Fijian Dominiko Waqaniburotu had an appeal against a three match ban dismissed earlier this week following his suspension for a dangerous tackle against South Africa. His World Cup is effectively over. This is the tackle if you haven’t seen it yet.
As with another of the dangerous tackle that was cited in the tournament, Todd Clever’s, this incident happened late in the game. Waqaniburotu dumped young Pat Lambie during Fiji’s 49-3 loss to the Springboks in Wellington, and despite only being penalised at the time, was later found guilty of commiting a tip-tackle.
Waqaniburotu had initially admitted his guilt and had the suspension dropped from six weeks to just three. Earlier this week he appealed the decision, but an IRB judiciary maintained that it was a fair call. Unfortunately for the flanker and his team, the ban runs until October 10th, the day after the quarter finals, which Fiji won’t be taking part in anyway.
Lambie, who was on the receiving end of it, didn’t say whether he felt it was illegal or not, but did say that it felt like the biggest hit of the world cup so far.
“There were a few. I got late tackled on one occasion. I was relieved I didn’t have too many one-on-ones with those big Fijians, but I really enjoy tackling and I don’t have any issues with it,” said Lambie, who is only 20 years old and still looks like a schoolboy.
“It doesn’t matter if he is my size, or 10 foot taller than me. There’s a lot of timing that’s involved in tackling and a lot of technique, getting your head on the right side when you tackle. To know when you can be dominant in the contact or when you just need to get the guy on the ground,” he added.
Lambie said before the match that he’s not worried about the Fijians, and remembers that an old school coach once told him that all men have ankles roughly the same size, so go for them.
“When a six-foot-three player who weighs 112kg is running full pace at me, I’m not going to smash him backwards. The physics just don’t make any sense, so that’s when you need to be a little bit sensible, and go for the ankles and drop them to the floor,” he said.
What do you think of the Waqaniburotu suspension, harsh, or spot on?