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Friday Feb 26, 2021

Cooper laments the direction rugby is heading in as we see another breakdown red card

Former Australia fly-half Quade Cooper has said rugby is doing itself “no favours” with the recent red card in Super Rugby AU.

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The Reds’ Feao Fotuaika was shown red for making contact with the head of the Rebels’ Richard Hardwick in an attempted clear out at a ruck.

In response to this decision, Cooper said on Twitter “next we will see red cards being handed out for someone getting tackled in a pick and go situation,” adding that the “precedent has been set.”

There are plenty that agree with Cooper on Twitter, questioning what the prop could have done to move Hardwick off the ball. Conversely, it is being pointed out that it is still the responsibility of the player entering the ruck to enter safely and legally.

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While Cooper has scathingly said “the precedent has been set,” such a punishment is what is expected in the modern game.

Fotuaika’s red card is not too dissimilar to two red cards already seen in the Guinness Six Nations. This was highlighted by Australian journalist Christy Doran, who said on Twitter: “Feao Fotuaika was beaten to the ball. Hardwick wins penalty.

“It’s a red in modern age. Just look at recent Six Nations and English Premiership.

“The coaches and players know it. You can’t make contact with head.”

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This is perhaps less about a divide between the two hemispheres, but the teething problems that come in the opening rounds of a new season, where fans and players must become accustomed to the new standards set.

The Reds won the match 23-21 in a nail biter as Matt Toomua missed a kick at goal with time up.

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