Two players were red carded in the first half of a fiery Aviva Premiership clash between rivals Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints yesterday. The Tigers won the match 30-25 in a game that had many talking points.
As you can see in the video below, powerful wing Alesana Tuilagi bumped off Chris Ashton before the England winger tracked back, caught him, and dragged him by his hair, sparking a touchline brawl that resulted in both Tuilagi and Tom Wood being sent off.
“You have to be a little bit careful, Ashton dropped a shoulder into Geordan Murphy after a kick and the tackle on Alesana, he’s dragged him by his hair into touch,” said Leicester’s Richard Cockerill.
“I don’t think there was a lot going on involving Alesana at all and he got the red card, we’ll have to take a look and review it. He could miss Europe next week, which is massive for us on a massive call from the referee – Alesana hasn’t thrown a punch, so what’s he been sent off for?
“It’s disappointing because I think the game was spoilt from that point. I’ve not seen all the angles but a yellow card for whoever they wanted to blame is enough there,” he added.
Referee Wayne Barnes looked determined to get a stamp on the game, particularly after the way he handled last year’s fixture. On that occasion it was Ashton and Manu Tuilagi who came to blows, and this time Barnes made sure the colour of the cards was red, despite having a few options.
“The sendings-off I thought were much to do with the rivalry, the lads were up for it – I thought yellow cards and settle it down would probably have been a better decision there,” said Saints coach Jim Mallinder, who wasn’t pleased with the officials for the call at after the winning try either.
Below are the match highlights, which feature the incident at the beginning of the clip