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Manu Tuilagi penalised for big shoulder on Winston Stanley

im: there's nothing wrong with a bit of pushing - however, you'd be hard pressed to argue that Tuilagi didn't "knock down" Stanley...

The law doesn't say you can't push; it DOES say you can't knock someone down without trying to hold on to them.

1 Year, 19 Hours ago

Manu Tuilagi penalised for big shoulder on Winston Stanley

I think JP Doyle made a good call here. Let's look at the law book, then I'll offer an interpretation of the spirit of the law (not just the letter thereof).

There is no reference to "shoulder charge" in the law book, so whether or not contact was made with the shoulder or the chest is irrelevant. The law that applies is 10.4 (g):

"Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player."

If you look at the video, you'll notice Tuilagi wraps (more or less) with his arm. "Aha," you say, "he's attempted to grasp the player!"; however, in watching the video you can also clearly see him pushing Stanley with his left arm.

I ask you this: last time you tried to grasp something, did you also push that thing away from you? No. The two actions are opposed to each other. I strongly suspect that Tuilagi REALLY wanted to smash Stanley into touch; he realized that if he were to barge in and give him an almighty shove, he'd be penalized - instead, he throws his right arm up in a half-hearted attempt to wrap in order to cover up the push he is simultaneously administering with his left arm and chest.

Whether JP Doyle saw that and made the call or whether he just accidentally got the call right, the spirit of the law has been upheld.

1 Year, 1 Day ago

Jamie Roberts knocks out Blair Cowan with big tackle in Six Nations thriller

I agree with you on this one, stroudos. The law about dangerous tackles says "A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play."

To me, Jamie Roberts made contact above the line of the shoulders (albeit with his head). You can argue that the main part of the tackle was legal, and the clash of heads unfortunate but that's not good enough - it's not that different from sliding your shoulder up into his head by accident, or putting out your arm just as someone is running by. I'm sure it was an accident, but Jamie Roberts adopted a body position that put him at a much greater risk of making contact with the head area.

If he's going to do that, he needs to take extra care to avoid the head clash (like tackle with the other shoulder, but maybe they don't teach that any more).

1 Year, 6 Days ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

I think Stroudos means competing for the ball after making the tackle. In my playing days (mostly on the wing and at 13) I won quite a few turnovers chasing up kicks or chasing down linebreaks...put in the hit, get to your feet faster than the other guy, and take the ball from him. It's unbelievable how much pressure that can apply (when chasing kicks) or relieve (when defending linebreaks).

1 Year, 1 Week ago

New Zealand snatch 7s victory with 8 men on the field

The post-game ruling was that Australia could choose to take a win for that game. Australia declined, because finishing second gave them a better draw for the playoffs - effectively avoiding facing NZ in the semis, and instead meeting them in the final.

1 Year, 2 Weeks ago

Friday Funnies: Awkward RWC 2015 press conference proves Scotland's South African born prop does not play the bagpipes!

Heh. I think the French journalist was trying to wind him up...teasing him a little about the fact that he is playing for Scotland, despite having grown up in South Africa (judging by his accent!).

Does anyone else get the feeling that WP Nel didn't want or was told not to say outright that he was a South African playing for Scotland? The whole "awkwardness" could have been avoided if he had said something like "well I grew up in South Africa, and we never had bagpipes in the stands when I played for school but I can see how the fans in my adopted country might find it upsetting that they can't continue their traditions of playing bagpipes in the stands". Next question.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

The Good-Payne incident (sounds very scientific) is a tricky one indeed - had Payne been competing for the ball, almost any contact and outcome would have been considered an accidental part of aerial rugby. Instead, Payne was surprised by a posterior to the proboscis, and was penalized for taking out Goode's legs in a dangerous way, causing him to land horribly. I personally believe that Garcès got it wrong - there was no attempt to tackle so it can't be a dangerous tackle. If Goode hadn't got to the ball first, it would have landed in Payne's arms, so Payne wasn't acting recklessly. I think that incident was a case of Goode had to go up to make sure that Payne didn't get the ball, and Payne couldn't have gotten far enough to field the ball had he jumped. Both players were heading for the ball, doing their best to field it. Stop the play to deal with the injury, and manage the situation by talking to the captains. No penalty, play continues with a scrum to Saracens.

Good-Payne was a situation where the outcome was dangerous, but the actions weren't illegal per se. I guess the referee decided that Payne running into Goode's lower half could be considered "tapping" the foot or feet. If Goode hadn't jumped, they would have bashed into each other, and the game would have continued. Goode jumped, so I guess the ref decided that Payne had some responsibility to avoid his legs.

I disagree with the referee in the case of Goode-Payne, but that's me. Goode took a risk going up, and it didn't work out for him.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

I read an interesting novel once. It was set in a futuristic world that had a giant computer system that ran games as part of a tournament, including one that the main character played in that simulated American Football (a historical game played by the ancients). In that game, the main character won because the referee (a robot) was programmed to occasionally make a mistake, so as to better replicate the reality of the game as it was played.

I think that's the best way to approach rugby - occasionally, the referee will make a mistake and that's part of the game. No TMO necessary, people just accept the call on the field and move on.

The role of the judiciary is one that's up for debate - I think they should only be involved in suspendable offences and should make a real effort to be more consistent - maybe include one judicial officer, one former player, and a referee or something like that.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

DrG, I share your frustration. Part of the problem is that people tend to get emotional where foul play (or perceived foul play) is concerned. If there is an injury, then proceedings become even more emotional - where there is a victim, we tend to need to find a villain.

Legally speaking, it's nearly impossible to prove intent in the course of a game unless the action is specifically outlawed (ie: punching someone in the face is almost exclusively "intent to injure" since there are very few other reasons to dummy a bloke in the chops). In the case of a high tackle or a lifting tip tackle, it is easy to prove that it broke the laws of the game, but very hard to prove that it was done with the intent of causing harm, and not just out of clumsiness or poor technique.

As a result, referees in most sports are typically asked to assess the impact the action had on the game, and not the thoughts running through a player's head prior to an infraction. In the example you provided (BOD missing a punch), there should be no sanction because there was no tangible effect resulting from the swing. As a referee, I might be inclined to penalize him for general poor sportsmanship [10.4 (m)].

In another example that happens all the time, a player ducks into a tackle and gets smashed in the face. You might say that the tackler didn't intend to hit high, but the fact remains he did and it's a penalty. This has been controversial in the past, but it's against the law as it's written.

Unfortunately not all referees (even at the top level) follow the law consistently, and it's even rarer that the judicial committee applies the law consistently. Us plebs are left scratching our heads and wondering what just happened!

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

To echo what's posted in reply already and to bring the relevant law into the discussion:

Law 10.4 (j) deals specifically with tip-tackles - "Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

There are two parts to this law; we'll deal with the second first because it is what most people are reacting to. The tackled player has been dropped/driven into the ground in such a way as to land on his head/upper body. This tackle contravenes the second part of the law.

HOWEVER, the second part of the law is conditional on the first clause of the law - this means that the part about landing on the head only applies if the first part is true, and that is that the tackler lifts the ball carrier. This has not happened in this case, so whether or not the tackled player lands on his head is irrelevant.

To sum up: in order to be sanctioned under the tip tackle law 10.4 (j), an action must satisfy two conditions (lift, and drive/drop onto head/upper body). Since the tackle in this video only fulfills one of the two conditions, it's play on.

Of course, the ref appears to be doing the right thing and penalizing the guy for lying all over his victim...

1 Year, 2 Months ago