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Wednesday Nov 7, 2012

James Haskell big hit knocks out lock Alistair Hargreaves

James Haskell big hit knocks out lock Alistair Hargreaves
26
Comments

Wasps forward James Haskell was slapped with a retrospective yellow card following the big tackle he made on Saracens’ Alistair Hargreaves on Sunday. Here is a look at the tackle, and an interesting discussion regarding TMO use for foul play.

Second row Hargreaves had an eventful game as he scored his team’s only try, but was also yellow carded for a ruck infrigement, and later knocked out cold by what looked to be Haskell’s head.

The England forward went into the tackle with both arms up, but got his head on the wrong side as Hargreaves ducked down in contact. The South African lock left the field on a stretcher. 

Referee JP Doyle referred to Television Match Official David Grashoff for a foul play recommendation, and Haskell was subsequently penalised, but was not shown a yellow card.

He has since received a written warning and the level one citing goes on his record, meaning that if he receives another two yellow cards, he will face a disciplinary hearing.

Saracens Mark McCall said that they were surprised with the ruling: “It wasn’t the greatest tackle of all time. A penalty on its own and no yellow card was a bit lenient.”

The commentary team, including Austin Healey and Ben Kay, had a lengthy discussion about the tackle, the use of the TMO for foul play, and the rise in players appealing for yellow cards.

The whole discussion is included in the video below, so have a watch and listen and please share your thoughts as a comment below. There’s plenty to discuss and while the video features a player being knocked out (never good to see), it was requested for the sake of discussion and reference.

If you’re not registered to comment yet, you can do so here.

26 Comments

  • pretzel
    2:52 AM 10/11/2012

    Bullshit it doesn't matter... the onus is on the tackler. As I said below Haskell CHOSE to go high and as such he ran the risks of going high (player ducks and now your higher up tackler becomes a "high tackle")...

    Reply
  • pretzel
    10:50 PM 08/11/2012

    Don't be too pedantic, we all know when someone says "rules" that they mean those things that we should and shouldn't do in rugby...no need to start a penis measuring contest...

    Reply
  • pretzel
    9:39 PM 08/11/2012

    Ok guys here is how it is... Haskell, COULD have got very low wrapped up Hargreaves legs, and let Hargreaves fall over his shoulder, therefore perfectly legal tackle, yet extremely soft and allows the attacking team to move forward.... 100% safe (or 99.999%) from a legal side of things.... However, he did not did NOT choose to do this, he instead chose to GAIN an advantage, by hitting hargreaves with a monster high-up hit and (in theory) forcing him back.... so he chose the more "risky" option, and Hargreaves ducks.. Haskell nearly takes his head off and although it was an "accident", it could be deemed a somewhat reckless series of decisions by Haskell... he knew the laws and he chose to play right to their limits and it didn't pay off... I think a penalty is fine in this situation, yellow would be too harsh, but a penalty is fine...

    Reply
  • gonzoman
    9:15 PM 08/11/2012

    I think the outcome was correct, but the process that led to it, and the justification for the call were rubbish. High tackle: yes, even if Hargreaves ducked. Yellow card: yes; the high tackle part was kind of accidental, but definitely a result of "The Brand" aiming for the collar-bone (pre-duck) in an attempt to put a big lick on Hargreaves. Also, there was a ridiculous amount of force. I'm not saying he should tackle softer, I'm saying he should be more careful with where and how he applies that force. Reckless play by Haskell, and he should spend 10mins thinking about how to legally and safely apply all the force his frame can exert. On to the ref: as a referee myself (Rugby and Ice Hockey at fairly high levels), I know that nothing undermines your authority as hesitation and indecision. I agree with the user that posted that they would prefer to see the occasional mistake vs. the constant self-doubt. Make a decision, and be firm. If you realize later you've cocked up, then be an adult and admit it. You'll get a lot more respect from the players and coaches that way, vs. constantly passing the buck to the TMO or citing commissioner. This is what should have happened (assuming the ref saw anything...): - blow whistle immediately and loudly (dangerous play), and indicate the penalty - blow whistle again and signal time off - call over The Brand, explain that "the tackle was high, and reckless" - show yellow card - resume play (when possible) Simple, clear and with authority. No need to explain further, no need to enter debates, watch highlights, etc.

    Reply
  • browner
    8:58 PM 08/11/2012

    Full back .....NO ! Law 10 [e] He's not entitled Above the should is NOT a legal area Wrapping is irrelevant. x

    Reply
  • browner
    8:53 PM 08/11/2012

    Since professionalism, hits have got higher, and the head injury stats are rising ....... governing bodies need to be strong, bit hits aren't about winning possession they are about doing damage.......reward proper tackles by letting players compete for the ball and you will remove the 'justification for the big hit/injury tackle

    Reply
  • browner
    8:49 PM 08/11/2012

    Here Here to Chris .....!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:11 PM 08/11/2012

    I would say The Brand's initial body position and angle of movement were about right for tackling a 6'7 lock. But yeah, the onus is on him (Haskell) to adjust for the fact that Hargreaves ducked.

    Reply
  • guy
    2:51 PM 08/11/2012

    +1 for using 'The Brand'. Totally forgot about that episode.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:14 PM 08/11/2012

    An unfortunate accident. Sounds like Hargreaves was OK shortly afterwards, (notwithstanding the very valid concerns raised above by Mr Galwegian). But it is an accident that could arguably have been avoided by better body positioning by The Brand. The resulting high tackle / contact with Hargreaves's head clearly merited a penalty. Other than the wording the TMO used (I think "foul play" is incorrect), I think he and the ref got the sanction spot on. Penalty, no more. I would argue for a penalty reversal for Borthwick demanding a yellow card like some bloody footballer. In principle I agree with Austin Healey in that some recent measures are detracting from the ref's autonomy and consequently his authority over the game. But I think using the TMO for this type of incident has generally been a fairly useful addition. The retrospective yellow card, however, totally undermines the ref and other matchday officials, as well as having no effect on that game itself. So in that respect I feel Ben Kay's right to say anything that helps the officials make the right call *during* the game should be enouraged.

    Reply
  • redchocolab
    11:30 AM 08/11/2012

    this head clash did seem accidental. but it was a high tackle and its a yellow card. as a big tackling kiwi- i myself have lead with my head plenty of times when i've been pissed off with a player... more and more players are now wearing head gear and are using it as a weapon, delibratly leading with their heads offensively... if your heads so sore that you wear head gear then you should be treated extra harshly if you use to offensively... a charging head butt can kill someone...and will... and the crowd cheered on...

    Reply
  • zakirgrrr
    9:02 AM 08/11/2012

    I think the tackle seemed suspect because of how high he went but he did try to wrap with both arms

    Reply
  • 7:17 AM 08/11/2012

    Completely agree with galwegian. This is bigger than the game, this is people's. You know what sports regularily have players knocked out with permanent brain damage for the beer drinking swillers on the coach; mma and american football, which basically no one particiates in except for pros. Do we care that little about our participants that we let them get knocked out for our watching enjoyment? That's not rugby now is it? HASKELL went too high, near the head and ended up knocking his opponent out, that's a yellow, plain and simple.

    Reply
  • filth
    6:41 AM 08/11/2012

    Does anyone know if you can tackle in rugby anymore?

    Reply
  • galwegian
    3:44 AM 08/11/2012

    I want to put forward what will be an unpopular position. It is very concerning that rugby players are getting so many concussions. This is going to put our players at risk of long-term neurological issues after their playing careers are over. It will damage the reputation of the game, and make it difficult to bring young kids into the sport. The discussion here on RugbyDump is pretty typical of the broader rugby world -- big hits are celebrated, if they involve concussions that's life, get over it. Everyone actively involved in rugby knows that concussions are under-reported, players want to stay on the field no matter what. As a sport we're ignoring the long-term, which is unfair on the players and damages the rugby brand. So how do we protect against concussions without stripping the game of the ability to make big hits? The vague gesture of wrapping arms around the target when tackling is bollocks, when the hit has been shoulder to jaw at speed by strong players, that law protects nobody. A simple solution could be called the 'crest rule' -- the club/country crest on the chest is a standard mark on all jerseys. Any hit below that mark, especially if requiring a wrap, is never going to put the head at risk. This is a great tackle from the Rugbydump archive: http://www.rugbydump.com/2010/09/1585/counties-prop-jono-owen-smashes-manawatu-flyhalf-tomasi-cama This, on the other hand, shows two hits by Motu Matu'u where contact is made both times in the upper chest, the head snapping forward both times. http://www.rugbydump.com/2012/05/2607/motu-matuu-massive-hits-and-great-sportsmanship-against-the-rebels No attempt made to scapegoat Matu'u, he was, as pointed out by the commentators, perfectly legal, and he went out of his way to help to unconscious player after the second hit. This can't go on, though, it's bad for the players and bad for the image of the sport. Something needs to change.

    Reply
  • pretzel
    3:31 AM 08/11/2012

    @The Green Mafia: I totally agree with you when it comes to the referee... it's nonsensical to think that every time a player can "wrap" not to mention the fact that "wrapping" is not even in the laws... I (probably wrongly) believe that it merely mentions something like "attempting" to wrap, or use arms, or something.. As for the duty of care, it matters not what the ball carrier does, the onus is on the tackler, much like the whole tip tackle/spear tackle thing, the ball carrier could wriggle so hard that the tackler cannot hold him properly and it would still be the tacklers fault... I am not saying if this had been a horrible neck injury that we should "blame" Haskell and expect some sort of repercussions, as it would be a horrible accident, and I am sure that we can all agree on that, however what I would say is that it is still up to the tackler, as far as I am aware there is no law which stipulates a tackler is exempt from punishment due to the ball carrier "ducking into a tackle"... As I said, this is certainly no "Hang Haskell" campaign (although I am not fan of his..), and of course one cannot expect Haskell to alter his tackle technique (as poor as it was) in a split second, however HE chose to hit HIGH, and it didn't work, therefore he has to "carry the can" on this one... lets say he chose to hit him in the lower torso area, he'd probably have snapped Hargreaves in half and we'd all say be talking about how it was an incredible tackle...

    Reply
  • heavyhooker
    1:58 AM 08/11/2012

    The multiple angles of cameras, the armchair refs that have the ability to stop and playback multiple times and then critique the call is turning the refs into calling a no risk game. A bad hit is obvious, as it was 10 - 15 years ago before multiple playbacks. Refs mostly call a fair game and over time equal 'bad" calls will be made on both sides. I say trust the refs to blow and whistle, call the game and shag the critics. TMO is slowing things down, cowering the refs and ruining the game. This was an accident, no penalty as the runner ducked into a less than well placed tackle and the yellow . . .that is crap. i am with colombes and italianref.

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:59 AM 08/11/2012

    Illegal tackle because Haskell clashed the sarrie player on the head But not malicious, because he clearly tried to wrap his arms around so, the TMO recommendation for a simple penalty seems fine on the TMO debate and players prefering to put pressure on the ref decisions Nothing very new... Players will always try mind games, but the refs will always try to direct his game in the most simple and "short" way. if not, prepare oursleves to discover a NFL slow rhythm during rugby matchs

    Reply
  • guy
    12:36 AM 08/11/2012

    Well, to be honest: the level of decision making by the referees has not gone up since the introduction of the white card and the TMO for foul play. Referees seem to be more inclined to issue a yellow in most cases and let the citing commission deal with a proper punishment. I definitely believe this is undermining the authority of and respect for the ref. Personally I would like him to make a clear and firm statement, even if it is a wrong one every now and than, instead of an ambiguous one. I mean: for God's sake decide something! In this case: clash of heads, bad luck for one of them but could have been nasty for both. In the interest of player safety I can understand the penalty. But the off field yellow I really don't understand.

    Reply
  • xenophile
    12:22 AM 08/11/2012

    Have to say that although Haskell may not have intended injury his actions were dangerous and could have seriously injured his opposing player. What he did was not tackle the man, but rather hit him straight in the head. I think a penalty and a yellow were even warranted. Before you critics start to say I prefer soft rugby, I disagree entirely. I love hard-nosed and extremely physical rugby, but as someone who has received countless headshots like the one delivered on Hargreaves I would like to see them eliminated from the game.

    Reply
  • 11:30 PM 07/11/2012

    Can't say I agree with you or the ref, pretzel. When the referee says "you have to complete the tackle", with me understanding that his problem with that tackle was that haskell didnt wrap, I think he is wrong. The whole situation and the impact happened so fast that hargreaves was bumped straight to ground, making it impossible for haskell to wrap him up, eve though he did try. As for the high tackle, I agree that the tackler has the duty of care, but that only goes so far. Haskell comits himself to the tackle, but in the last meter of his stride, hargreaves' head goes down a good 40cms. It's bloody hard to correct that as a tackler, when it hapens in such a short space/time, and instead of catching the carrier square in the chest, the tackle was on that dangerous "shoulder and sliding up" area. It was an unfortunate accident, but not really anyone's fault, and certainly doesn't call for that whole level one citing deal on haskell. He can be quite a thug, but this time it wasn't his fault and he was lucky not to pick up a serious neck injury himself

    Reply
  • pretzel
    11:11 PM 07/11/2012

    On my phone here so I don't have the benefit of flicking back on to the video to find the time of the frame I'm talking about, however it's shortly after the commentators talk about players appealing in tight games and one says "perhaps it was a little high" that particular angle looked like Haskells shoulder makes contact with Hargreaves head, from the other angles it looks like head on head but that one really looked more like shoulder on head. I initially felt it was a bad call, however of that angle is not deceiving and it was shoulder on head then I'd say penalty was a right call and perhaps (but not 100%) a yellow... Tackler has the duty of care really... Obviously head on head is an accident but as I said shoulder on head is a penalty...

    Reply
  • elvis15
    11:05 PM 07/11/2012

    Hardly a good tackle from a technical standpoint, especially when you consider a lot of forwards will lower their shoulder into a hit in close. I don't know if I'd go for a penalty on the initial reaction, but I could see the reasoning for it when you get to see Haskell's right arm swinging in over and over in the slo-mo. It really doesn't look like he wanted to use that arm to wrap in the tackle, but rather make a big impact.

    Reply
  • poccio
    11:02 PM 07/11/2012

    I personally think that tackle is high but no malice and the call was a right one. The whole TMO debate is interesting and I get A.H's point but I think in the end it's a good tool for refs to have...this shouldn't encourage players to appeal to the ref though, if anything they should take any decision made with the help of the TMO as almost certainly correct or at least as correct as it can be.

    Reply
  • 11:00 PM 07/11/2012

    ...not that I'd agree with him if he didn't have TMO, I just might understand the error as I see it.

    Reply
  • 10:57 PM 07/11/2012

    I don't agree with the ref here, especially as he had the benefit of the TMO. Haskell went for a big hit as he's entitled to do, contact was made in a legal area, wrapping was impossible due to the movement of the player being tackled, not due the movement of the tackler...surely that's the difference between foul play and a simple accident of play? I think a penalty is the wrong decision and I can't get my head around the yellow, oh well. Interesting view on the TMO and ref's trusting themselves, in two minds about that one.

    Reply


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James Haskell big hit knocks out lock Alistair Hargreaves | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos