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Wednesday Mar 26, 2014

Malakai Fekitoa smashes Conrad Smith with huge tackle

Malakai Fekitoa smashes Conrad Smith with huge tackle
16
Comments

Round six of Super Rugby produced some great tries, as seen in yesterday’s Best Tries of the round video, but there were also some big tackles, and none better than this in the Highlanders vs Hurricanes clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Conrad Smith recently notched up 100 games of Super Rugby, but it’s not getting any easier for the 32-year-old All Black, who was on the wrong end of this crunching tackle by Malakai Fekitoa.

Beauden Barrett, who finished off a great try in the game, flung a hospital pass to skipper Smith, which Fekitoa read well and took full advantage of. Crunch.

Some may say he took him in the air, and came close to lifting him illegally, but all in all it was a thumping hit and one that Smith won’t forget about in a hurry. He surely had words with Barrett.

The tackle helped to create the momentum that led to two Highlanders tries, to Phil Burleigh and Patrick Osborne, which effectively sealed the 35-31 Dunedin win.

As it’s bound to come up, do you think the tackle was 100% legal, or should have been penalised?

16 Comments

  • danknapp
    8:06 AM 30/03/2014

    I think this is completely legal. My only criticism of his tackling action is grabbing the guys legs and starting to lift slightly. I don't think he has come too close to making it illegal, but my original post was about the wisdom of such a tackling action. Best to keep it as legal as possible, do whatever you can to make it hard for the referee to ping you.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:03 AM 30/03/2014

    My friend and I tried 'recreating this 1,000 times in a laboratory.' The scientists went absolutely mental. Apparently this isn't the sort of testing rabbits are bred for.

    Reply
  • theguvnor
    1:40 AM 29/03/2014

    exactly, floaty rubbish pass that put him in the air to catch the ball, left him blind sided, took his time away and meant he had no chance to dictate contact...happy days

    Reply
  • drg
    12:29 PM 28/03/2014

    Is there a line which one can cross turning a perfectly legal tackle into an illegal one just by a finishing move? For instance I agree with you entirely up until possibly the last point of the tackle where Fekitoa appears to be driving Smith into the ground - upper body first.. *Of course, don't get me wrong, I view this tackle as completely legal* Soi the tackle up to that point is legal, but then (think of the children) surely driving a player who is now NEARLY (the agony) head first into the ground is 'illegal'... ? I get your slow motion/boxing analogy, but that is slightly different.. 'looking' like you just got rattle with a punch making your face wobble is a bit different to a slow motion of a hit where you DID just get rattled (or at least his teeth might of a little) :D Of course I don't suspect the referee's think 'right I have a big game coming up, I'll go watch RD and see if I can get some tips on good and bad decisions' but they will have video analysis and 'homework' so that they can review a relatively not-so-good decision (referees are always right...) that they make and adjust their style accordingly, so what I am getting at is: 1. The laws are words which define the legalities of the game. 2. Words have to be interpreted. 3. Interpretations can vary from one person to the next. 4. This tackle was interpreted as legal by one referee. 5. I guarantee something very similar has in the past, and will in the future, result in an outcry on here and a penalty or more on the pitch.. But for now, I'm glad we're all on the same page in thinking this was a fantastic tackle...and a HIDEOUS pass!

    Reply
  • drg
    6:15 PM 27/03/2014

    The problem is, 'fannying about with the legality' is exactly what referee's, the IRB and everyone else is concerned with. 'fannying about' is exactly why one week this tackle could be met with praise and the next met with a penalty/yellow/red... So whilst I think we can all agree that it is a shame we have to debate the legality (even if we still all agree it is legal) we still are all in the clouds when it comes to knowing exactly what we can and can't do... If we go by picture alone just above it doesn't look too good, upper-upper body coming into contact with the ground, tackler still having hold of players legs etc etc, so I honestly think that if this happens next week, it could very easily be classed as a penalty by another referee..

    Reply
  • drg
    6:10 PM 27/03/2014

    Lol. Would you say this is completely legal, or 'just legal' (like just within the line of legal..) I think think, I see his upper-upper body hit the ground first, legs are still in the air, and he gets driven back/into the ground with the tackler still holding his legs.. I think if one were to describe using those sorts of words people would think 'tip tackle' or 'spear tackle'.. and really it is the words in the Laws that define these tackles..

    Reply
  • danknapp
    10:28 AM 27/03/2014

    I know we stand on different sides of this debate usually, but I think this is an example of a legal hit. No problems with the lack of penalty - there is nothing to penalise - but had he lifted him a little higher and tipped him back a little further, and it might have been a different outcome. It is a question of where the line is, and I know we don't agree on that, but we can both agree this is legal.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    10:23 AM 27/03/2014

    You don't think it's the presence of his arm on the guy's legs at all then? I mean, if you care to look at the picture before the video starts, it's right there! I don't think this hit was illegal, but he should be careful. There is no need to lift a guy's legs up, it's adrenalin, but professional athletes should be concerned about getting themselves in trouble. Bit, legal hits without even a whiff of lifting/tipping are the way forward.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:59 AM 27/03/2014

    "The kind of pass you'd give someone who'd taken your last Rolo", as Mark Robson once said. A piss poor pass definitely, however I'm not sure it's actually as bad as it looks - did you see the distance Mother Fucker Toa covered to make that tackle? Beautifully timed run it has to be said.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:56 AM 27/03/2014

    Spot on mate.

    Reply
  • badge
    4:24 AM 27/03/2014

    That pass was harder to watch than the tackle was on Smith.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:58 PM 26/03/2014

    Ok, firstly I am fine with this sort of tackle, no quarrels, but I am regularly called out by many on here when I looked at a red card, or yellow card tackle and state how I feel it was a yellow at most/penalty etc... Looks to me like he pulls Smiths legs upwards (which imo is still lifting) in order to make Smith hit the deck, but Smith hits the ground upper body first.. and then it looks like he drives him into the ground.. I just don't understand how this cannot be viewed as somehow dangerous by many of the regular commenter's... I can see it now, Fekitoa gets a yellow for this tackle, I come on and mention how it wasn't THAT bad and I've seen worse given for less and I get the usual 'Smith could have died', 'worse for less isn't a valid excuse' kind of reactions...

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    1:52 PM 26/03/2014

    Great tackle. I don't think there's any real intention of lifting either, it's a big initial hit and then the driving back of Conrad Smith, who was in the air already, which causes him to start falling toward the horizontal. And there's no intent it seems to drive Smith into the deck, which can be the other thing which gets tacklers into strife. That said, knowing how such things are reffed these days, Smith could have made a meal of this and got the tackler into trouble. Good for him that he didn't. Basically, I'm glad this wasn't penalised, seen tackles like this harshly penalised in the past.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    1:00 PM 26/03/2014

    Nothing wrong with that hit, great one. He was daft to start raising his legs though, you're just asking for trouble if you do that. This is a good example of how a hard legal hit can start to change into a hard illegal one. It wasn't illegal, before I get replies to that extent, but tacklers should do everything they can to avoid getting themselves into trouble by avoiding lifting a guy's legs.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    12:43 PM 26/03/2014

    Hospital pass to the max! Did Conrad Smith owe Barrett money or something?

    Reply
  • proptank
    12:24 PM 26/03/2014

    Great tackle, nothing wrong with it at all.

    Reply


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