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Monday Sep 17, 2018

Geordan Murphy claims rugby has 'gone too PC' after Will Spencer's straight red card

Geordan Murphy claims rugby has 'gone too PC' after Will Spencer's straight red card

Leicester Tigers coach Geordan Murphy has said that rugby has “gone too PC” after second rower Will Spencer was sent off for his challenge on Wasps hooker Tommy Taylor. A man up, Wasps won the match 41-35. Spencer will face a disciplinary hearing this week.

Spencer made the high tackle shortly before half time in the eight-try contest, incensing new coach Murphy as well as captain Tom Youngs, who could be heard saying “Rugby’s changed” just after the red card was shown by referee Ian Tempest.

Despite having some time to cool down, Murphy then followed up with a post match interview on BT Sport where he said “I think the games gone a little bit too PC” [politically correct] and touched on the fact that Spencer is extremely tall and struggled to get down that low to make a legal tackle.

He said that his ‘solution’ will be to pick players under five foot, which will make it very difficult to referee.

According to the laws right now, the decision appeared to be correct, as Spencer’s shoulder did hit Taylor’s face. Intent does not come into the equation.

The Tigers lock will have to face a disciplinary hearing in Bristol on Tuesday evening.

In the UK, you can see the full incident here. Non-UK viewers can see it in the highlights wrap below

Wasps coach Dai Young had sympathy for Spencer, but felt it was the correct call.

“We’ve had the directive that any tackle direct to the head is a red card. It’s harsh and I’d have been disappointed if it was on our side, but I totally understand.

“I don’t think it’s something the referee should be criticised for. If it was a yellow card I wouldn’t have complained about it. I hope the player doesn’t get banned for it. It’s difficult to get that 100 per cent right every time.

“We have to protect the players. The guys who are saying the game’s gone soft are guys who are not out there,” he said.

Below are the full match highlights, including the incident (at 1:07)

credit: btsport/premiershiprugby


  • im1
    9:43 AM 19/09/2018

    Is it too much to comment that Spencer's legs are almost straight at the point of impact? He has hardly tried to bend his knees at all. Surely a 6 foot 7 guy would know he has to try to bend his knees?So whether or not we think it should or should not a red card, it is ultimately his poor technique that has resulted in him getting sent off.

  • the_osprey
    8:25 PM 18/09/2018

    Red cards should be rare.  They ruin the experience for everyone.  They are becoming common and given in unfair and accidental circumstances, which is detrimental to the sport.  The test at the moment seems to be 'is there contact with the head?' - if yes, red.  No need for common sense or judgement regarding circumstances.  A player with a good disciplinary record, no malice and a good tackling technique could be sent off because the tackled player slipped or is just's just so frustrating.  On the other hand, you have a stupidly physical sport which has largely become too reliant on big men running at each other (yawn) rather than skill (CF New Zealand, Super Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets), leading to concussions.  World Rugby should be doing everything it can to foster a culture of running rugby and skill so that the super-intense contacts are limited.  Or maybe they need to introduce a card between a yellow and a red.  Anything but what they are currently doing.

  • 45678
    8:43 PM 17/09/2018

    It is a red card by the letter of the law, albeit a harsh decision.I don’t think anyone would complain if it were to be consistently implemented. There was at least one other high tackle in this game and several over the weekend all with different outcomes. 

    • pickay
      10:53 AM 18/09/2018

      I would be one of those who'd complain if it were to be consistently implemented. I am actually already complaining now. And my issue is what Wasps coach Dai Young said: "It’s difficult to get that 100 per cent right every time." I personally don't want to see a whole number of players being sent off with a red in every game for accidental incidents. So you would have wanted to see at least another red in that game? And several more reds in other games? Really? I generally don't like to see red cards, as they tend to ruin the contest. And if too many red cards are given for accidental stuff, then it gets random. In my mind, a red card should still be the ultimate punishment for unacceptable foul play and/or behaviour that is going against the spirit of the game, and not for accidental mishaps.

      • 45678
        10:57 PM 18/09/2018
        Top Comment

        No you have misinterpreted what I meant. If a law change is made then it needs to be consistently applied. There is too much inconsistency.  I’d prefer rugby to be the same physical contest it used to be but times have changed. 


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Geordan Murphy claims rugby has 'gone too PC' after Will Spencer's straight red card | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos