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Tuesday Apr 26, 2011

James O'Connor yellow carded for dump tackle on Zane Kirchner

James O'Connor yellow carded for dump tackle on Zane Kirchner

The Western Force beat the defending Super Rugby champions 26-21 in Perth on Saturday, with young James O’Connor slotting six penalties. He was however yellow carded at one stage, harshly perhaps, which freed up space for the Bulls.

Wallaby O’Connor, not yet 21, is key to the Force’s success, as was evident again on the weekend. He was carded by referee Mark Lawrence though for this dangerous tackle on Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner, which brought up further questions surrounding the tackle law.

At first glance it looked a solid hit, but Lawrence, who by all means was unlucky to miss out on a World Cup slot, deemed it dangerous. Law 10.4 (j) states that a player may not lift an opponent and drop or drive him into the ground while his feet are still in the air, such that the players head or upper body come into contact with the ground.

The law is pretty clear, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its correct to make sure it’s enforced each and every time that a player is lifted in a tackle. Could there not be a provision made for referee’s discretion? There is a difference between lifting a player in a tackle, and a spear .

Opinions may vary on this one, and so they should, but its not the first time that we’ve seen a tackle that is only dangerous in the rugby sense get blown up, and the player carded.

Nathan Sharpe could be heard saying ‘That’s just a great hit, surely?’ to which Lawrence responded ‘He’s lifted him. It’s not my law, that is the law.’

Do you think it’s worth sacrificing 7 out of 10 tackles to make sure that we avoid those 3 really dangerous ones, or do you think that its time the tackle law was revised slightly? I’m sure there’s lots of different opinions on this one, so please share yours as a comment below.

Time: 01:54

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