Friday May 25, 2018

Flip van der Merwe slams ban after pushing referee out the way

Flip van der Merwe slams ban after pushing referee out the way
19
Comments

Clermont second row Flip van der Merwe was suspended for four weeks for pushing the referee out of the way in a recent French Top 14 match. This week he took to Twitter to express his disappointment in the decision, and in what rugby has become.

“I love rugby, but I do hate what it has become! 4 weeks for this? #getoutofmyway” tweeted the 36-times capped Springbok, along with the video.

In doing so, Van der Merwe shed light on the incident and received a large amount of support, with most echoing his sentiments on what was unfortunate but also appeared fairly innocuous.

Laying your hands on a referee is, of course, frowned upon and should never be done, it would appear that in this case he was merely moving the official out of the way as he was clearly blocking the lock’s entrance to the breakdown.

While perhaps he could have been gentler, the referee himself was not particularly bothered, and he and Van der Merwe had a very brief chat about it at the time, with no on field sanction given.

Some former players joined Van der Merwe in condemning the ban, most agreeing that it is harsh.

“Crazy” tweeted Victor Matfield, while Bakkies Botha joked that if it were him, it would have been an eight week ban. Botha went on to say that he is happy he’s retired now, because [this type of thing] has become a joke.

This follows recent similar comments by James Haskell, who said that rugby is becoming a ‘pretty pathetic sport’, after he was penalised for a questionable high tackle.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen players in trouble for pushing referees.

In 2009 Brian Mujati infamously received a 6-week ban for pushing Nigel Owens, while in that same year flanker Neil Best was yellow carded for pushing George Clancy.

In 2014 big Ben Tamiefuna was suspended for 5 weeks for pushing Glen Jackson, then in 2017 Worcester Warriors prop Val Rapava Ruskin was suspended for 6 weeks for his shove of referee Greg Garner.

So while those are heavier bans than what Van der Merwe got, the incidents themselves are all slightly different. Is the ban fair or are things getting a bit ridiculous? Let us know what you think

19 Comments

  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g

    The fact the referee didn't think it was a big deal should have been the end of it. He was easily in the best place to judge how out of line Flippie was, and that should have been all that mattered.

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    Hard to be 100% certain from this angle but his entry looks fine to me. He's stood just behind the hindmost foot of his teammate prior to entering the ruck so he is onside and he enters through the gate. I wouldn't have pinged him for the entry or for giving me a nudge out of the way.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    Another reminder that rugby has laws, not rules. So does the Catholic Church. Even rugby had a dispensation, the Australian one.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    As a referee, I can say I've never been pushed off to the side by a player, or shoved, or anything else like that. I have collided with a player or two accidentally. It's bound to happen at some time during any given match that a referee is going to make contact with a player. If nothing is intended, no problem. I think this player could have easily avoided shoving the referee out of the way. He should have been taking a different route to the tackle/ruck situation. He seemed quite ready to join in from the side, not through the so-called "gate." A chat was all that was needed, not a ban, but a good warning that something similar should not happen again on the pitch.

    Reply
  •  pgrugby
    pgrugby

    Notice how the 8 acting as scrum half coming in to get the ball runs around Barners without giving him a push? I'll disagree with most people here and say a red card and ban is valid. It's accepted within the sport that you don't touch the referee. There are countless times in a game around rucks and mauls where the referee will be in the way of at least one player. With 30 players on the field he has to be occasionally be in the way in order to referee the game. If you let a push go it is something that will creep into the game and be away for players to take out a bit of frustration on a referee by claiming he was in the way. I think the reason the ref didn't card him was that he didn't see it and that as a referee you don't want to influence the game. A referee will make the calls/cards that he has to, but it's a lot harder to be subjective when he's physically involved. He's essentially saying "I'm going to red card you because you touched me" not because of something he saw the player do. I don't know if I've ever seen a referee yellow/red card a player for pushing him, even if it has ended up with long bans aferwards ... and were pretty definitely cardable offences at the time. This is a good example of Wayne Barnes just giving the player a talking to, yet it ended up as a ban. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTj2Vz8A4KQ

    Reply
  •  heavyhooker
    heavyhooker

    So let me get this right...Tevita Nabura gets 6 weeks versus the 12 he should have received for putting the cleats to someones face with a whole bunch of mitigating circumstances (all crap in my opinion) but an inappropriate push during play (not is anger to the ref) is a 4 week ban? Sweet Mother, what is going on with the committees? This was an inappropriate push that the player should know better for - 2 weeks maybe. Tevita...8 weeks minimum.

    Reply
  •  peetwindhoek
    peetwindhoek

    Nothing in it. Although Flip is so big, the ref probably thought it was a tractor going over him and Flip only "gently removed" him from the way... ;)

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    Ridiculous. If the referee deems it to be inappropriate, he can give a yellow card. Waiting until after the match and banning the guy for a month is ridiculous. Especially considering that there have been far worse cases of pushing a referee that have ended in no consequences.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Laws.. And he didn't whine about a card.. he whined about a ban...

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10

    Well, the H does look like a set of goalposts...

    Reply
  •  sjaaks
    sjaaks

    A referee is like a god. You don't even think of touching a god, come what may. We play a game with rules, referees and some coloured cards and the latter are shown to the best of us. Crying and twittering about it makes you a little bitch. A rugby pro whining about a card should change to freaking ballet or something.

    Reply
  •  oddjob
    oddjob

    Nothing, however will beat this assassination attempt on Rimmer Barnes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8yKQo9YxEg

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    exactly! I do have some sympathy for players if they push a ref who is genuinely in the way, but this wasn't the case here. Tweeting about it is pretty juvenile so 4 week ban deserved.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Instead of thinking "yeh, well,... *

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Looking back at prior incidents I can see I've changed my tune a bit... I made a mention of any punishment for pushing a referee is fine in my books... I think my issue is that when you see the self destruction of other parts of the game, when this gets lumped in with it, you'd think "yeh, well, serves you right" but I guess when you see red cards and silly bands for minor incidents, rather than this being one of those core golden rules of the game, it gets recognised as another form of OTT punishment...

    Reply
  •  tphillipsstl
    tphillipsstl

    I don't know about this one. If the ref was out of position and in the way I'd say a nudge to move him would be necessary. But the ref was at the side of the ruck, exactly where he is supposed to be. Which means, if he was in Van der Merwe's way, he was joining the ruck from the side. I'd have dinged him for that and then given him a warning. 4 weeks is probably excessive, but he deserves some discipline.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Somewhat agree with the above. Decision was made, bitching about it on twitter isn't going to change it.. you'll more likely make it impossible to change because it'll be seen as backing down to the social media influence. That being said "what has the game become?". I feel that the powers that be have tightened their unnecessary grip on so many parts of the game in a way that is far more than required that now little things are bursting out through the cracks and requiring knee jerk reactions. This was far from a violent shove, but a bit more than a brush past... So a talking to from the referee (as there appears to be) is surely sufficient? We're losing control. The diving is becoming more prevalent and less punished than promised due to (imo) a direct impact from the fact you can't turn round and belt someone for their indescretions, it's now easier and safer to dive to make a point. The Mujati incident was deserved of a punishment, I think it was a violent shove and it was unnecessary.. this look more like a strong guidance of moving to the side..

    Reply
  •  petersam
    petersam

    *harmless actions *wouldn't have banned him

    Reply
  •  petersam
    petersam

    Whilst sanctions like this for entirely harmless (in the sense that nobody was, or could have been, hurt) are also part of what I hate about modern rugby, at least the same irritation is reserved for players/staff using social media as a platform for undermining/questioning referees'/officials' decisions after the fact. I wouldn't have been him for the push but would be happy with the 4 weeks for the Twitter comment ;)

    Reply

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Flip van der Merwe slams ban after pushing referee out the way | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos