Thursday, December 29, 2016
Bristol finally picked up their first Aviva Premiership win of the season, beating relegation rivals Worcester 28-20, but had to do so with 14-men after Tusi Pisi was sent off.
While chasing an up-and-under from Billy Searle, Pisi went to challenge Worcester's Jamie Shillcock for the ball. Pisi was out-jumped in the contest and carelessly took out Shillcock in the air, leaving the fly-half to land heavily on his back.
Referee Wayne Barnes acknowledged that while there was no intent from Pisi, who was clearly aiming to catch the ball, the recklessness of the challenge and the fact Shillcock landed dangerously meant it was worthy of a straight red card.
To many, this latest "letter of the law" decision is testament of World Rugby further sanitising the sport. But it must be remembered that the governing body is taking player welfare much more seriously, and will sanction incidents such as this one according to the written law.
The "outcome based" decision will no doubt continue to frustrate rugby fans across the world when no clear intent is demonstrated. Whether the rule goes too far is a debate likely to be had between the unions and World Rugby.
What do you think of the incident and the "outcome based decisions"?
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