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Monday, August 11, 2014

Griquas centre Jonathan Francke cited after awkward tackle and sending off

Griquas centre Jonathan Francke has been cited for his dangerous tackle during the 31-24 loss to the Sharks on the opening weekend of the Currie Cup. Franke was eventually red carded, in what was an awkward few minutes for referee Craig Joubert.

The Sharks got their campaign off to a solid start despite a courageous effort from the home side in Kimberly, who had to play 73 minutes with just 14 men.

SP Marais counter-attacked before Francke, in combination with fullback Nico Scheepers, lifted and twisted Marais into the turf in what resulted in an ugly spear, or tip-tackle.

Refere Joubert was left with little choice, although it did take a while before he found the correct player, with wing Rocco Jansen being given his marching orders before sanity prevailed and Francke came forward. To their credit, Griquas hung in and scored late in the game.

"We had a huge setback with Jonathan being red-carded," said coach Hawies Fourie.

"It put us on the back foot, especially in the first half. We had a talk at half-time and I told the players just to remain calm and we will get back in the game."

The Griquas outside centre has since been cited under law 10 .4 (j) for 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.

In all happened very quickly and Francke won't be too pleased with Scheepers' role in tipping Marais. It's difficult to gauge just how much force was exerted by each player, but because of his position and the way he appeared to lift Marais' leg, Francke played no further part.

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:56 pm | View Comments (14)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 14 comments

10stonenumber10 August 11, 2014 5:49 pm

6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

13 was going to pick and drive him laterally as the momentum carried through the hit (take the brunt on the shoulder, unbalance the defender, and roll with the tackle), but the 15 got involved and wrenched the guy around the shoulders.

If it was just 13 hitting, that would have constituted a yellow, but due to the way the guy landed with 15's influence, we saw what we saw.

There is a duty of care required from defenders in 2 on 1 tackles, but as it was said in the clip, the sheer speed of the hit made it much more difficult. Maybe 2 yellows would have sufficed rather than 73 minutes a man down

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finedisregard August 11, 2014 7:16 pm

How about this: don't go into contact with two defenders at a high body angle.

Just because a guy lands awkwardly it doesn't mean the ref has to ruin the game.

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DrG August 11, 2014 8:08 pm

Bit of an appalling statement that don't you think?

'Doesn't mean the ref has to ruin the game'...

At the end of the day as 10stone10 said, 'we saw what we saw' did the referee, to blame the referee for a decision that was probably harsh but ultimately correct is a bit weak.

I dare say that because Francke was cited, the citing commissioner also felt a red card was the correct decision.

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DrG August 11, 2014 8:14 pm

I'm all for a red here, I know it's harsh because of the intent; or lack of, but as 10stone10 said 'we saw what we saw' ... there is no alternative image here, 13 was the primary tackler and Marais landed on his head(ish)..

I think it's an incredibly difficult situation for any player or referee to be in. The player does not want a card, especially with 73 minutes left to go and I doubt any referee wants to pull out a RED card that early on - especially when it is probably fairly clear that it was less than intentional.

I'm not a fan of Joubert, but points to him for having the balls to make that call, the cards are there for a reason, the time on the clock or the stakes of the game are not supposed to be taken into consideration.

Some people would have it that red's are never shown:
"it's a friendly game like the baa baas with nothing at stake, there should never be a card shown there"
"It's an important deciding game, there should never be a card"
"It's too early in the game to show a red card"
"It's too late in the game, might as well let them all get on with it"
"The referee has already red carded one player from that team, why does he need to card another?"

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finedisregard August 11, 2014 10:16 pm

I am one of those people that believe that red cards should almost never be shown. In 25 years of rugby on three continents playing, coaching, and reffing I have seen maybe 6 or 8 crazy incidents when the player proved he didn't deserve the privilege of competing in a rugby match.

Historically rugby made it about 180 years without them and the game is much worse off for it. If someone did something outrageous in the past. they would be sent off, but it was hardly ever for a tackle and quite rare. Player ejections in any sport should be rare, not commonplace and that is the bottom line.

As my coach once told me "They can only dump you if you let them". Run low and nobody gets dumped. Try it.

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DrG August 12, 2014 1:15 am

This wasn't a dump tackle though was it...

I get you, I understand where you're coming from. I enjoyed the ability to use my boots on someone killing the ball only a handful of years ago. But this incident and the punishment/outcome, is hardly a new phenomenon nowadays.. It's been done and done again and more often than not, the result is a red card. That is exactly what the governing bodies are after.

Of course, I could play the dramatic "he could have broken his neck" card, but we all know could/would/should etc are pointless. But that is what the governing bodies are looking at - giants vs giants. You mention lack of cards over the years, but really 25 years of rugby takes you right into the amateur stage when the game was; for the most part, entirely different. Look at the average 2nd row, he was built like a teenage basketball player, now they're built rather more like the Hulk... So again, I suppose the powers that be are looking at statistics of injuries - which I don't doubt look worse now than in the past - though I'd be inclined to put that down to better record keeping than anything else...

As for the last line, as I said previously, this was a spear not a dump, so if you apply that to the quote you get: "They can only spear you if you let them"....which is surely a bit like coming off the field with a broken nose and a black eye and being told "they can only punch you if you let them"... Running low is brilliant, but again progression of the game requires players to break away from the old school technique of 'head down and charge for the line'... Marais did look a bit indecisive here, not quite looking for the offload, unable to find a gap to run through and not committed to charging through any potential tackle, but the onus is still on the tackler and forced ostrich impressions are never really a good thing...

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finedisregard August 12, 2014 5:22 am

My point is that governing bodies IRB have fundamentally changed the game for the worse with rampant player ejections and suspensions. Actually a lot of other things too. The current substitution rule is another example of the PTB fundamentally changing the nature of the sport. In just a few years we went from zero subs to what is it now 7?

I'm not trying to be macho but if you run into contact standing straight up, you shouldn't expect the tackler to take it easy on you.

I honestly do not know the difference between a spear, dump, or tip tackle.

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DrG August 12, 2014 9:17 am

You'll have to be more specific... a 'few' is; I believe, traditionally three.. however we often use it to mean an amount - now I know time flies but I remember there being more than 0 subs in 2004 which was 10 years ago... So you'll have to clarify that. Subs, are also not a bad thing in my opinion...

I'm not suggesting the tackler takes it easy on anyone, but the tackler has to have control.

Spear tackle: This tackle, or another example

Dump tackle -

Tip tackle - some faggy excuse for watering down the game -

View Videos

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10stonenumber10 August 12, 2014 11:30 am

There is a story of the Lions down in South Africa, many many many years ago. They ran out of props, so the winger who had never played in the forwards before stepped up, and played the rest of the tour as loose head. Now the positions have become so specialised, you need the subs. Adding an 8th to the bench meant a whole replacement front row, less uncontested scrums (and struggling teams opting for uncontested at injury), and more even games all round. 50 years ago, the average man could play more or less any position and hold their own, but with the advent of supplements, weight sessions etc., physique became more important than grit and determination.

Health and Safety too. Again, on a Lions tour, they had a player play 60 minutes with a broken arm. "They don't make em like they used to..." and all that rose tinted gas.

Imagine the mess Union would be in if 20st forwards started adopting the grapple, chicken-wing and rolling-pin tackles too...

At the end of the day, the ref is trying to create order out of violent chaos. There is so much more to Boxing than 2 guys just punching each other in the face repeatedly until one falls over. The contact situation in Rugby is no different.

It is part and parcel of the game

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finedisregard August 12, 2014 4:14 pm

DrG thanks for taking the time to post those links.

They started letting subs in for injury in the late 90's. 10Stone is right, before then players stayed on the field hurt. Then they allowed tactical subs at halftime only. Now they are proposing rolling subs.

One of the reasons that elite rugby players are so much heavier than their counterparts from 20 years ago is that players don't have to play for 80 minutes. If rolling subs are allowed and players could be brought in for 10 minutes, take a rest, then come back and endurance isn't a concern won't we see American football style bodies? It changes everything.

I'm only 37 years old but the changes I've seen in the game have been incredible and fundamental, mostly due to creating a good product for television audiences. The law book is three times as thick. As a player I didn't have a problem with the laws from my rookie year. Oh well, I'm thankful I got to play when I did! It was cool being part of a sport that wasn't totally about money and tv.

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10stonenumber10 August 12, 2014 6:10 pm

That is the problem with rugby nowadays. Throughout age grades and into the full size game, coaches always told me I was too small. And they were right. Think Messi with boxer's eyebrows. I was 9stonenumber9 when i first turned out in men's rugby, I had to spend a year solid squatting silly numbers in the gym to build up a bit of armour. It doesn't hurt getting tackled, it hurts when they fall on you. Before that, I was spraining wrists, knees, ankles and elbows left right and centre. That's why I called it a day with XVs and stuck to 7s. I'm not getting paid to be a physical wreck before 40, there has to be a modicum of self preservation, even if it does cost a pint in the Kangaroo Court.

Unless a player lands directly on their neck, in the professional game they are pretty hard to hurt (Abendanon especially). I'm not saying they should go around throwing each other like sacks of spuds, but take Carter for instance, Du Plessis didn't break him, hitting the floor did.

The rules have become almost like the Martial Arts. Striking from 'outside the form' is penalised and discouraged in competition, but even with the 'limitations', it is still exciting.

I'm tempted to draft a letter to BT sports, Craig Doyle hasn't got a clue what he is on about, and I reckon Bayf's would support our combined opinions. Fanzone featuring DrG, finedisregard and 10stone. Sounds a bit like a hip-hop mixtape though!

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Steve August 12, 2014 7:56 pm

Put simply - we have to reduce the risk of serious neck injury to players. It is all to easy to cause damage in this sort of tackle as shown here
This happened last year and the bloke is never going to walk again.
This doesn't make the game any softer. Much more spectacular watching someone cut someone else in half (that takes strength and skill) than watching them lift and drop them (that's easy - especially if they are off balance or there are two of you which is usually the case in these sorts of tackles.

View Video

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DR93 August 16, 2014 8:25 pm

I find it rather cowardly and think the player is a bit of a dick for just standing their letting his teammate almost get wrongly sent off. He should of stepped forward and let the ref know it was him.
Credit to his teammate aswell for just asking the ref to check the video again instead of just calling out the no 13.

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DrG August 17, 2014 12:08 am

I kinda thought the same thing... Imagine being sent off and then your guilty mate afterwards saying "haha, that was lucky, he almost caught me!"

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