Friday Apr 24, 2015 Ali Williams controversially Sin Binned after colliding with Devin Toner in the air

Ali Williams controversially Sin Binned after colliding with Devin Toner in the air
19
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Toulon defeated Leinster 25-20 in the second semi-final of the European Champions Cup last weekend, but they only achieved victory in extra time, and were forced to play 10 minutes of the added period with only 14 men as former All Black, Ali Williams, was yellow carded for his challenge in the air on Devin Toner.

As part of the Toulon chasing contingent from the kick off, Williams’ efforts to catch the ball were not aided by teammates hoisting him skyward, and as such he inevitably did not rise as high as the Leinster man. 

The subsequent collision appeared fairly incidental, but Toner did fall from height onto his side, appearing to immediately be in some discomfort. The reaction from the Leinster supporters and players was the expected synchronicity of protest against the Kiwi’s actions. 

Williams was quick to plead his innocence, and although subsequent replays do appear to confirm he only had eyes for the ball, referee Wayne Barnes was of the opinion that he had no realistic possibility of claiming possession against Toner, and produced a yellow card.

The former New Zealand international clearly disagreed with the decision, as did the Toulon supporters, and there is certainly an argument to be made for their frustration.

The annoyance doesn’t come so much from Barnes’ decision, but the inconsistency.

If the reason for the sanction is that Williams’ efforts were unrealistic and unnecessary, and in turn endangered the safety of a fellow player, that precedent must regulate across all foul play – especially when a 10 minute sin bin can have such an enormous impact on a game.

The restart from which he committed the offence came as a result of a successful Leinster penalty, a penalty that was awarded for Jocelino Suta’s strangehold on Richardt Strauss

If the logic for the yellow card is that it was a reckless act endangering an opposition player, the question over whether Suta deserved a similar punishment, if not harsher, is one that requires an answer.

The result would have been Toulon playing the final portion of the match with only 13 men, and it’s impossible to say how that may have altered the outcome.

How do you think Williams’ and Suta’s situations should have been handled?

For more controversial rugby head to our Dirty Play archives

19 Comments

  •  browner
    browner

    Only when reading your final comment, are we able to ascertain who the real Numbskull is .... ! I doubt you've the skill/ability to referee beyond your armchair

    Reply
  •  browner
    browner

    Rubbish. WB was not totting up AW offences ( if any) he was soley deciding on whether or not that collision constituted an offence.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    I think lifting in the line-out should continue, but lifting in open play is possibly something which I could live without. I like to see a genuine contest for a high ball. If minimising risk is your bag, then you could argue that lifting to catch a kick-off places an unfair burden of risk on the other player attempting to get the ball. They are necessarily going to be attacking the ball at speed, and will be unable to collect the ball without some sort of collision. What could Ali Williams have done in this situation other than allow Toner to collect the ball and then hit him on the ground? Perhaps a piece of fine-tuning that few in the game would miss, as it would continue to advantage/disadvantage both sides equally.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I think that's what I was thinking about the whole incident and many like it... It just doesn't look 'right'.... It's that somewhat negative playing for the penalty style... It happens with spear tackles all the time, people fly in pushing and shoving... maybe it's ok.. no one wants to see their team mate pole axed, but it's that sort of anti play to the whistle behaviour that I see creeping in here... Toner goes up, Ali contests but hits Toner and then everyone starts gesticulating. I think this is a bit of a shame. Player safety is of course important, however these sorts of incidents eating into the game.

    Reply
  •  oldflyhalf
    oldflyhalf

    Since 2007, in the rugby world W.Barnes is an "adjective". ...the same case is Craig Joubert and J. Peyper, after "Waratash deal". Unfortunately for J. Peyper. The spirit of the rugby game go dramatically down.

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10

    Personally, I think Toner can reach greater heights going for the ball when unassisted. Teams seem to use lifting as an excuse to keep defenders back and stop them attacking the ball, much like fullbacks taking to the air when defenders are near to stop the inevitable car crash. You can't hit what isn't on the ground. Hoisting them in front of a contesting runner is just madness all round. The lifter has become the new dummy jumper.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Can't stand the old line-out.

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    I'm with you. I ref at the youth level and we don't allow lifting because the risk. I think what really happened in this clip is that Toner leaned away from his supporting boosters. Falling from 14 ft in the air is dangerous. I was a 2nd rower that started off my career without lifting. Lineout jumping was an extremely important individual skill on par with being a good kicker. They've eliminated it, let's bring it back.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    Stop boosting for kicks and lineouts. I played in the time of no lifting. I've refereed in the era of lifting (and phony non-contested three-man rucks too).

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    I agree, but then again blame it on how the laws have changed over the years. The game has changed to the point that contesting for possession of the ball isn't really allowed like before. Why allow anyone to be lifted? The players all have legs and the ability to jump in the air on their own accord. The law makers have changed the laws so that those being lifted "get" to have possession, and woe to anyone trying to contest, as in a penalty is most likely the result. When the laws of the game change so that the team in possession of the ball become entitled to it, the game's integrity is at stake.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    How about getting rid of lifting? No lifting on kickoffs, lineouts, period! All these players have legs and the ability of jumping without aid of any kind. The injured player fell from a considerable height he wouldn't have reached without lifting. Just ban it, and guess what: lineouts will be contested once more like back in the day. Anything to get rid of "guaranteed possession" of the ball! And anything to take away another excuse for a referee to give a player a yellow card.

    Reply
  •  mastersa
    mastersa

    He had transgressed repeatedly throughout the game and well earned Barnes attention. The yellow card was a much for repeated offences as it was for the no hope lunge for the ball in the air. Toulon were indeed very lucky not to have had him sin binned much earlier in the game for some very scenical play.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I definitely don't like this *thing* creeping into the game.. Makes you wonder how many other aspects of the game could be ruined by this sort of thing?

    Reply
  •  elvis15
    elvis15

    I don't mind a penalty but a card was a bit harsh. He's clearly jumping for the ball, and you can't try and penalize that out of the game. So long as it's two players in the air challenging for the ball, it should be a fair contest - it doesn't matter that one was being boosted and was higher. Otherwise, what can a player chasing a kick do? Would they have to concede the catch and automatically defend? I'd like to see more responsibility put on the boosters' shoulders in open play like this to ensure he comes down safely, or maybe they stop boosting in open play altogether.

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    You're 100% correct. Whenever a player lands awkwardly the ref's first reaction is to go into their pocket. The histrionics of the players gesturing with their arms up doesn't help either. Referees' mentalities have changed a lot recently. They have more of an influence over the game than ever before. It's not a positive trend.

    Reply
  •  mattmon10
    mattmon10

    Does anyone agree that officials appear more concerned with outcome than intent recently?

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    The Suta chokehold was seriously bad news, worse the 90% of punches and 100% of shoe-ings. Often when you have two players leaving their feet going for 50/50 ball somebody comes off worse and ends up on the ground. The slightest contact makes a player in the air lose their balance. It's just physics. Nothing in it and great catch by Toner.

    Reply
  •  abfanforlife
    abfanforlife

    What a joke! He was going for the ball. Penalty at most. As Tana Umaga would say, "This isn't tiddlywinks". Typical from Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens. Useless.

    Reply
  •  tphillipsstl
    tphillipsstl

    The Suta choke-slam should have been a red card. This was a penalty and no more. Wayne Barnes strikes again.

    Reply

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Ali Williams controversially Sin Binned after colliding with Devin Toner in the air | RugbyDump