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