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I've never been a big fan of using illegal thuggery as a method for getting round rule breaking.
I do not like seeing players slow the ball down, as Dan Cole was doing, but I don't like to see actions on the pitch that are solely designed to injure.
As a point of comparison have a look at 1:20 in the match itself. Jaime Heaslip goes onto the wrong side of a ruck and completely cuts the ball off. His knee is wedging the ball away from Ben Youngs. Now if Tom Wood charges forward and stamps down on the Irish captain's knee, would everyone say that is acceptable?
I would call for Wood to be banned and be disappointed in him for such hot headed and vicious actions.
Rugby is a physical sport and that should not change. But tackling, physicality and enforcing do not have to involve underhanded attacks or strikes that an opponent cannot defend against (such as the Clarke incident mentioned earlier).
1 Year, 8 Months ago