London Irish number eight Chris Hala’ufia has been banned for five weeks following a straight red card for a big tackle against London Welsh last weekend. Both team’s coaches however felt it was a tough call and probably shouldn’t have been a red card.
Hard hitting Hala’ufia has a history of suspensions, usually for high or dangerous tackles, so it’s no surprise that after the latest incident he has been banned for five weeks.
The actual severity of the offence itself though has been questioned by many, including opposition coach Lyn Jones, who said that he was unlucky to be sent from the field.
“It was a good tackle, which turned into a suspect tackle,” said Jones of the hit on Seb Jewell.
“Sam Warburton was red-carded for exactly the same incident in last year’s World Cup semi-final.
“It was just unfortunate. I don’t think there was any malice or intent in it. Sometimes referees’ hands are tied in these situations. It certainly influenced the rest of the game.”
The 34-year-old Tongan was shown red just ten minutes after kickoff, which no doubt had an affect on his side’s 15-9 loss to London Welsh.
The tackle itself appeared to be okay but as Jewell jumped into it, the force meant he landed on his back, which sent his legs flailing and past the horizontal. These days that sends off red flags in the officials’ minds. Whether the law is correct at the moment or not remains a hot talking point.
What are your thoughts on this tackle in particular?
UPDATE: Hala’ufia has successfully appealed his ban and is free to play immediately.