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Monday Apr 4, 2016

Anthony Watson furious after receiving straight red card vs Saracens

Anthony Watson furious after receiving straight red card vs Saracens
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Anthony Watson received a straight red card in a fiery Aviva Premiership match between Bath and Saracens at the Rec on Saturday. The visiting Saracens won the match 30-10 after some clinical play, but it was the red card that everyone was discussing post match.

Watson took fullback Alex Goode out in the air, leaving the officials with little option but to apply the laws of the game. The England winger was furious as he left the field, waving his hands in the air and remonstrating with those on the sideline.

Referee Greg Garner took his time to make the decision to send off Watson, consulting with his TMO before making the call. Watson had words with Chris Ashton, who was involved not only before, but after the challenge.

“By the letter of the law, it is a sending off, isn’t it? He got underneath Alex, and Alex landed awkwardly,” commented Bath head coach Mike Ford. “You get underneath the guy jumping, take his legs away and he lands awkwardly like he did, it’s a red.

“Anthony is gutted. He was going for the ball, Ashton checked his run, and then all of a sudden he is underneath the player. It was an accident.”

Saracens coach Mark McCall agreed with that assessment, saying it was unintentional.

“The letter of the law says it is possibly a red card, but I feel sorry for Anthony because it was not intentional. His route to Alex was slightly disrupted by one of our players. He had to change course, he doesn’t time it well, but it was what it was. It didn’t change the course of the game.”

A few minutes after Watson was red carded, scrumhalf Chris Cook received a yellow card for a lifting tackle on Michael Rhodes, handing further advantage to league leaders Saracens.

Amongst the controversy, there was reportedly an incident of a fan confronting the referee in the changeroom post match, and allegations of eye gouging during mauls.

“The mauls, if you have ever been in one, there are arms and fingers flying all over the place. I doubt very much there is anything untoward there,” said Ford.

UPDATE: David Wilson and George Kruis have both since been cited and will appear in front of an RFU disciplinary panel after they were charged with acts contrary to good sportsmanship.

Wilson allegedly made contact with the eyes or eye area of Kruis, while Kruis allegedly bit Wilson.

The Watson incident is included in the official highlights video below (1:21)

29 Comments

  • larry
    1:07 AM 08/04/2016

    Have they had a 22 drop out on that field this year? Just wondering. I remember seeing the Rec Ground back in November of 1993. There was deep in-goals then. I guess the 'try zone' seating took care of that. Don't see that a red was warranted. A yellow, yes. The other tackle looked much worse. That indeed looked very deliberate. By the way, refeeing a game earlier in the year, one team's full back, about 6'2" in height ran into a tackle and in doing so jumped up into the tackler (this was in the middle of the pitch), who was some four or five inches shorter. He was then immediately bounded onto by his teammates to form a maul as his tackler also had a few if his team come in and bind on. The fullback's feet were about half a foot off the ground, in the middle of a man sandwich. I just couldn't blow a whistle for a penalty given the way things developed, as technically the ball carrier wasn't 'lifted' in the tackle, having lifted himself in jumping into the tackler, and waited for his feet to touch ground and then the maul continue.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:29 PM 06/04/2016

    However this was not an incorrect decision, and red and yellow cards are designed to impact the game... Sooooo, what's the problem?

    Reply
  • bunn
    7:37 PM 06/04/2016

    My argument is with the law, not with it's application, therefore it is valid to say that high profile games are being impacted. If forward passes where a yellow card offence, then it would be acceptable criticism to say that games were being disproportionately impacted. Furthermore, high profile games provide the coverage to debate what is right for the game. Frank Lampard's disallowed goal in the 2010 World Cup in front of Blatter and countless millions began the process of introducing goal-technology in professional football. Similar incidents had taken place countless times before when the technology has been available, but not in such a high profile game.

    Reply
  • drg
    1:48 AM 06/04/2016

    I think this was a combination that lead to Ashtons shove... He ran back and checked his run to provide a bit of a block, he gets a shove for his troubles - this is fuel to fire part 1.... Now alone this would probably be a "you bitch" type of situation and you'd get on with the game.... however Watson continued on, after the collision to then clatter into Goode.... Fuel part 2.... Then all he really did was shove Watson in the same manner as Watson shoved him... it really wasn't that big of a deal in my eyes...

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:07 PM 05/04/2016

    Raised in League, covering kicks is one of Ashton's strongest points. It could even be argued that he recognised the incoming collision and protected his fullback. He has been around long enough to know the subtleties of running a blocking line in defence, but he has also been around long enough to keep a cool head. Like the hair pulling and eye rubbish, too often do we see him make something dirty try to seem legal... you can get away with an awful lot in rugby, but that doesn't mean you should. It is completely understandable though. As a younger player, I thought these acts were filth as I was on the receiving end. Now i'm at an age where i have been playing sport since before my opponent was born, sometimes the only option is to drop a shoulder into someone quicker, more skilful, and able to function with a hangover. Like an open side conceding 3 points off their feet to stop a certain 7, or taking man and ball in 5-a-side to stop a counter attack, there is a time and a place to push boundaries. He got that bit right. Farrell has sorted that side of his game out, so has Hartley, if they can lead by example and help control situations, so can he.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    7:51 PM 05/04/2016

    You spelt twat wrong.

    Reply
  • drg
    6:59 PM 05/04/2016

    I actually feel sorry for Ashton in this instance... he's copping a lot of flak when in this situation, I don't think he did anything 'Ashtonesque' he more or less did what any fiery back would do....

    Reply
  • stroudos
    4:03 PM 05/04/2016

    DrG, Ten, Well done, you actually made me laugh out loud. :) You can't Suarez someone wearing a gum shield - that is brilliant!

    Reply
  • drg
    8:47 AM 05/04/2016

    Hahaha, buddy, April fools is the first of the month... You're late..

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    3:59 AM 05/04/2016

    Trashton's transformation to a footballer is nearly complete. You can't Suarez someone wearing a gum shield, maybe getting banned for chewing on someone like Hartley did would curry some favour with Eddie Jones?

    Reply
  • heavyhooker
    1:16 AM 05/04/2016

    It is funny, I read the first few lines of the RD narrative and as soon as I saw Ashton's name I knew that the comments would go bat blind crazy in implicating Ashton in some sort of nefarious act against the Laws and rugby. Ashton did nothing wrong. As Dr G mentioned enough plus others, he ran the line and Watson ran into him. This is part of the game to give advantage to your team. As for that school yard tussle afterwards with Ashton, child's play that happens with a lot of hits that look ugly. If anything I would say that Watson lost situational awareness focusing on the ball and not his run. He never looks at his track until just before the collision with Ashton so while not intentional, a lesson for all is with 29 other players on the field, keep you eyes out when running for a contest of the ball.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:39 PM 04/04/2016

    One thing I don't understand, is Ashton shoves Watson, then removes his gumshield..... ...If you're going to put in a move like that, keep your gumshield in... Tuilagi certainly didn't hang around for a chat...

    Reply
  • drg
    10:37 PM 04/04/2016

    Disagree. Ashton is retreating, he didn't change direction, he ran back, realised Goode had it, so he continued his run to the side of Goode as to offer support, he did however check his run, but this cannot be attributed to obstruction, he held his line.

    Reply
  • skid986
    9:02 PM 04/04/2016

    The first offence is Ashton breaking law 10.1d (obstruction) by blocking Watson's pursuit of the ball. It's clear and obvious from the early shots, but less so from the later replays. Those saying this is permissible if he 'holds his line' are misinformed or thinking of basketball rules. The second offence is potentially Watson breaking law 10.4e (dangerous tackle). It's for the referee to decide whether the illegality of Watson's challenge was due to Ashton's illegal block. On this occasion he decided against Watson. One can understand Watson feeling aggrieved, as he seemed to have his eyes on the ball when Ashton blocked him. However, the two distasteful aspects are the reactions of first Ashton, who is a class A turd for blocking then trying to influence the ref with his protest, and then sadly Watson for being petulent. For me - two yellows, but what do I know - I haven't reffed much at elite level.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:51 PM 04/04/2016

    because many high profile games are being impacted these decisions Completely irrelevant in all cases. Status of the game, whether it be two professional teams, two amateur teams, world cup finals, or otherwise - punishments should be meted out according to the law, with exception to things like baa baa games, or other friendly/charity matches where players can clearly be seen to have cleared the air between each other.

    Reply
  • bunn
    8:37 PM 04/04/2016

    I think World Rugby have got themselves in a pickle at the moment by heavily penalising things that look dangerous rather than those which cause injury. I feel they need to back up their focus on such offences with some evidence because many high profile games are being impacted these decisions

    Reply
  • drg
    6:30 PM 04/04/2016

    I'm definitely in the "Watson can't complain" camp here. Ashton retreats but does not change direction, he might slow down, but his leg extension could be more as a result of the knock from Watson. It's difficult because I am normally someone that defends the player chasing his own teams kick, especially when they look to receive the ball, however Watson didn't appear to make any attempt to try and catch the ball, (or catch where the ball was going to be had Goode not jumped). I'd agree that it was probably not malicious, but it was certainly not a well thought out attack and Watson looked like he was more concerned over Ashtons running line and grabbing a penalty for that, rather than continuing his efforts to get the ball from Goode (or compete for the high ball). I am definitely not impressed with his petulant ranting as he leaves the field. I've seen many players on the end of unfair cards who just walk away. The referee is hardly going to say "oh, I see you're arguing a lot now Watson, ok, I'll re-look at the incident and probably change my mind!" - Mutter something to yourself as you walk off, have a good moan in the ear of your coach, but aside from that, deal with it.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    4:09 PM 04/04/2016

    The footballery is definitely uncalled for. I think we all understand why he's frustrated, but the refs are not the problem in this instance, and he needs to button it once the decision has been made. But this also happens to be a law that I think is correct (although the automatic red I might suggest changing to red at the ref's discretion), the obligation should be on the kicking side to not run recklessly into the area where the ball is landing. A defender is likely to be in the air to make a catch, so you have to be looking out for it. And good call on Ashton, he did not change his direction which is obviously the key determination as to whether he impeded Watson.

    Reply
  • djmidnight
    2:55 PM 04/04/2016

    Watson can have no complaints, he took a player out in the air, intention or not, it's a red. Him acting like a petulant little brat afterwards is not something we want to see in the game of rugby, he should have an extra week added to his ban for disrespecting the official.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:13 PM 04/04/2016

    I don't think Watson can have any complaints here. You can't blame the sly run by Ashton, he (Ashton) didn't change the direction of his run, which is what would count as blocking. He changed his pace, but that's allowed. It's the kind of thing that is done several times per game. I'm not happy with Watson remonstrating with the fourth official like that. Very footballery.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:49 PM 04/04/2016

    I believe that is the Argentinian translation of "He's off his feet Sir".

    Reply
  • 12:59 PM 04/04/2016

    Allowing for a bit of interpretation on the difference between 'on his head', 'on his shoulder' and 'on his head and shoulder area', it seems to me that the law has been correctly applied here, but the law in this case is a poor one. Two thoughts: - the law creates a problem because an identical action can have a different outcome without the offender having any chance to influence the outcome. Goode's legs were taken out, and he landed on his head. If his jump were a little lower he might have been caught in the midriff and gone backwards not over Watson's shoulder - result no red card, and perhaps not even yellow. By removing the need for referees to judge intentions - was it a malicious offence, or reckless, or simply accidental - the lawmakers have created a different problem that is arguably just as unjust. - there have been many other high profile examples, and doubtless many lower profile ones every week at all levels of the game. A player in the air with his eyes on the ball is in an inherently unprotected situation - it can be spectacular but there is no doubt it is dangerous. Personally I would ban jumping for the ball in these situations. Or perhaps we revert to the old mark law that you needed to be stationary under the ball with both feet on the ground to claim a catch - and then the risk/reward ratio might shift away from putting yourself or your opponent at risk in this way.

    Reply
  • katman
    12:57 PM 04/04/2016

    If that's a red (which it probably is), then what is this mess from Argentina? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_4hV7wk3aU

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:40 PM 04/04/2016

    I'm not sure Colombes, you can argue that Watson ran into Ashton but Ashton clearly puts his leg in the way of Watson. That is not the fault of Watson and it has an influence on what happened.

    Reply
  • carlo83
    12:19 PM 04/04/2016

    Glad to see I'm not alone in my dislike for Ashton.

    Reply
  • martinotower
    12:04 PM 04/04/2016

    The cynic in me would suggest that Ashton over reacted in the way that he did because he knew full well he was partially to blame.

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:04 PM 04/04/2016

    Don't agree. As long as i hate Ashton, and i could slap his face all day long after this petulant shove... It was more Watson who was connecting with Ashton than the opposite. Malicious or accidental, Watson was always responsible of his run when you compete for high ball. The fact that Goode awkwardly felt on his shoulder was and had to be the only factor. Players safety first, Red card Yellow if he felt on a lower body part

    Reply
  • carlo83
    11:55 AM 04/04/2016

    My highly valuable comment is: what a coincidence Ashton is involved. Anyhow, straight red is harsh given the circumstances. Should have been a yellow. Watson is clearly not taking out the player in the air, it's that his running trajectory does not allow the jumping player to land safely - not intentional, and, again, what the heck was Ashton doing there. I appreciate the laws should be applied to their letter, but let's be sensible - refs are interpreting situations anyway, and you can clearly see where World Rugby has given strict guidelines and where it has not. Sometimes refs are letting players get away with murder, other times they are applying rules blindly, without appreciating the context. Sort it ut and don't be unnecessarily harsh on good sportsmen like Watson!

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    11:41 AM 04/04/2016

    No doubt this will cause some intense debate. I'm aware that regardless of whether you intended to do it or not, it's illegal and if they land like that it should be a red (as we saw with Jarryd Payne). However, I feel that this was incredibly harsh on Watson because I don't think you can ignore Ashton's influence on proceedings. Not only does he get in his way but if you look closely he clearly sticks his leg out gives Watson a little trip. To me there is a difference between ones 'intention', whatever it might be, and being put in a situation that's beyond your control. One could say it would have happened whether Ashton was there or not, but I don't think there's enough to suggest it definitely would have. I'd say a yellow at most. Also, what a pillock Ashton is. He's somewhat responsible for the incident then has the tenacity to retaliate like that.

    Reply


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