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Joe Marler could be in trouble again after appearing to kick an opponent in the head

My memories were of younger Marler were of a great lad who didn't take himself too seriously, gave it his all and played the game in a great spirit. Question-mark was always if he was a good enough scrummager (still a question mark perhaps?)

I can't recall, prior to this season, if he had past history of cynical play. This act of petulance seems to me a little out of character, even if you have a look at the other stuff he's gotten into trouble for, it's nothing like this. The "fore-arm smash" he was cited for was a nothingburger, and banter-gate, especially after World Rugby weighed in, was a circus which must have had an effect on him.

But he needs to get his head straight, he's too good a player to damage his career with moments of foolishness like this.

6 Days, 6 Hours ago

Owen Farrell yellow carded for knocking out Dan Robson with sickening clash

I think Farrell's a little unlucky here. It is a nasty collision, but at full speed it was one of those untidy plays where both players' body positions are bad and the impact is unfortunate as a result. Farrell, imo, sees he has a good chance of making a big tackle behind the gain-line, and I can't really pinpoint a moment where he either should have pulled out of the tackle or gotten into a better position.

I see though he has been cited, presumably because the suits are being asked to consider if this was a red card offence, but that would seem to be extremely harsh. It was a dangerous tackle, but neither intentional nor reckless, not by any standard that you can easily apply to rugby.

6 Days, 9 Hours ago

Joe Marler could be in trouble again after appearing to kick an opponent in the head

Total muppet behaviour.

I mean, there's not a whole lot in this, but it is the thin end of the wedge in terms of players kicking each other - and given he aimed his flick at another bloke's head, he can't have any complaints when he gets banned.

Really disappointing too, I enjoyed watching Marler as he rose through the ranks at Quins and became a top quality player, but he's letting himself down badly. And this is just such a stupid way to get yourself in trouble.

6 Days, 10 Hours ago

Joe Marler could be in trouble again after appearing to kick an opponent in the head

She is.

Wait, what? Ignore that last comment.

6 Days, 10 Hours ago

Willie le Roux survives horror landing as Jason Emery sees red

Hi Dr! Happy Friday! I think law-makers have come down where they have because they've decided there's only one correct answer to the question you posed...

""you can't just fixate on the ball and charge"... why not?" Because it is highly probable that there will be a defender in the air challenging for the ball.

Now, clearly, the other way of removing danger from these situations would be to rule that defenders can't jump for the ball. But that seems absurd to me, at odds with the laws of physics, and basically unrefereeable in practice (how can you tell if someone has never left the ground?).

I do think there's a debate to be had over the automaticity of a red card, but I don't think the emphasis of the rule is wrong. If you're chasing, it's your responsibility to know if a defender is in the vicinity. That has to be right. It's not the defenders' responsibility to stay on the ground just because some other guys might be running into the same area.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Willie le Roux survives horror landing as Jason Emery sees red

One last thing worth a mention - Willie le Roux tweeted Emery after the game...

@JasonEmery13 bro all part of the game we love all the best to you and the team for the rest of the tournament ????????— Willie le roux (@wjjleroux) April 22, 2016

https://twitter.com/wjjleroux/status/723482569761640448

A nasty incident, but kudos to all players on both sides for how they reacted. At the time, when the red was shown, and after the game. Hats off to them.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Willie le Roux survives horror landing as Jason Emery sees red

On point 3, the law doesn't give refs discretion. A defender recklessly or intentionally taking out a defender in the air is an automatic red card offence. I think there's an argument for giving the refs discretion to hand out yellow or red, but that's not what the law allows today.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Willie le Roux survives horror landing as Jason Emery sees red

Obviously very good news is that Willie le Roux is ok.

The key talking point, however, has to be that the TMO here did not know the rules. The ref got the decision right, but only after over-ruling the TMO that the intent of Emery was irrelevant.

Kind of extraordinary... I mean, these incidents have been in the headlines for a while, and pretty much everyone now knows that the chasing players are responsible for ensuring they don't take out a defender in the air. Recklessly or intentionally, doesn't matter, it's a red card offence. That's the law today - and given these are exactly the types of incidents that are referred to the TMOs, they really should know what the law is.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Silvère Tian banned for MORE THAN A YEAR after Referee abuse

Honest, guvnor, I was only making reference to the fact the French suits were ruling on an incident in French club rugby. Although if they could adjudicate on, say English club rugby, that would be fun...

1 Week, 3 Days ago

Fergus McFadden suspended for three weeks for this dangerous high tackle

Yup, deserved. The only possible mitigation in these situations is if the ball-carrier ducks into the tackle, but that wasn't the case here.

1 Week, 3 Days ago