Tuesday Dec 19, 2017

Nick Abendanon sin-bin puts inconsistency in the spotlight yet again

Nick Abendanon sin-bin puts inconsistency in the spotlight yet again
11
Comments

A late Scott Spedding penalty helped Clermont Auvergne grind out a narrow 24-21 European Champions Cup victory over Saracens, but the officiating was somewhat of a talking point, as inconsistency reared it’s ugly head again. 

A dizzying final quarter produced a yellow card for each side, with Saracens’ Juan Figallo following Clermont’s Nick Abendanon into the bin, setting up a nail-biting finale to the game.

Abendanon was sanctioned for taking out George Kruis in the air at the restart following Owen Farrell’s penalty which had brought Saracens to within two points of Clermont.

It was a fairly clear-cut penalty, with Abendanon getting his timing all wrong in the challenge for the ball. But while a similar incident with Saracens’ Sean Maitland in the first half resulted in a simple straight-arm penalty, TMO Simon McDowall had other ideas.

Referee Andrew Brace seemed to have made his mind up and cited the similarities between the two incidents. However, McDowell overruled Brace and recommended a yellow card, much to the dismay of the Clermont supporters.

It has once more opened the debate as to whether the referee or the TMO should ultimately have the final decision on cases of suspected foul play.

Abendanon himself was a bit bemused with Brace’s decision but chose not to dwell on it too much in light of the result.

Speaking to BT Sport post-match, Abendanon said: “Well I thought it was pretty similar to Maitland’s one in the first minute of the game. If anything, I think his was probably worse than mine.”

World Rugby Law 10.4 (i) states: “Tackling the jumper in the air. A player must not tackle nor tap, push or pull the foot or feet of an opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play. Sanction: Penalty kick”.

Referees or TMOs are able to escalate the ultimate sanction to a yellow card or worse if the player lands on his head or neck. However, in this case, it is the consistency in the decisions which has angered some.

Maitland first half penalty

Abendanon’s yellow card incident

Abendanon post-match interview

11 Comments

  •  drg
    drg

    HAH! What makes this whole situation even more laughable is how you have just highlighted ridiculous wording: "The player who has made an entirely reasonable approach to the ball is often penalised, while the reckless player gets rewarded." The amusing thing is that your (and mine for the record) definition of the reckless player is entirely at odds with World rugby's.... I deem leaping Ito the air with numerous players all around 'reckless' (if I have to choose a player in this scenario, rather than just calling this whole thing RUGBY)....World rugby believes staying on your feet and trying to catch a ball is reckless...

    Reply
  •  breakaway
    breakaway

    "Take the opposition player out of both the equations and you can 99% guarantee that both those players would have caught the ball..." I agree with this point. It seems that players are now expected to refrain from placing themselves under a high ball that would normally then fall into their arms, just in case an opponent leaps into the air and lands on them. And the guy who doesn't make the dangerous leap is penalised. This is absurd. Especially in the Maitland example, he clearly had eyes on the ball with arms outstretched and ready. His opponent literally crashed in over the top of him and almost fell into his arms. In what way is Maitland at fault here? The fact that in the second case the TMO went against the clearly stated laws of the game that say the referee is sole judge is also very poor. The rulings around this part of the game seem to have no clear basis, it's all guessing and trying to read minds. The player who has made an entirely reasonable approach to the ball is often penalised, while the reckless player gets rewarded. If World Rugby doesn't see the inconsistencies in how these incidents and others like them are being handled, then the game has a major problem.

    Reply
  •  rdump0
    rdump0

    Agree. Kruis lands on his feet, then on his bum. His back only touches the ground a second afterwards, in the ruck.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Bit of a kick in the teeth to the spirit of the game as well don't you think... Makes you wonder when the TMO will start to become the full time referee and we'll end up with an American football style play with what seems to be a team of referees on the pitch throwing their flags around...

    Reply
  •  gonzoman
    gonzoman

    Ridiculous that the TMO essentially overruled the referee...that's a direct violation of both the laws and the TMO protocol that World Rugby currently has in place: 6.A.4 The duties of the referee in the playing enclosure (a) The referee is the sole judge of fact and of Law during a match. The referee must apply fairly all the Laws of the Game in every match. The TMO protocol clearly says that "in accordance with Law 6.A.4, the referee will remain the sole judge of fact and Law during a match" I don't understand why it's so hard to follow what's clearly written?

    Reply
  •  hoot
    hoot

    Abendanon ran into a brick wall and than got a leg in the face from his teammate, seems like punishment enough to me!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    It's incredible that the interpretation of whether one player was in a position to catch the ball or not has come about... Maitland jumps and does not catch the ball...why not? Because it was gathered up already... Abendanon does not jump and does not catch the ball...why not? Because it was gathered up already... Take the opposition player out of both the equations and you can 99% guarantee that both those players would have caught the ball... It's a ridiculous ruling altogether and I totally agree with Colombes....

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Logic controversy in a rugby game where every fall and jump are scrutinized and interpreted. After falls on the back, shoulder, head... Refs will now judge the "control" through the run, the speed, the high of the jump... In few years, the yellow cards will be given through Twitter fans reactions.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    How can it be anything more than a pen when Kruis landed on his feet? Are we not meant to give yellows/reds based on the outcome? Its correct it was a pen though as Abendanon was never in a position to catch the ball and that is the guideline on whether or not its a pen or just seen as an incident (which is the case regardless of how the players land, even if referees decide not to follow the world rugby published guidelines.....)

    Reply
  •  tphillipsstl
    tphillipsstl

    I would give both as penalties. But in today's hypersensitive game I could see how some would say both should be yellow. I will say that on first glance, the second looked more egregious because the black 23 came into the yellow player with a real lack of control. In the first one the yellow player was moving forward very minimally, and the black player actually jumped into him.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Ah, I see the controversy here, this was supposed to be a yellow to Kruis for his elbow to Abendanons head right...

    Reply

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Nick Abendanon sin-bin puts inconsistency in the spotlight yet again | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos