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France's Caroline Boujard cited after reckless mid-air tackle

I agree with Guy - there's no way you can blame this on the jumper. She's doing what she's been coached to do for her entire rugby-playing life. The only way that the approaching French player could be surprised by the jump would be if she had been living under a rock for the past 40 years and only just crawled out in time to go onto the pitch...everyone (wingers especially) know that people typically jump for kicks that are landing anywhere near everybody else. The French winger should have been expecting at least the possibility of the English player jumping; instead, she's either charged in recklessly or deliberately targeted a player in the air (I choose to believe the first option).

I also agree that the suggestion that the English player be penalized for jumping into a tackle to be preposterous, both for the reason Guy mentions (not in possession of the ball and therefore not eligible to be tackled) but also because no-one has ever been penalized for such an act even though jumping for the ball takes places several times in every game at pretty much every level of the sport.

No matter how you slice it, this type of challenge was penalty (and likely card-worthy) well before the recent directives from World Rugby.

1 Week, 4 Days ago

Francois Steyn red carded for attempting to take Johnny Sexton's head off

If you're putting your shoulder into someone's chest, and your head hits their head, then you're in a really awkward position and I'd love to know how you ever thought you'd make a tackle like that. I'd also love to know how you thought you would be able to wrap the guy you're tackling (unless you have arms like Matfield).

I think the slippery slope in terms of high tackles also applies to wrapping - time was, you had to remember three things when making a tackle: spine in line, cheek to 'cheek', and bands of steel. Slowly over the years it's become "get all up in his grill with as much force as possible, and if you can throw an arm more or less around him."

1 Month, 2 Days ago

Will Skelton carded for slap after theatrical James Davies fall

Exactly - if you're worried about the possibility of carding him for playacting if he wasn't, then you have a really easy out. Ref chat should have gone something like this:
(to Skelton): "You've made contact with the head - you know there is zero tolerance for that, so off you go" *show yellow*
(to Davies): "I'm not convinced that your reaction was genuine. Embellishment has no place in our game. Regardless, you pulled him out of the maul by the head and neck, so it's a yellow for you too."

1 Month, 2 Days ago

New directives under fire once more as Brice Dulin gets carded for challenge

Or you could make it illegal for the kicking team to contest in the air - the defender may still jump, but is 'safe' until he touches the turf.

It would certainly change the strategy around kicking - which may or may not be a good thing. Kickers would likely be more tactical about placement of the kick; teams would likely chip and chase a little less often; chasers would have to focus more on timing the hit and turnover skills post-tackle; defenders would need to be very aware of body position in the air so that they land prepared to take contact. You might also see the development of different sets of aerial skills - a quick catch-and-pass in the air to a waiting teammate, tap-backs or deflections, and who knows what else.

I imagine the grubber would start to get used a bit more, but the biggest difference would probably be that teams faced with poor attacking options will opt to recycle the ball again instead of trying the up-and-under. That alone is worth it, as far as I'm concerned.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

New directives under fire once more as Brice Dulin gets carded for challenge

I wonder...if Dulin had ended up with the ball, would Halfpenny have been penalized? If they both catche the ball, do we just send 'em both off? If a kick lands on the field and there's no-one there to catch it, do we penalize the kicker? What's the airspeed velocity of a coconut-laden swallow? If a train leaves London for Reading at 10am travelling 35 km/h with three cars which are each half-full and another train leaves Reading for Basingstoke with a full load and travels at 32 km/h, what's the price of bananas in New York?

Inquiring minds want to know!

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

USA Women's winger Naya Tapper banned for alleged kick

Mrs. Gonzoman is still completing her rugby education - she's figured out the difference between a ruck and a maul, so there's hope!

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

USA Women's winger Naya Tapper banned for alleged kick

No, just a friend! We used to referee in the same ref's society - I've ARed for her on a number of occasions.

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

USA Women's winger Naya Tapper banned for alleged kick

I can ask the ref herself if you'd like...I'll let you know what she says!

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

Tevita Kuridrani scores sensational try to seal Aussie win in France

alasdairduncan3 is correct. As a referee, I'm shocked that the TMO and the on-field officials didn't know that!

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

Sam Cane cleared while Malakai Fekitoa receives one week ban

Hi DrG, I guess it comes down to the intent behind the law. For me, the law dealing with high tackles exists not just to punish tackles above the shoulders, but to discourage them. If I know that I'll cost my team if I break the law, I will actively try to avoid breaking it. If the law is enforced strictly, regardless of whether it was an accident, or hit low and slid up, etc. then players will approach tackling differently.

Here's are two examples of different approaches:
1 - I know that not all high tackles are called, and that I will probably not have to deal with a ban for one. When approaching a tackle, I aim at the player's chest because that's where I can get the biggest bang, and because it's more convenient for me to aim higher when I'm running cross-field. Therefore, I start from a running position and don't adjust until I have to.
2 - I know that high tackles are dealt with strictly, both by the referee and the citing commissioner. When approaching a tackle, I aim for the shorts to make sure I avoid coming in too high and being penalized/sent off/banned. Therefore, as soon as I get within a few meters of the player I will tackle, I am low and ready to make the hit safely.

In the past number of years, I've refereed a lot of rugby games at all sorts of levels, and have found that being strict and consistent with high tackles of all kinds is the most effective way to avoid them and, ironically, to reduce overall penalty count. Penalize the first 1-3 and make it clear you'll have none of it, and the players will adjust and 'keep it down'. Helps to cut down on the number of dust-ups too...

2 Months, 3 Weeks ago