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I experienced a near identical occurrence as Nick Viljoen when playing a game last season. I had legitimately cleared a prop out of a ruck situation but he took issue with this and his first thought was to rip my scrum-cap off presumably to show what a hard lad he was, but instead shoved his fat fingers in and around my eye before he succeeded in pulling it off.
Although he mumbled an ungracious apology at the end of the game (made easier by the fact it went unpunished) I was left feeling that as soon as players start poking their hands in and around the face / head - which they have no business doing in any circumstances - then referees need to come down hard. You wouldn't try and rip a player's gum shield out or pull a knee support off, so why is it acceptable to start interfering with his face in an attempt to get a scrum cap off?
I do think that whilst some player behaviour is heat of the moment stuff, a significant percentage can be attributed to their club 'culture' - in my own case the opposition's MO was never to miss the chance of a cheap-shot and his actions were evidence.
You only have to see the story of Clarence Harding in 2010 to see how serious incidents such as this can be.
4 Months, 3 Days ago
Rugby players, like sportsmen and women whatever their activity, have a responsibility to uphold the standards of the game for themselves, their teams, the integrity of the sport and as a benchmark to children.
Yes it was a good hit, not technically perfect by any means, but effective. The face-rub was petty but spiteful and completely needless.
So what example does this set? Kids - once you've done completed the tackle and the whistle has gone / flag has been raised, make sure you get a cheap shot in for good measure - after all that's how the pros do it.
All this 'heat of moment' stuff is an excuse not a reason. People do react sometimes to provocation, but there was none of that here Pietersen knew full well what he was doing.
I agree that since it went unpunished on the pitch the IRB should make an example of him and give him a one match ban. The community game can't throw its hands up when children start behaving like playground bullies if the governing body turns a blind eye to it.
4 Months, 4 Weeks ago
1. Folau's debut performance;
2. Corbisiero dominating Alexander in the Third Test causing him to be withdrawn after his yellow card;
3. George North apologising after behaving like a footballer wagging his finger at Genia when scoring in the First Test. He should never have done it but at least he had the humility to realise (with some guidance from Andy Irvine) how petulant acts like that are contrary to what rugby stands for, not least being gracious in victory as well as defeat (+1 for Ruggernut's comment re Horwill's speech).
9 Months, 1 Week ago
Scott Johnson's quote t-shirt all the way. Genius.
11 Months, 2 Weeks ago