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Friday Oct 16, 2015

Footage and recaps of the latest RWC 2015 Bans

Footage and recaps of the latest RWC 2015 Bans

One of the few downsides to this thoroughly enjoyable World Cup has been some of the TMO intervention, citings and suspensions that have taken place. Viewers have been confused and disappointed by a lot of the decisions, that quite frankly, don’t always make sense. 

We all know what happened with the Alesana Tuilagi situation, and in this past week there have been a few more that have caused fans to wonder why there appears to be such inconsistency, particularly when so much is on the line in terms of careers and of course, results.

Here is a look at four such cases from the last round. Under each write-up you can find a link to the official hearing document, which may shed some light on the process.


Ross Ford and Jonny Gray – Scotland – Dangerous tackle vs Samoa

Scotland have lodged an appeal against the bans dished out to hooker Ross Ford and lock Jonny Gray for the ‘lifting tackle’ on Jack Lam when Scotland played Samoa. While they reportedly are not set to contest the guilty charge, they do feel three weeks is incorrect.

Scotland play Australia in the quarter final this weekend so the loss of Ford and Gray is huge, prompting management to take a closer look at the incident.

“Both players have exemplary records and are widely acknowledged as model professionals who play the game in the right spirit. Their actions had no malice or harmful intention. Ross and Jonny have both expressed their surprise and disappointment at the three-week suspension which has been handed down,” said a Scottish Rugby Union statement.

World Rugby (formerly the IRB) have set out to punish ‘lifting tackles’ for some time now. Anything above the horizontal, no matter if it’s actually dangerous or not, usually ends up in a yellow or red card, and often a suspension.

In this case, the Judicial Officer deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of four weeks. He added one week for aggravation due to the need to deter this type of dangerous foul play. The suspension was then reduced to a period of three weeks for each player, due to their remorse, good character and clean records.

World Rugby’s rules regarding citings is that, believe it or not, the referee’s opinion on the incident can actually be viewed as inadmissable. In the case of Jaco Peyper, who was right there and saw what happened, the South African referee submitted his thoughts via email. He stated that he felt the position of Lam contributed to it.

“I can confirm I indeed saw the incident live referred to in the citing complaint. Samoa number seven found himself in position competing for the ball with his head below his hips already.

“The Scotland arriving players, number five and number two in an attempt to remove the threat to possession as per normal and in the dynamics lifted Samoa number seven’s legs and he tumbled over, however the player (was) supported on his hands throughout. After our internal performance review process, I am satisfied that I dealt with the incident appropriately.”

Scotland loose forward and lock cover, Dave Denton said: “It is difficult from our point of view, because for us, we’ve got a split second to make a decision that could have ramifications for the next three weeks.”

View full video | Read the full Disciplinary Hearing Decision


Sean O’Brien – Ireland – Punching vs France

Ireland will be without Sean O’Brien when they take on Argentina in their Quarter Final on Sunday. O’Brien was suspended for 1 week following a disciplinary hearing that reportedly took close to eight hours. The punch took place in the opening minute of the clash with France.

French lock Pascal Pape appeared to hold O’Brien back slightly, causing the powerhouse flanker to lash out with a strike to the midriff. Pape dropped instantly, and required some attention.

The officials at the time missed the incident, but the citing followed and after a lengthy process, which included reviews of all camera angles and additional evidence and submissions from both O’Brien and his legal representative, he was banned for just one week.

That followed an initial ruling of two weeks, which was reduced due to his good behaviour and clean record. He will miss Ireland’s quarter final against Argentina, but should they win, will be available for the semi final.

View full video | Join discussion | Read the Full Discplinary Hearing Decision


Paula Ngauamo – Tonga – Dangerous Tackle vs New Zealand

Tonga’s Paula Ngaumo received a yellow card and three week suspension for this dangerous tackle on Dan Carter during the Pool C match against New Zealand at St James Park in Newcastle. He was cited and banned under Law 10.4(j) for a tip tackle.

Ngauamo admitted committing the act of foul play, which merited a low-end entry point of four weeks. One week was added to deter from these types of dangerous tackles, but it after taking into account mitigating factors including his conduct prior to and at the hearing, his remorse, good character and clean disciplinary record, the ban was reduced to 3 weeks.

He plays at French club Mont-de-Marsan, so will serve out the rest of his ban there.

While Carter did land on his side, he was lifted and brought to ground with force, so the yellow card was no surprise. On the surface three weeks feels quite harsh though. However for the reasons stated above, and included in the full document, World Rugby felt it was appropriate. You can read more about it via the link below.

View full video | Read the Full Disciplinary Hearing Decision


Marcelo Bosch – Argentina – Dangerous Tackle vs Namibia

While Ireland will miss the services of Sean O’Brien, Argentina themselves will be without a valuable player, as centre Marcelo Bosch has been suspended for one week for the dangerous tackle he made against Namibia.

Bosch had actually just come on as a replacement in the 64-19 try-fest, but with Namibia hot on attack, he followed through with a clearly dangerous lifting tackle on playmaker Theuns Kotze.

Bosch was shown a yellow card and later admitted to being guilty of the offence.

It was deemed to have been low entry, 2 weeks, but then all the usual mitagating factors resulted in it being reduced to one week. The ban takes effect immediately and will run up to and include 18 October, 2015. Therefore if Argentina beat Ireland this weekend and make the Semi Finals, Bosch will be available. They will play the winner of Australia and Scotland.

View full video | Read the full Disciplinary Hearing Decision


Feel free to let us know your thoughts as there may be some here that you hadn’t seen until now


Ross Ford and Jonny Gray dangerous cleanout


Sean O’Brien striking Pascal Pape


Paula Ngauamo dangerous tackle on Dan Carter


Marcelo Bosch dangerous tackle vs Namibia



  • london1
    5:00 PM 18/10/2015

    I agree with most off your calls. However Bosch did not smash or let the player go. If you see the complete footage, once he lifts him up and realizes his tackle was going south he tries to "help" him down. He also pleads guilty, which I think is rather mature. After the Irish fall, O`Brein must be feeling very, very guilty. Complete mayhem from Argentina. I have been rooting for them all along....

  • drg
    9:50 AM 18/10/2015

    The difficulty for me with all of this, is when a player is YELLOW carded, but then banned. This is a clear example of referees and commissioners, NOT singing from the same hymn sheet. A yellow card is an on field punishment, it says "look, you've been a bit stupid, calm it down".... A ban says "you clearly don't know how to play with other kids, so no play time for you".... The two aren't the same! One is a minute on the naughty step, the other is a grounding.... What I'm getting at is, every time a player is banned having NOT been red carded, the world rugby mob are admitting their referees got it wrong... Why? Because there is no way the commissioners can get it wrong from the comfort of an office with no pressure....right?... Referees now get slow motion play backs and help from the tmo, but they still apparently get it wrong... Anyway, for me, Ford and Gray, nothing in it... Move on.. Sean O'brien, already said this "touch my bum, punch your tum".. Done dusted ignore the two idiots, or off field yellow. Tackle on Carter - this to me didn't look bad as an end result, however I can't work out why the tackle was done in this manner, twisting, elbows out, all looks wrong, probably a good "ban". The Argie, I'm very disappointed, you can clearly see it go wrong and, he does everything he can to support the players weight as he slowly lowers him to the ground... How that warranted even a yellow is beyond me.

  • katman
    8:35 AM 18/10/2015

    Not sure why Ford and Gray are appealing. That was ugly and very dangerous. Looks even worse than the Mealamu/O'Driscol assault.

  • vladimir
    6:14 PM 17/10/2015

    And Ford and Gray got found not guilty, and freed of all ban...

  • 10stonenumber10
    4:31 PM 17/10/2015

    It is no different to the current judicial system. The same reason top politicians can be caught with drugs, tax evasion and other crimes but are let off free. I have a feeling the top tier nations receive lesser punishments due to better representation. Take Tuilagi for instance, I doubt the Samoan team had even 10% of the funds the Irish team had to defend O'Brien, and we can all see how those turned out.

  • vladimir
    11:53 AM 17/10/2015

    Gravity + 120kg + Ford's strenght. Amazing how people forget about the fact that the whole player's own weight is applied with force to his own neck.

  • oliver
    8:51 AM 17/10/2015

    Bman, I agree with you on everything, except Tuilagi which is still a mystery to me. Also Galarza's ban is not brought up here? 9 weeks seemed very harsh to me, considering the "contact with the eye area" seems to happen by accident. His WC was over after just one game.

  • rememberthemer
    8:02 AM 17/10/2015

    Yeah, the Scotland is ugly. Frankly 3 weeks is not enough. What makes it super dangerous is that Ford's weight is driving downwards along the axis of Lam's body. It's not just gravity - it's gravity + 120kg all acting to bend a player's neck sideways. Far worse than just dropping someone like most other tip tackles.

  • bman
    8:44 PM 16/10/2015

    Gray/Ford... spot on, O'Brian... at least 5 weeks! if he has punched the french bloke in the Mellon he would have spent at least 5 weeks. Just because it was in the guts makes it no less of a punch... Ngaumo got what he deserved. Bosch.. I'm up in the air on this one. Late - yes lifted beyond 90 - yes, but he did seem to put him down somewhat in a safe manor. he did not drop him, he did not drive him down. So i guess 1 week seems fair. Now to get into the other one... Tuilagi, I do believe he did change his stride to go into contact. Did he strike him on pourpose in the head, no. Should have got at most an off field yellow. Burgess should have copped 1 week for his. Hooper - Got what he deserved minus the on field yellow. Pocock... same as what you said. Wood... now that one should have been a at least 3 games. Reckless, dangerous and caused an injury. Just see the knee that knocked George North out. wood had ZERO business swinging his foot in that situation. Now.. what about Habana in the USA match? he should have been at least yellowed for his in air collision with Scully. And he should have spent at least 1 week in the stands for that. But to finish my rant... the suspensions have been a joke.

  • eddie-g
    8:23 PM 16/10/2015

    I certainly agree that after the BOD/Umaga/Mealamu outcry, no-one should be surprised that these types of things are looked at seriously. What I have heard the Scots are arguing is that the punishment shouldn't be applied equally to both players. One of them - though to be honest, from the video I couldn't say which - is apparently less culpable so doesn't deserve a 3 week ban. But these are potentially dangerous incidents, and this one was definitely more serious than the Fijian lad who got a week off for the Pocock clean-out.

  • stroudos
    7:35 PM 16/10/2015

    I'm actually OK with most of these. Gray/Ford - exactly the type of action they're trying to discourage. Inherently dangerous with a genuine risk of neck injury. Three weeks each if anything is lenient, but ultimately fair I think; it wasn't that heinous. O'Brien - yeah it's too lenient by today's standards, but as little as 5-10 years ago, this would have been described as "taking each other's telephone numbers". Ngaumo - about right by the letter of the law and tackle directive, even if in my own opinion it's a bit OTT. Bosch, on the other hand - about as bad a tip/lifting tackle as you'll find anywhere. Off the ball too and must have known exactly what he was doing. And the player landed on his head. In context of other decisions, one week is incredibly lenient. I still maintain that: Tuilagi - ridiculous, even the reduced two-week ban is incomprehensible. Burgess - off field yellow correct decision. No further sanction required. Hooper - insane level of leniency for a dirty, pre-meditated act of dangerous foul play. Pocock - no case to answer. Summary justice for a cheat holding on, trapping a player in a ruck and preventing the bloke from playing rugby. Wood - probably should have at least been off-field yellow. I don't like people hoofing the ball when others are contesting for it on the ground. It seems dishonest and discourteous. But I don't think there's anything against it in the rules, so the worst you could level at him is probably a sportsmanship offence and even that is tenuous.

  • stroudos
    7:19 PM 16/10/2015

    I must be watching different footage to you on the Scotland one. For me, this is exactly the sort of behaviour that the tip tackle laws were introduced to combat. Comparable in fact with the Umaga/Mealamu clean-out on BOD in 2005. This type of ruck clean out is significantly more likely to result in injury than he majority of lifting tackles. See Lam here is in standard jackalling position over the ball. With both feet forcibly lifted off the ground he has no control over his own bodyweight. These boys don't stop there though, there is a concerted downward shunt as they drive him down into the turf. HEAD FIRST. Lam has almost no way of protecting himself here, you can easily see how serious injury to neck and/or shoulder could result from this. I think it's ridiculous that they are appealing this one.

  • colombes
    6:57 PM 16/10/2015

    I didnt see this double tackle by the scots. Ross Ford was quite uncluky to be cited as it was Gray who lifted the legs of the samoan player.

  • eddie-g
    2:10 PM 16/10/2015

    There's a few issues that come up with this topic. 1. Consistency of citings. These are the ones that were picked out by the citings guys, but there were others that were not. 2. Consistency of bans. 3. Time taken for the process to be completed. Dealing with 3 first, if Scotland are successful with their appeal, they will know on Saturday. The day before their next game. That's totally unacceptable. Hearing and appeal need to take place far more quickly than is currently the case. 1 and 2 are age old problems. It's a shame that it had to be during a world cup that these problems got thrust into the spotlight, but they aren't new. Inconsistency has defined the disciplinary process for as long as anyone can remember. The best you can say for each of these incidents is that you can understand why they were flagged for further review. But anyone claiming justice was served with eventual punishment meted out to any of these blokes is only admitting his recent awareness of the vagaries of the system. It's a mess, and if World Rugby doesn't clean it up, one day they'll be taken to a real court and lose heavily. These are professional players, their livelihoods are impacted by bans, so any process that results in a ban needs to be fair. And right now, it isn't.


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