Sunday May 27, 2012 Motu Matu'u massive hits and great sportsmanship against the Rebels

Motu Matu'u massive hits and great sportsmanship against the Rebels
49
Comments

Hurricanes hooker Motu Matu’u was responsible for taking out two Rebels players within the space of a few minutes in Wellington on Saturday. He put both Mark Gerard and Lachlan Mitchell in hospital, but showed he’s a class act too.

About two months ago Matu’u caught everyone’s attention with an incredible hit on Matt Hodgson that knocked the Force number eight out cold. He did something similar during the Hurricanes’ 66-24 demolishing of the Rebels this weekend, twice.

The first of his huge hits, on Gerard – who made the mistake of trying to dummy and step the replacement hooker – resulted in a damaged sternum. Gerard soldiered on for the rest of the game, despite the quite obvious pain he was suffering from and the concerns for his health. At one stage the female medic was quite comically chasing him around the field to make sure he was okay.

Rebels captain Gareth Delve, who was disappointed in the heavy defeat after they’d won their last two games, said that despite the brutal nature of them, the hits were perfectly legal.

“I didn’t see any issue with the tackles,” he said. “The guy’s hit hard and Mark Gerrard showed great courage staying out there otherwise we would have been down to 13 men.”

Mitchell was smashed by Matu’u in another ferocious tackle only a minute or so after Gerard, knocking him out instantly, resulting in him being stretchered off the field.

“With Lachie, it’s a sad sight to see him go off like that,” Delve said of Mitchell, who having not missed a match in their 28 game history in Super Rugby, will now be relegated to the sidelines.

On a positive note, Matu’u showed a tremendous act of sportsmanship as he went over to check on Mitchell as soon as he could, and just like Tana Umaga did to Colin Charvis some time back, turned him over to prevent choking or serious problems.

He thanked everyone for the positive support the next day, and admitted via Twitter that his opposition weren’t the only ones hurting. “Body feels like it’s been hit by a car,” he said.

You can view other great acts of sportsmanship, and big hits, in the related posts below. We don’t have a full clip of the Jerry Collins/Colin Charvis/Tana Umaga moment, but there is a short clip in the Collins ‘Terminator’ feature, also listed below, so have a look at that to see it.

49 Comments

  • Well they are highly toned athletes at this level and there's a great deal of adrenaline involved. The difference I guess is semantics, one is what Rugby is about (gaining territory, scoring points) one is the effect of priming a guy up and getting him psyched for the game (going out with the intent of going through everyone and anyone with an opposition jersey) You're right though, I notice people get hostile quite quickly on the net. No offence meant or taken on my part, it's all good.

    Reply
  •  ciaranbrk
    ciaranbrk

    He moved him into the recovery position looks like somebody took first aid still great sportsmanship.

    Reply
  • Yeah you're right about the CPR (to think I did a course and all :D), but my point was that you shouldn't just run over and flip someone, you need to follow a certain procedure. As for the spinal injuries, I'm afraid it's much easier than some people here seem to believe. Stroudos is absolutely right about the likelyhood, but in Rugby you can have a hairline fracture and not realise it and end up paralysed from the littlest thing (it's what happened my mate unfortunatley). Once you get involved with fundraising a whole world opens up and you realise just how many avoidable injuries occur. Look up JK14, it's a fundraising association started by John Kirwan for just these types of injuries. Anyways, alls well that ends well...for me the right thing is to look for a response, assure yourself that the guy hasn't swallowed his tongue and let the med staff do their thing. I think it's dangerous to encourage player intervention as I don't believe he did much evaluation before he flipped the guy. More instinct than awareness IMO. Agree also on the tackles being legal, nothing wrong with them I reckon.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Big man syndrome.. I haven't thrown my weight round recently...

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Not sure why you're getting all Billy-Big-Bollocks about it or who you're having a pop at here?? The last 5+ comments all agree with what you're saying...

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    And just to add, if you're NOT aware of the dangers then you have no right to get anywhere near a pitch!

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Are you guys really still on about the legality of the tackles? The first one was fine, in fact if the Rebels player hadn't stepped in I doubt it would have resulted in an injury. The second tackle was fine.. the law stipulates that tackles should not be higher than the shoulder... so aiming for a chest high, or even shoulder high tackle is perfectly fine. I have no suspicions that he tried to get head on head contact.. in fact if half of you arm chair players up there actually picked up a ball once in a while you'll find that it is quite common for heads to clash. They generally don't produce the same outcome but its not unheard of... Get over it, we like hard tackles, and if they send someone to the hospital then fingers crossed the bloke is going to be fine.. but last time I heard, we were all very much aware of the dangers of rugby before we set foot on the pitch...

    Reply
  •  schneet
    schneet

    look at the second hit, mitchell runs at him and gets low and tries to run him over.... You cannot blame the head on head contact on matu'u... What would you like him to do drop onto his knees to make a tackle everytime someone leans into him?? if mitchell had run at him up right he would have been hit in the stomach not the chest... He tried to go for the bounce and got cut in half. His fault for trying to be a hero.... Matu'u got into a perfect postion to make the hit, with body postion like that you are never going to perform a spear tackle unless you stand up after contact and tip a player on purpose. Less risky technique than alot of other players if you ask me..

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    On a rugby pitch I'd wait for the docs lol..

    Reply
  • Physically dominating, and intent to injure are not the same thing. I've played the game for over 20yrs now and have been involved at most levels. I've never once seen a guy happy to have injured someone. I'm also involved with what's called "smart rugby", something started off in New Zealand that's now gathering momentum around the world. The point being to improve technique and safe practice in what is essentially a physically demanding sport. It's dangerous when you don't know what you're doing. To compare Rugby to Boxing is very "apples" and "oranges". In one the object is to knock your opponent unconcious, in the other you try to score points and the variety of tactics involved is infinite. I don't agree with your statement that every tackle is "dangerous" and that it's most of the point, that's way off the mark for me. Making yourself felt and imposing yourself physically doesn't require dangerous play or trying to injure. It requires fitness and technique. Physically dominating is bullying people off the ball at rucks and driving them back in the tackles. Done with proper technique it's appealing to spectators and less dangerous for players. Bit of advice, as you don't know who you're writing to, take the condescending tone out of your messages. To presume that whoever disagrees with you "doesn't know rugby" is about as arrogant as you can get.

    Reply
  •  kenc
    kenc

    Changing the rules to protect player safety.... whatever next? it is consistent hits like this that made american football helmets regulation. Can you really argue that tackles where heads clash aren't dangerous? Whose fault is it? It's a legal tackle that the attacker is trying to lean into and it is this dipping into the tackle that leads to the clash of heads. Can't really blame the attacker as he's trying to protect himself from being crunched and the defender has set himself up at an initially legal height to smash the attacker.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Can I just add one more comment about the quality of this guy's tackling. Very often with these big hits clips, they look great but continue watching and the ball is secured by the opposition. In both cases here Motu'u is on his feet ready to contest the ball immediately. In the first one, he's first to the ruck and smashes a flanker off it securing very quick ball for his team; in the second he pops up onto his feet immediately after making the hit, grabs the ball and makes 5+m before going to ground and presenting good clean ball. In other words, not only is this bloke an absolute monster, he's techincally very competent too.

    Reply
  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    Your right, I'm in the NH, it's a lot softer here. The reason is there is too much soccer influence on the sport because of how big soccer is here. But none of the nh based rugby fans and players will admit it, because that means admitting the game is softer than down in the SH.

    Reply
  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    The most devastating legal tackler in the game today, and what is the response to his tackles? A bunch of softies crying that him hitting hard isn't in the spirit of the game! This is ridiculous. Players can't win with all the soccer-like fans in the game today.

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  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    "The lesson to take from this video is do not run straight at this guy and if you do for the love of god, dont get low and try bounce him." Amen brother. Perfectly summed up!

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Fair enough mate, good points well made. Agree with all of that.

    Reply
  •  ollie
    ollie

    If you'd bothered to read my post you'd have noticed that I said the debate was around the legality, not the danger element of these tackles. The dangerous bit speaks for itself - 2 tackles - 2 injuries. As for the actions of the opponent - this is never taken into account in any situation when considering if a tackle is legal - responsibility for a safe tackle lies with the tackler not the tacklee. It is not the point of impact that makes these tackles dangerous or arguably illegal - it is the way he rides up into people's faces.

    Reply
  • Stroudos, it's not a case of roll him over or do nothing at all. First you talk to the guy, see if he responds, if he's unconcious you check his breathing, if he's not breathing you roll him, if he is breathing you leave him. There's a method and an order in which to do things. Running over and flipping the guy like a sack of spuds is not to be advised, stats or no stats. As I said before, fair play to the guy for his sportsmanship, but I think in this day and age of pro-rugby, big hits etc. A little first aid wouldn't go astray. As for the tackle, nothing wrong with it really, I'd have a look at ruck clean outs before I started adjusting the rules on chest high tackles. Love the "proximity rugby idea"...hilarious

    Reply
  • Not at all, whatever you do in Rugby should be done with the intent to gain territory. Most people are taught to tackle by putting their head to one side and follow through once you've wrapped, that's rugby. Flying headbutts and attempts to injure have nothing to do with the sport. Injuries are a consequence, not the aim of the game.

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  • It doesn't look like he checked the guys breathing and wasn't too ginger about moving the guy either. There's a way to do it and this isn't it. His saving grace would be his undoubted best intentions, but I'd question the intelligence behind promoting such acts of "kindness".

    Reply
  •  themull
    themull

    Ferris and O'Brien really are making the game soft you're right...

    Reply
  •  schneet
    schneet

    Both mitchell and hodgeson from the force game a few weeks back duck into the tackles. Matu'u gets low, leads with his shoulder and uses his arms. Perfectly legal hits..... really dont understand what everyone is crying about... Secondly neck injures from whiplash come from high speed impacts like car accidents... although you could compare getting tackled by Matu'u and getting hit by a bus, i think he did the right thing by checking to see if mitchell was alive and putting him in the rescue position. There is very little risk of a neck injury for a tackle unless you drop the guy on his head. The lesson to take from this video is do not run straight at this guy and if you do for the love of god, dont get low and try bounce him. Legal tackles and good sportsmanship

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Aha, but how guilty would you feel if you'd stood idly by and watched a bloke simply stop breathing, in the knowledge that some simple first aid by you would have almost definitely saved his life? Just to clarify, "1 in 100" is my estimate only - or, more accurately, my guess. But I'm fairly confident that the probability is somewhere in that order. An old team-mate of mine once got knocked clean out during a game. It didn't look good at all. Ref calls out "is anyone here a doctor?" Our captain replied "Well, yes, but he's lying on the ground unconscious"...

    Reply
  •  kadova
    kadova

    I've a medical cert so here is what i was taught. We learnt you must put someone who lost consciousness in the security position because he can die otherwise, apart when a spinal cord damage is obviously at risk, like in motorcycle accidents when you must not remove the head gear either. From the video, it looks right to me to do so.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    2 brutal but perfectly legal tackles, and also great sportmanship brutal doesn't mean illegal, as these 2 tackles were well executed under the shoulders but like said, in some previous comments, the irb laws create tackles, as players will always try to find new ways to tackle "hard" in the laws. there's a tendancy to see tacklers make the first impact with the shoulder or the elbow and then bring the player on the ground. this first "shoulder" impact can be dangerous but for the moment, never malicious

    Reply
  •  ollie
    ollie

    As for the good sportsmanship, the intent is clearly good, but players should be better informed as to what to do. If this had been a Thom Evans incident then he could have killed him by rolling him. Great to see that his heart's in the right place though.

    Reply
  •  ollie
    ollie

    It seems that everyone is in agreement that these are dangerous tackles and the debate is around legality. One perspective could be that these are high but it's a grey area. Regardless of the initial point of contact, it's where the tackle finishes that defines it as high or not. He's finishing with the top of his head in contact with the tacklees chins. So does that mean it's high? If it was his arm/shoulder rather than his head that was doing the tackling, then these would be high...

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I see your point Stroudos, and statistically I think you are right. Nevertheless, if I moved an injured player and he would be unlucky enough to be left paralized (the so called 1 in a 100) I think I would be feeling guilty the rest of my life. Hell: in the US I would probably be taken to court for it and I would probably get sentenced to a few million dollar in damages. Maybe it would be good to instate a law that asks any player to immediately draw the attention of the referees and the medics. They can be there in about 10 seconds. (I am from the Netherlands: we think we can solve everything with some new rules, whahahahahaha)

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    Dave, Rugby World magazine wrote an special report about it in their april 2011 issue. In rugby in general it is being recognised as a serious injury. The long term consequences of frequent concussion are not even clear (depression for example?). An on field test has been developed to determine if a player is concussed (the Maddocks questions). It seems that in a worst case scenario you can die of concussion within two hours. Too much info to share here. Maybe you can find the article somewheren in the interweb. It's called Special Report Concussion. PS most players know the risk of getting concussed so you adapt your tackling technique. It's a bit harder to control when you get injured because of what your opponent does to you. Therefor I personally have no problem whatsoever with rules that are designed to protect players health.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    CC, I'm not a trained emergency responder and I don't have the actual stats in front of me, but I believe I'm right in saying that the possibility of vertebrae slicing through the spinal cord are well under 1 in 100, whereas the benefit in the remaining 99+ out of 100 cases of moving an unconscious person into the recovery position, (ie avoiding the far higher risk of the tongue blocking the person's breathing), significantly outweighs that risk. I mean you need to pray that you don't get one of those very rare instances of inadvertently paralysing someone, but as I understand it the chances of doing so are so slim that the more responsible option is almost always to take action rather than just leave them lying there. The whole "do nothing" mantra reminds me of the stories in recent years of rescue services letting people drown because they haven't done the relevant module in their health & safety training yet.

    Reply
  • The first thing I thought when I saw any of his big hits, was jeez that looks dangerous. Might be legal now but shouldn't be. Head making contact with head is reckless and dangerous. And as a trained emergency responder, no do not turn someone who has suffered a head injury on their side. Nice sentiment maybe, but that possibly fractures vertebrate could slice right thru the spinal cord with a simple twist of the body.

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    Was watching the match live and when I saw his genuine act of sportsmanship and concern for the opposition player I immediately hoped Rugbydump would feature it. Glad you guys did, the young guy deserves the recognition! Oh, and both were cracking, great hits - talk about making an impact on the game!

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    WHAT??!?? You're kidding right... tackling below the waist is just as dangerous!!! I would suggest touch but who knows how dangerous that could be on our hands... How about "proximity tackling"... tackler gets within 30cm from the ball carrier and he has to put the ball down..

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    What gave you the impression all the naysayers on here were from the NH and all the supporters were from the SH?

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Can't say I ever heard its illegal to aim for chest height and dip your head into the tackle... Firt tackle the 14 stepped in, otherwise his head would have been on the 14's left hand side... The second was just unfortunate... I'd never considered the dangers of moving someone, that is a very good point... he did it with the best intentions, so I don't blame him but I'm surprised it isn't more commonly highlighted that doing that could be dangerous.. Great video

    Reply
  • This is ridiculous, the first is slightly worse I'd say but as Gerrard steps just before the tackle Matuu probably just didnt have the time to react. With regards to his actions after the second tackle I genuinely dont see how anyone can have a bad word to say about it, he's seen the guy is knocked out and put him in the recovery position. Yes it may not have been the best thing to do in hindsight, but he was clearly concerned and simply tried to help a stricken opponent, get a grip people!!!

    Reply
  •  heavyhooker
    heavyhooker

    I am a coach for Juniors, if I had any of my boys hitting with this head position on a repeated occasions they would be doing many push-ups and field laps until they learned better. This is a dangerous precedence to be included as a "good hit" from a tacklers point of view. No card is warranted but this is just down right bad form. Good on Motu for his attention to the other player though, that is one thing I do teach my players - stopping the other side does not mean you stop caring for their health and safety.

    Reply
  •  korock
    korock

    For all you commenting that he led/leads with his head....check again! Particularly the Mark Gerard tackle....he is in perfect position but Gerard steps at the last minute causing his head to come into contact with his chest. If Gerard had continued along his expected route it would simply have been shoulder vs chest! As for his moving of the knocked out player...he obviously had good intentions and Im sure if there was any wrong in what he did he will be informed. Totally good sportsmanship. He checked on him twice!

    Reply
  • John Hayes did it better>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fqjpl0kqR0

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    Dangerous? Obviously! Illegal? Debatable. It depends on how much you slow the action down in the video. I don't know the rules on ''leading with the head'' in a tackle. Good sportsmanship? Most certainly. I believe he was genuinly concerned about the guy he knocked out. Tana got the same critisism from his own medics when he rolled Charvis over. To him it seemed the best thing to do at the time. From a medical point of view maybe it isn't. But you can't blame him for being concerned...

    Reply
  •  redyeti
    redyeti

    He is hitting just high enough on the chest to clip their chins with his head and knock people out. This is incredibly dangerous, obviously, but not technically illegal at the moment. If it catches on I can see the laws being adjusted to take this into account. We can't have players getting knocked unconscious by what are essentially flying headbutts.

    Reply
  •  fettsack
    fettsack

    Theses tackles are dangerous and maybe the authorities should have a chat about how to ref them because both of these also seem perfectly legal to me. When he rolled him it was clearly out of good intention, he put him in the "security position" for someone who has passed out, so he doesn't choke on his own tongue. Unfortunately as several pointed it out, it is dangerous for the player if there's a neck injury. I think the players should be told how to react quickly in this sort of situations.

    Reply
  •  fifthandlast
    fifthandlast

    Absolutely have to agree with some of the previous commenters, the damage in both impacts is done with the back of the head to the chin. If Matuu continues tackling like that it surely can't be long before we see him pick up an injury himself.

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    I was thinking a bit along the same lines. It's not that his tackle is illegal, it's that he hits the chest head on. I've always been told to tackle with my head to the side of a player's body, but Matu's hits head on. As a result there is no way that he can put his arms around the opponent at the same time, his arms go around later on, which accounts for the ballistic nature of these two tackles. It accounts for great tackles, but at this rate Matu'u albeit strong will have to stop his rugby career early on for one of the following: neck injury, vertebral collapse, or worse.

    Reply
  •  redyeti
    redyeti

    Have to agree with the general sentiment here. The tackles may not technically be illegal, but they're pretty dangerous, for both players involved. He leads with the head like an NFL tackler, only he doesn't have a helmet and neck-brace to protect him... I can see him getting a serious head/neck injury in the future if he keeps tackling like that, and he's going to keep hospitalising other players, which can't be good for the game. Also as others have pointed out, quickly rolling a guy over like that could have left him paralyzed for life

    Reply
  •  demosys
    demosys

    Matu'u smashes Mitchell with a high and dangerous "tackle" and makes a more dangerous move by putting him on the side and it's great sportmanship ? Are you kidding? Matu'u put two players in hospital and he gets a video on Rugbydump ? Great. He just deserves a red card for high tackle and that's it. I'm sick to see week after week that kind of video where dangerous "tackles" like this one are glorified. I would just remind you that here we are talking about Rugby Union. It's not League, Footy or US Football. It's Union with its rules. And according to these rules Matu'u deserves a card. Sorry for beeing soured old man who just loves this sport.

    Reply
  •  rocco11
    rocco11

    Sporting indeed but does anyone else think this guys tackling technique is completely illegal? He is deliberately going for for the chest with his head down. There are a couple of Samoans playing for my team here in Dublin who go for the same thing once or twice in every game. The other teams in our league got wise to this and started leading with the fist when they saw the boys setting themselves up for this kinda hit.

    Reply
  •  jeroz
    jeroz

    according to the first related post, he is 24.

    Reply
  • Great act of sportsmanship but after a serious neck injury in our team left a guy in a wheelchair, it's something we've been told never to do. Seeing the arms move can sometimes lead people to believe there's no fracture, but moving a guy with a hairline fracture (common from whiplash) can sometimes make things worse. Looks like an interesting prospect, how old is this guy?

    Reply

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