/10 before the crash, the picture is right at the moment of impact. Again, scroll up and take a look.

I have been watching the video several times and yes the elbow does go up and forward AFTER impact, since I'm not an expert I don't know if this is still technically "leading", but it sure as hell is not in plain English. To me, his whole arm goes forward after contact because that's what happens when you flatten a smaller guy who sadly tried tackling you with his face. He brushes him off, he does not lead with the elbow.

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Pipo June 17, 2014 7:41 am

oh, and btw, I have refereed a few times. I don't like it and I suck at it : )

since I've tried it I know it's easy to make mistakes. All I would be happy with is the IRB and the ref coming out and saying the red was wrong and it is erased from records. Like when last year Bismarck du Plessis got a first yellow card just for tackling Dan Carter hard and legally.

Actually, someone here posted that the IRB did just that. Would be nice if someone had link.

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James June 16, 2014 11:13 am

What a nonsense call. And a good few nonsense comments on here defending the decision. There's one person who should have been punished in this incident, and he was - the tackler. His technique was all wrong and got injured as a result. We see fending off (not leading with elbow) like this constantly, at every level. It's testament that the IRB have taken no further action on the player. The TMO has probably never played the game and should never TMO again until correctly educated.

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Joaco June 16, 2014 11:31 am

ANyone that has intel on the IRB brainwashing camp is invited to post it here. I really like to gain more information about that place. I am sure it's there somewhere. Surely it's no coincidence all these reds cards and dodgy TMO decicions are surfacing at the same time? What are they up to?

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DanKnapp June 16, 2014 7:30 pm

It's going to be the subject of Dan Brown's next novel. Can't wait!

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Drewbc June 16, 2014 1:00 pm

At 1:46 clearly shows him swinging his whole arm leading with his elbow. The elbow is the first thing that makes contact. It is a penalty but a red was harsh. It looked a lot worse because of the poor tackle.

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Bunn June 16, 2014 8:07 pm

How was he not supposed to make contact first with his elbow?

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Eddie-g June 16, 2014 1:08 pm

Dreadful on so many levels.

I guess what's worst about it is that it was made after reviewing the video evidence. It's one thing to get a decision wrong when you've had one look at an incident; it's another thing to not refer something to the TMO; it's a whole new level of fail to refer something for review and still get it wrong.

One other thing very obviously in Sinclair's favour I think is that he had just received a pass. His right arm was where it was because that's where he needed it to be to catch the ball. The onus in this situation has to be at least as much on the tackler to be getting himself into a good position.

But more than anything, if that technique = leading with the elbow, then this is an offence which happens at least a dozen times every game. Heck, Sinclair here, getting the ball in his left arm and leaning into the tackle with his right shoulder, that's pretty much textbook contact skill.

It won't change the result, but the very least the IRB can do is rescind the red and apologise.

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Bekbefok June 16, 2014 1:39 pm

Officials are turning rugby into a game of pussies

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DanKnapp June 17, 2014 1:14 pm

You're confusing that with a game for pussies. A game of pussies is a completely different bag, my friend. Although I'd be pretty happy to watch it on the internet, I probably wouldn't comment underneath the videos with my real name.

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Rugbydump June 18, 2014 9:03 am

Might have to chime in here with another T-Shirt plug: Rugby - It's not For Pussies.

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Hilltime June 16, 2014 1:46 pm

The tackler got his head in the wrong place. He should tackle properly or he will get hurt. And if dropping your shoulder is illegal the game is finished! The elbow did not hit him first.
The ref and TMO got it wrong.

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Ireland West June 16, 2014 2:45 pm

To try & deal with each separate issue here ;
Firstly, imho it was 'leading with the elbow' and therefore dangerous play.
(The effect of tackle is irrelevant .The tackler's poor position aggravated the effect of the collision. The tackler should be banned from rugby until he learns to tackle correctly)
Even if the Ref had decided on a yellow card as sanction, the penalty against Scotland would have been reversed and any scoring opportunity afforded Canada from that position would have been lost.
The Ball Carrier's (and his Captain's) reaction to his sending-off shows his ignorance of the Laws & constitutes an increasingly dangerous approach to the 'collision' game.
This is Rugby, not Death Race 2000, and the safety of the players is paramount.
We all love (too much) to see the big hits happen, and then endlessly replayed so we can compare our own game experience.
Reality Check ; This is dangerous & someone will get seriously hurt.
The one argument offered by the Canadian Captain was that this incident was one of many in the game & yet the only one penalised. He's correct about that - the practice of 'leading with the elbow' is becoming widespread, even at junior level.

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larry June 16, 2014 9:13 pm

Well, it's rugby too, not American football. In American football, giving up yardage means the opponent might get a" first down." In rugby, it isn't that important to give up ground to a runner. Just stopping a runner is more important, and how it is done is a concern if there's more and more attempts to "crash" tackle a runner, especially if the tackler is much smaller. Taking away something I read, in "Bill Beaumont's Rugby Masterpieces," Barry John used to tackle bigger players, like Colin Meads, by letting them get by and jumping up on their backs. After a few yards of running, even Colin Meads would fall down after carrying 14 1/2 stones of man on his back. Regarding big hits, I don't think twenty or thirty years ago big hits were even on anyone's mind in the world of rugby. Great backline moves or forward rushes were what got rugby fans and players turned on.

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Jon June 17, 2014 12:03 am

Jesus Christ, you realise that players get hit with elbows in almost every tackle and hit up?
That the Scottish player basically put his head into the elbow?
That if this is a penalty, half of all hit ups are penalties?
That even the Scottish don't think this should have been a penalty?

This isn't soccer. YES, people get hurt. It's rugby. People have always and will always get hurt. Go play tiddlywinks.

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Ireland West June 18, 2014 6:02 pm

Jon, do people getting hurt add to your enjoyment of the game ?

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Jon June 18, 2014 11:22 pm

What has that got to do with anything?
Do I enjoy seeing people hurt? No.
Do I enjoy seeing a big hit, absolutely. That's one of the goals of the game.
I compete in muay thai and I play rugby. I get hurt all the time doing both. It doesn't bother me, I accept it as part of the sports I enjoy.
So do these guys. They are tough guys. They know they could get hurt at any time. They accept it.

Do you play rugby? Are you in some league where no one ever gets hurt? Where there's never a big hit, no one ever gets knocked out?

Honestly, if you want a sport without these kind of injuries, go watch the football world cup.

It's a full contact sport, one of the toughest sports you can play. Aside from combat sports like boxing or MMA, there aren't really any tougher sports to compete in. It involves smashing your body into other people at high speed. At the level these guys play they are 100% setting out to bash each other. They use euphemisms like "winning the contact" or "physicality", but what they mean is smashing the blokes on the other team, hurting them, driving them backwards, putting them on their arses.

That's rugby. It sounds like it might not be the sport for you.

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10stonenumber10 June 16, 2014 4:27 pm

I re-iterate, this sort of thing happens many many times a game, often not deliberately. If you run shoulder first at a door, you throw your upper arm/shoulder into it. If you don't and only impact with the point of your shoulder, you are far more likely to dislocate it/crack a collarbone.

He did not spear the elbow into the contact point first, but the way his arm bent, that was the area of contact for him to push himself off from, bouncing the player.

Lomu does the exact same action here, except with his ball carrying arm. Nobody complained there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMZrPjW5cs

Much like a contentious tip tackle situation, a solid hit that slightly blurs the margin is obviously different a deliberate rotate and drop, the reaction of both teams says a lot more in the situation.

How many coaches talk about a high knee lift and dropped shoulders when going into contact? They are coached to become a whirling blur of knees and elbows. Chabal was a great exponent of it, and he never got penalised for running over people, or breaking Ali Williams jaw in that accidental head clash. It isn't an allusion to former playing days or overt-machismo hype, it is fact.

This will do NOTHING for the reputation of the sport in Canada. A country where the main sport is 100kg giants sliding around on ice armed with a stick and a sword under each foot, the talent pool would be enormous. Rugby players are tough, but hockey is an entire different level of madness.

Agreed, the sport is very dangerous nowadays, but that has ALWAYS been part of ANY contact sport. These lads get paid enough, they know that every time they step on the field they might wake up in a hospital with their career ended. Accidents happen, slightly clumsy on both players behalf, but again with the coaching, you are taught to give the defender no time to set. He wasn't prepared for contact, Jebb wasn't in the best position to take the hit.

An accident happened.

Move on.

View Video

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DrG June 16, 2014 11:22 pm

Of course there was no card given against Lomu, he's olaying for the All Blacks, they never get shown any cards...

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larry June 16, 2014 8:58 pm

Considering all the dirty play that used to go on in internationals, usually off the ball, this penalty/red card is very harsh. I imagine if the tackler hadn't been injured, there might not have been a reversal of whatever the original penalty was. So his being injured caught the eye of the ref. For Sinclair, he might think about how he goes into a tackle the next time. Use the fend off with an open hand, or keep the elbow into one's side and don't give a ref the idea the arm is swinging in any way.
Regarding Canadian and American international players, I know some are playing overseas on clubs, but are they really getting paid very much, compared to international players in tier one nations? Can someone come up with some monetary figures? I only mention this because of what was posted right above mine.
Yes, the sport can be dangerous. But I don't know if players go out on the pitch, whether playing in the lowest divisions on amateur clubs in America or Canada, or on a tier one national side, thinking they might wind up in a hospital. The irony in the modern game is that it looks as if it is more dangerous, especially with professional players being somewhat bigger and having time to train every day except the day of a match.
Before professionalism the danger in the game was really the shenanigans that went on off the ball, for instance the punches thrown after a late tackle with the ball away, or in a set scrum while being set, though there really weren't that many collapses. As laws changed to make the game "safer," and with power given to touch judges to point out infractions, it seems not to be getting safer that it was before. But chances are no one is going to kick an opponent on the ground with the ball away.
Players running into contact more often instead of around contact, via swerves or sidesteps, or passing off the ball before contact, is just how the game has developed over the last decade and a half. Is the game any more dangerous? NO!

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dan June 17, 2014 8:54 am

The pass thrown to Sinclair was low which automatically lowered his body position when he stooped to catch the ball, his elbow stayed against his side until with the force of the collision his forearm raised a bit from his side, certainly no malicious intent, just a good clean hard low body positioned "bump off" not a penalty offense by any stretch of the imagination!!

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The Noblest Rogue June 17, 2014 1:37 pm

Poor call by the ref. Not malicious by Sinclair at all as wasn't leading with the elbow or forearm.

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Adrian Saunders June 18, 2014 12:27 pm

As one of the refereeing fraternity, I support the decision. It's about time someone did something about the 'forearm chop' hand-off. This has been dangerous for many years. There is only one form of hand-off which is legal- with the hand.

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DanKnapp June 18, 2014 3:25 pm

I agree entirely Adrian. Could you point us to a different video which actually involves a forearm chop, because this isn't one of them.

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jog1986 June 18, 2014 5:07 pm

I agree with you Adrian, the only hand-off which is legal is with an open hand. However, this has no bearing on this situation.

As one of the refereeing fraternity, I do not agree with the outcome against Sinclair. This was not a 'forearm chop' hand-off, whatever one of those may be. Instead, it was Jackson tackling poorly, getting his head in the wrong place, and Sinclair brushing him off. Not leading with the elbow as claimed by the ref, and presumably the TMO.

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DrG June 18, 2014 11:11 pm

Next we'll see someone getting a red card because a 'tackling' player headbutted his hip...

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DrG June 18, 2014 11:16 pm

Well we've already seen a tackler get a red card for receiving an arse to the face so surely it can't be too long before we see it the other way around...


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A4away June 28, 2014 10:34 pm

The use of the video referee is going way and beyond the original intention. Any replay at extra slomo is going to accentuate the reality. There are a few refs that make on the spot decisions after a brief review of the replay. This particular red-card is pathetic to say the least and the ref needs to spend a few months officiating some schoolboy rugby.
Let's get back to RUGBY!!

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