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Saracens secure draw with hard fought Chris Ashton try in extra time

Oh dear, what's happening around the 3:03 mark? Is Jamie George having to remind Ashton not to act like a bell-end? Presumably barracking the Scarlets players? For Christ's sake man, just let your rugby do the talking.

Impressed by Farrell here - both for the team motivation and a superb attacking line, awareness and quality pass.

I did wonder why Ashton chose to run back towards the tacklers, but who cares I suppose, he scored the try...

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

He does seem to get some abuse doesn't he!

I remember some opposition flankers - Serge Betsen stands out - clearly being tasked with trying to dismantle Jonny Wilkinson during England's "golden era". He seemed to be able to withstand it and I think he was also well protected by Messrs Dallaglio, Hill, Johnson et al.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

First EVER mate. Saintly boy that I am.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

He did bended.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

One of my team-mates made a very similar observation after the match. I'm not actually averse to this directive myself; after all it's really just enforcing an existing law - if they did the same with things like straight scrum feeds I wouldn't complain about that either!
Honestly, I was pretty pleased I was able to reach high enough to high-tackle this bloke....

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

Have you seen the "Andy Goode for the 2017 Lions" group on Facebook? Bloody brilliant. Not sure who manages it, sometimes get the impression Andy Goode runs it! Has links to the podcast he does with Jim Hamilton, which is hilarious.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

I got my first ever yellow card on Saturday. For a high tackle. I'm a bit of a shortarse so to some extent I took it as a compliment.

We've all read about the new tackle directive, we've seen examples of new interpretation of the law by refs on TV, I even watched Wayne Barnes and Ben Kay discussing the directive with examples on that BT Sport clip. Could not be clearer frankly.

We had a great ref at the weekend, he's done our games before and is always clear and consistent. In his pre-match chat he highlighted the high tackle directive and he was fairly strict on them from the off. Unfortunately mine was probably about the sixth high tackle of the game and came pretty soon after a general "next one of those will be a yellow card" warning. I've no complaints really - it was high, neck rather than head - I was defending 5m out from our tryline I was aiming chest-high to try and get my grubby paws on the ball / prevent an offload, did kind of start chest-high and slipped upwards, (which of course is specifically called out in the directive).

The point is, I think a lot of us have become so accustomed to getting away with high tackles (which have always been illegal, this directive simply requires refs to enforce the existing law), that it's become a bit of a habit that's hard to break. Maybe even a muscle memory thing, but certainly as a general tactic it's going to take a bit of time to break the habit. Mine was one of about ten high tackles penalised and one of two yellow cards for the same offence. I would estimate that a few months ago, probably half would have been ignored, half penalised and doubt we'd have seen a single yellow.

That's all at a low / sociable level of the game. I think you could argue both ways in that, on one hand, professional players and coaches should study the directive more thoroughly; and on the other, that they've spent so much time getting away with high shots that it's going to take a bit more work for them to get used to it.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

I totally agree with the extra sanction for arguing with the ref.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

45678: "The dumbest thing about trying to tackle the 10 like this is that 99 times in 100 the ball has already gone."

So? What difference does that make!? :)

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

No no no, Colombes, do pay attention. That O'Brien hit is clearly *early*, not late. :)

1 Month, 1 Week ago