Thursday Dec 6, 2012 Chris Hala'ufia suspended for five weeks after straight red card

Chris Hala'ufia suspended for five weeks after straight red card
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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.

59 Comments

  •  willwillrob
    willwillrob

    Glad the ban was lifted. player jumps into him Much bigger man hits him in the upper body. of course his legs are going to fly up. If you ran up and jumped into a road sign you legs will fly up and you will land on your neck.

    Reply
  •  will-f
    will-f

    Looks like an honest mistake to me. Don't think a card is inappropriate - players need incentives to try their best not to make honest mistakes that injure others. But a card shouldn't have to mean he's a terrible person (the guy showed great sportsmanship), so I'm glad they dropped the ban.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    They don't know their arses from their elbows

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    HAAAAH, Says a lot really... How can the panel one minute feel it's worth FIVE weeks, then the next its not worth anything... This says that either the panel think that he was WRONGFULLY carded or that a red card was sufficient enough punishment. But to go from 5 weeks to nothing is pathetic. ...but then why am I so surprised?

    Reply
  •  downwithdropgoals
    downwithdropgoals

    Glad to see common sense has prevailed, shows how hit and miss the judiciary system is. I can understand and forgive a ref for making a call in real time, the panel however had no such excuses

    Reply
  • Was the player lifted though? The reason he went into the air was due to the force of a perfectly legal (in the sense he wrapped the arms) hit to chest. He didn't make a deliberate attempt to lift the man from the ground. The tackle forced the player off his feet, surely that has to be allowed. There's very little difference to the excellent hit George North did on Owen Farrell in the 6 Nations http://www.rugbydump.com/2012/03/2377/the-big-hits-try-savers-and-collisions-from-england-vs-wales (at 1mins).

    Reply
  •  jm_2012
    jm_2012

    I am a qualified society referee myself, and this incident is not just a disgrace, it's a complete joke. This tackle is simply a very hard hit to the ribs from? an incredibly powerful tackler (Hala'ufia) on a less powerful and sizeable opponent (Jewell) which has knocked him back, off his feet and onto his back without any attempt to lift him off the ground at all. Firstly, how JP Doyle cannot see this being approximately five feet away is hard to understand, but given that the tackle happens quickly he can be given the benefit of the doubt. However, what makes this incident so controversial and frankly quite ridiculous is that Hala'ufia was consequently banned for this tackle for 5 weeks, despite not having broken any laws of the game at all. Contrast this tackle to the extremely dangerous and malicious tackle by Mealamu et al. on Brian O'Driscoll on the Lions' 2005 tour, which was possible even to have been pre-meditated and was purposely designed to injure O'Driscoll, arguably the Lions' best player on the tour, and successfully ended his tour and therefore his threat. This (Hala'ufia's) tackle was not a tip-tackle, as the opponent was neither lifted nor turned past the horizontal. He was simply hit hard, straight backwards, off his feet and onto his back on the ground. Yes, Hala'ufia is an extremely powerful player and yes, he does not have a great disciplinary record but in this incident he is genuinely innocent - this should not even have been a penalty - let alone a card and certainly not a ban. If the RFU are looking to decrease the physicality of top level rugby, this is a sure way to go about it, but justifying and even further increasing the consequences of poor decision making is not the correct way to govern an area of the game which must be controlled accurately due to the increasing physicality of elite-level rugby.

    Reply
  •  rugbydump
    rugbydump

    Yes, thanks for pointing it out! Bad typo. Red card.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    *(of which there are none): Risks of injury that is...

    Reply
  • I agree with your sentiment on borderline hits, I've taken a few myself. On this particular incident however, I don't think borderline applies, the initial contact is made below the chest. The force of the impact is understandable, the guy saw a player coming at him at speed and he went to meet him. The way Jewell flew back is more a consequence if his own actions than anything. The only foul I see here is Jewell jumping into the tackle, which if I'm not wrong is not allowed.

    Reply
  •  promin42
    promin42

    Red Card? In my opinion no but I've had my opinion clouded by several decades where a hit like this wouldn't have raised an eyebrow let alone a red card. That said Ref's can and do get decisions wrong the worrying thing is the citing commission have ratified his decision with the 5 week ban. Before the IRB ends up with a sanitised version of the game nobody wants to watch or play I think they should consult the players themselves as to what they think should and shouldn't be allowed. Clearly current England International James Haskell doesn't have a problem with this tackle and responds accordingly by pointing out on twitter running into Hala'ufia isn't something he'd advise. ?@jameshaskell @Eliota_Sapolu what a hit, reminds me never to run at him. Only looks bad because a bigger man hit a smaller man, when 2 opposites collide.

    Reply
  •  rikovich
    rikovich

    I must say, I love the reaction of the Nr. 8 and how the players really listen to the ref. In the Netherlands a soccer ref got kicked and beaten till he died. Now everyone here is saying the only solution for soccer is rugby. And I think they're right.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    If you say so browner. Although I suggest you practice your comprehension again, I said it was risky due to the ways it is over policed, not due to the risks involved (of which there are none)...

    Reply
  •  galwegian
    galwegian

    Any hit in the upper chest is legal, and that's a problem, as in this situation when it literally upends a player, or when the tackled player's head snaps forward onto the tackling shoulder and they get a head injury/concussion. But the high contact is legal, as long as some sort of arm wrapping gesture occurs. In the current situation the tackled player upends, and the tackler's responsibility is to make sure he goes down no more than horizontal, but he seems to go a bit beyond that angle here. The ref had no option except a red card. Tackles need to be lower, no higher than the crest. There should be nothing more important to the genuine rugby fan than the player's brain and spinal cord. I suspect that commenters here who have never really played hard are the most vociferous advocates of the big, borderline legal hits. Go look for your entertainment elsewhere, guys, there are players' lives and well-being at stake here.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Valid point, but not entirely true!

    Reply
  •  browner
    browner

    show me the "letter of the law" that you refer to ?

    Reply
  •  browner
    browner

    Crikey, if Pretzel thinks it's "very risky" then it must actually be a fully fledged assault !! Cos he's a mean tough buggerlugs xx

    Reply
  •  browner
    browner

    10 . 4 (e) Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously Guys, if the official thinks it was dangerous , then it was ....... move on. Surely this player must start modifying his 'through the top of the chest' tackling style , it's not a ball winning style it's purely to hurt & therefore treads the slippery 'dangerous' tightrope

    Reply
  •  browner
    browner

    area's........ such as?

    Reply
  •  suntzu
    suntzu

    The definition of a spear is bringing the legs above the waist which was the case and landing on the head, neck, shoulders or higher back which was the case... The fact that it was not malicious and no one was hurt is beyond the point... Why is everyone complaining. For once the call is consistent with a previous call (Alain Rolland on the Warburton tackle in the RWC) Every one knows that these tackles are being dealt with in a more severe fashion than they used to be, it's not new, the TMO would have gone with a red card as well... And yes rugby used to allow these or they went un-noticed but times change and there have been severe injuries to players at lower levels and that's why they're trying at top level to clean this sort of thing out of the game. Like it or not it's like that...

    Reply
  • I'm sure he's on his way to set us all straight

    Reply
  •  gonzoman
    gonzoman

    I definitely think the red was harsh. Technically, it was a penalty under law 10.4(j): "Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play." His upper body did come into contact with the ground while his feet were still off the ground...but really? It wasn't particularly dangerous. Old mate was only really in danger of being winded, as he lands pretty much flat on his back. His head and neck and shoulders were in no danger. The only reason Jewell's legs went beyond the horizontal (not in the rules, but a guidline" is because he was folded like a cheap lawn-chair, and deservedly so. I can see maybe giving a penalty for that hit to help set the tone and manage the game (it WAS borderline) but carding for that is definitely a stretch. I agree that his history makes for the lengthy ban, but disagree that there should even be a ban.

    Reply
  • maybe they think with more below the waist tackles there'll be more offloads making the game more of a spectacle....which will be all well and good until the bans come out for having twisted someone's knees. Isn't there a tag league these citing commissioners can go and watch?

    Reply
  •  al_woody7
    al_woody7

    What a joke, he got straight back up to his feet and his fault for not embracing it properly. If you gunna take a crash ball into someone 4 stone heavier than you, then expect a tackle like this. Yellow would have been questionable let alone red. And it was nothing like Warburton's, what a terrible shout, which too shouldn't have been a red. What is this game coming to? First NRL bans shoulder charges and now you can't tackle hard!

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    What would Yaheim do?

    Reply
  •  downwithdropgoals
    downwithdropgoals

    Looks a class tackle, the player actually jumps into the tackle which is a penalty itself due to it being dangerous. As much as i don't like to see ref's giving red in this situation with the current emphasis i can understand it. The disciplinary panel however are a disgrace! Also this is nothing like the Warburton red, he was sent off for dropping the player when over the horizontal!

    Reply
  • It's not football, hence the whole team didn't crowd around the ref and Jewell didn't roll around on the ground. It is Rugby though and as such the Captain has the right to talk to the ref. Personally I don't think it was even a foul let alone a red, I can understand the captains point of view. Where do we go from here? Wingers who can do backflips exaggerating bounce-offs to get rid of opposition players? Lets hope the sportsmanship lasts and has the final say because the powers that be seem to have their heads up their arses...in my opinion anyway

    Reply
  •  downwithdropgoals
    downwithdropgoals

    The captain was not arguing with the ref, he was asking to go to the TMO, he would not be doing his job if he did not! Unfortunately this facility was not available at the stadium as you can hear the ref saying.

    Reply
  •  logansinclair
    logansinclair

    That's a terrible call. Nothing wrong with the tackle at all. What do you expect to happen when you run that fast into a guy that size?

    Reply
  • Well how on earth would we know? We're all wrong! There seems to be alot of this on RD lately, yesterday I read "you guys are all stupid". So the question is, Trolls or pure ignorance?

    Reply
  • Yeah I got the same impression, Jewell in fairness jumped straight up after the hit, no handbags no crap.

    Reply
  • I don't agree at all, Warburtons tackle was very different from a dynamics point of view and in how Warburton followed through. Here we see a tackle at a certain speed that a player has to commit to. Hala'ufia didn't even go in high here, it was Jewell's jump that led to him flying back the way he did. He went in expecting resistance and found himself with a light player who's feet were off the ground, momentum did the rest. In this case Jewell put himself at risk by his own actions, I don't see why another player has to be banned as a consequence, record or no record. What does a ban serve here? Do coaches now start teaching players to fall back in the tackle because driving through can lead to terrible refereeing decisions?

    Reply
  •  flanker2712
    flanker2712

    It's also funny how the opposite touch judge, when asked by the ref if he saw anything different, says "No, I had a lineout breaking up in front of me." Lineout was well and truly over by the time the tackle was made! But as only fussy nobs like me check these things, it was a great excuse to get out of being involved in anything controversial. 5 week ban for lying to the referee. Maybe I am being a bit harsh here - maybe he didn't see it because of the players near the tackle. My point is that even if he did see it, I am sure he would have said the same thing so as not to risk being put on the spot. Is that what we wnat from touch judges?

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    I think your point C is a very worrying prospect, if sanctions start getting attached to injuries we will very quickly start looking like football. And Mr Mauler most people seem to agree with the ref at the time, on first instance it did look like it fit all the requirements of a red card offence, and he had no TMO to call on, its the very general wording of the laws and the citing that seems to be what most people don't like.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    I think Hala'ufia has lost control of his man just as much as warburton did, the only difference is that Hala'ufia has done so because of how hard he hits. As far as his history goes I'm a big fan of banning people according to their track record, and he has a pretty poor one. He's had his warnings, I don't see why other players should be put at risk by a man who the officials know is unable, or unwilling, to control his own tackling.

    Reply
  •  erik
    erik

    Shouldn't this be the intro RD? 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.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    After re-watching it again, do I hear correctly when the referee says "judging on the outcome only"... as if he didn't really see the full incident?

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Dan, he couldn't go upstairs, at about the 0:52 mark we see the player with arms in the air and the referee turns and says "we don't have upstairs" so whether there was no TMO or whether the referee forgot about in game TMO, I don't know...

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    From OUR angle, looking towards the referee's face it looks sort of bad in full speed, not sure how it looked from the referee's angle... However, I cannot begin to defend the referee's decision if he is completely backed up by the disciplinary panel (which he is, as the 5 week ban proves)... Personally I find these sorts of tackles to be very risky. Not because of the risks of injuries (landing flat on ones back doesn't tend to cause ANY injuries) but more because of the interpretation; legs waving in the air look nasty and may prove to be what the referee sees, rather than the upper body flat on the ground... I suppose for me to say "I think this is a yellow" is incorrect, the referee, the judges etc have all stated this was a red card offence, not in that choice of words, but the red card and the 5 week ban say as much. Someone made a point about TSRB's and how many tackles look the same as this, I think they're right, I think to judge a tackle by the positioning of the legs is not always going to yield fair outcomes...

    Reply
  •  jimothy
    jimothy

    Dreadful decision. Not even a penalty. Hard for the ref but he should have called in TMO for their opinion! Especially as he considered it a red card offense. As for the CC giving him 5 weeks! Well by all accounts if he behaved at the meeting and showed remorse it should have been reduced by 3 weeks. My personal opinion is that the tackled players movement was the result of him attempting to twist his body so he could present the ball. Think the IRB needs to sort their sh+t out as the whole process is become a joke!!!

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Having rewatched the video, disapppointed to see that there was arguing with the ref on behalf of Danaher. Should have been marched 10 yards. Good to see Hala-ufia taking it so well.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Great point, well made. There wasn't any whining or arguing with the ref. I'm also with others on this, 5 weeks (given that the citing panel could watch replays) seems bizarre. Can understand the ref sending him off given he's only had one quick look at it. Also, kudos to the ref - he called it as he saw it and didn't go to the TMO. Takes guts to make that call, and glad to see nobody questioned it after.

    Reply
  •  sithepie
    sithepie

    Not a red, maybe a yellow at best. I think the legs were in the air only after the man was on the ground. Still, I disagree with the captain arguing with the ref. It's not football, so take the decision and play on.

    Reply
  •  flanker2712
    flanker2712

    Completely agree with your comment. The player's momentum made his legs swing up to the all important "beyond the horizontal", so probably looked worse than it was for the referee. But the guys watching the video have no excuse. The players themselves know what a dangerous tackle is, and their reaction is often a reliable indication of foul play. In this case, there was absolutely no reaction from the other players - indeed, as he is making his way off the field it looks as if more opposition players are making their way towards him to say "Unlucky mate".

    Reply
  •  jamesmurray
    jamesmurray

    Totally agree.

    Reply
  • Stubby has no idea what he's talking about.

    Reply
  • And such a gentleman! What other sport has such sportmanship?

    Reply
  • Awesome tackle! OK, maybe it looked a bit like a spear but not a red card. And who was in that judicary panel? They must have been the biggest softies in the Kingdom. This is the best hit I've seen in a while.

    Reply
  • Please give the current defintion of which you speak?!

    Reply
  •  stubby
    stubby

    You guys are wrong. By the current definition, that was a dangerous tackle i.e. straight red card. The 5 week ban validates the on field ruling.

    Reply
  • Go back and watch some of the Try Savers and Rib Breakers. I'm pretty sure nearly everyone of these tackles was classed as legal (these are from the game within the past 10 years). If today's rugby game every one of the Rib Breaker tackles would have probably classed as a red card offence.

    Reply
  • Don't get how it was a tip tackle? He didn't lift the player. The force of the hit resulted in him landing on his back. He didn't grab the player and lift and dump. I agree with your a and b - not c. Players can get injured through perfectly legal tackles. Shouldn't have even a penalty. Should have been play on. Rugbydump could have uploaded the clip as a monster hit, which we could have all enjoyed rather debating a poor ref's decision.

    Reply
  • "oow I better not smash this guy in the off chance he'll get injured" << whoops

    Reply
  • Rubbish! Injuries I'm afraid are part of playing a contact sport. If you don't want to get injured then don't take the pass on a crash ball into a packed midfield due to a shortened lineout. It's the responsibility of each player to make as big a hit within the rules as he can not to think "oow I better not smash this guy in the off chance I'll get injured" because you know for sure the ball carrier is doing everything he can to smash you into the ground. Punishment should be handed out to people who cause injury due to illegal play - gouging, spear tackles, stomping on heads, violent acts etc... but the second you start worrying about injuries in the tackle is when more injuries will happen and worse the game will get.

    Reply
  • Bad decision. Great hit nothing illegal about it. No malice, no intent to injure. Arms were wrapped etc... The player lands and plays the ball. Both sets of forward continue with the game. No players reacted in a manner which reflected something dangerous or illegal happened - you know the usual pushing and shoving etc... Not only did the person tackle accpet the apology other players in the Welsh team seemed to sympathise with the player. In rugby sometimes when it's a big man hitting a small man, the small man comes off worse. That's part and parcel. And there's very little the tackler can do - we're talking milliseconds in terms of defining an outcome. The only way you can guarantee a textbook non-dangerous tackle is going round the ankles, which in this day and age is totally pointless as the team will just offload/get quick ball or not go into the tackle fully committed, which is contrary to the sport and will likely result in injury to the tackler. How long until players cynically manipulate the contact to encourage others to be sent off - it's easier than you think to let yourself be lifted or to take produce a high tackle. Speak to the players. Very few will ever have an issue with something that results in a yellow or red card. The ref's really need to get a grip. They're ruining our game!

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    What a rubbish decision. The little guy only "tipped" because he was off the ground and the big guy hit his chest like a train. There was no lifting or driving down in any of this. But even worse, how the hell did they give him 5 weeks for this? I can understand a ref getting it wrong on the field, but a bunch of blokes with a TV and access to rewind? What game are these people watching?

    Reply
  •  technomouse
    technomouse

    To me seems like a harsh call... the tackler doesn't go near the legs of the player, so you can't say that he's "lifted" or "tipped" him, it's a combination of the force of impact and the way that Jewell kind of jumps into the tackle. The fact remains the player has landed "beyond the horizontal" (albeit just) so I guess it is worthy of at least a yellow. But in the thick of it like the ref I can see why a red was given. A 5 week ban seems a bit much, but maybe that's a reflection on Hala'ufia's previous record more than this particular incident?

    Reply
  •  jeppy89
    jeppy89

    its dangerous because of the mismatch, i dont think it compares to warburton's and certainly not davies disgusting tackle. Warburton lost control of his man, (not in my opinion deliberately) but thats what makes it so dangerous. Hala'ufia seems a touch hard done to here. Id also like to say how commendable his lack of protest was and his attempt to find jewell and shake his hand. Makes a big difference from the thug that hit morgan. the five weeks is all on his history, shame this has made any future decisions even easier for the ref, hes a marked lad now

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Seems harsh as he didn't let the man drop, and the rotation was a result of Jewell jumping into the tackle (as RD states). Easy to look at it in replay and say it should have been a yellow, but the ref only gets one look (unless he uses TMO) and have to admit it looks worse than it is. Dangerous tackle undoubtedly though, so perhaps a red is right (although does seem harsh).

    Reply

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