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Thursday Jan 20, 2022

Dangerous challenge on Kockott shows how contentious in the air challenges are

Stade Français full back Kylan Hamdaoui was lucky not be shown a yellow card in his side’s 15-9 defeat away to Castres in the Top 14 last weekend after a nasty challenge in the air on Rory Kockott.

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Hamadaoui had been competing for a high ball with Kockott when the latter jumped into the air. Hamadaoui stayed on the ground before colliding with the scrum-half.

Kockott was uninjured and Hamadaoui was penalised for his actions, escaping a sin-binning from referee Mathieu Raynal.

Unlike most similar incidents where the player stayed on the ground in a contest for the ball, Hamadaoui kept his eyes firmly on the ball in the air.

World Rugby’s laws state that a player in a realistic position to compete for the ball may not be penalised with a yellow card, even if the player tackled in the air lands dangerously.

Hamadaoui was lucky that he was deemed to be in a realistic position to get the ball, as his eyes on the ball would not have prevented further punishment alone

“A player having eyes on the ball is not by itself a mitigating factor when the match officials are determining whether potential foul play has been committed. The primary consideration is whether both players were in a realistic position to regather the ball.”

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Castres went on to win the game narrowly, with Kockott himself being yellowing carded in the final minutes.

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