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Tuesday Jul 24, 2018

Referee describes this horrendous spear tackle as the worst he's ever seen

Referee describes this horrendous spear tackle as the worst he's ever seen

We all know that player safety, particularly regarding the head and neck, has been a key focus for rugby’s governing body in recent years, with dangerous tackles being heavily sanctioned and often debated. This one, however, is as clear cut as it comes. 

Canadian referee James Acker described to us what it was like when he refereed his second game in South Africa, and had to deal with this shocking tackle. 

It took place in the beautiful region of Franschhoek after Acker had been attending a referee academy in Stellenbosch. This was his first real club game in the area, a pre-season derby match between Simondium and Lanquedoc All-Stars.

There were about 3000 fans in attendance for the February (2017) fixture.

As can be seen, the Lanquedoc centre kicked ahead before grabbing hold of the Simondium number nine, tipping him and by doing that, driving him to the ground head first.

“I was so shocked. I whistled to stop time, but actually forgot to stop it on my watch,” said Acker. 

“In many years of rugby, I think this is the worst tackle I’ve witnessed.”

He kept his composure in what was no doubt a challenging atmosphere, and after consulting with his assistant on the touch line, showed the offending player the red card. 

The injured scrumhalf left the field, but incredibly, he played again the following week.

Acker added that he was unaware of any further sanction, due to the lack of official gamesheets as it was a pre-season ‘friendly’ match. 


  • katman
    3:28 PM 30/07/2018

    Although in these club games, and particularly in the Western Cape, the same cannot always be said for their supporters. There have been some horrible incidents of violence in recent years - on the field and in the stands - which is probably why the stadium announcer at 1:13 says "Everything is under control, people. Everything is under control".

  • gonzoman
    9:21 PM 27/07/2018

    Don't worry, they're busy eating couscous.

  • drg
    1:10 PM 27/07/2018

    That's why I love French D2 rugby, there's not really such a thing as "threats of punches"

  • drg
    1:09 PM 27/07/2018

    Careful, that's a bit of a slur there, you might end up with the RD french contingent coming down on you for that!

  • jmdavies
    10:09 AM 26/07/2018

    Thing i love about this is the lack of a physical reaction from the surrounding players. Bottom line, players do not go out and intentionally make this type of tackle, the inevitable pushing, shoving and threats of punches in top flight rugby is unnecessary.

  • albertabound
    8:01 AM 25/07/2018

    Only in Quebec were the words "great" and "man bun" ever uttered in the same sentence...

  • quebec
    11:16 PM 24/07/2018

    Fellow Canadian ref here. Can confirm: the ref does indeed have a man bun. Great ref. Great guy. Great man bun.

  • finedisregard
    8:16 PM 24/07/2018

    There are black rugby teams in South Africa with one token white guy? Good to see for a change! Did that ref have a man bun?

  • drg
    6:29 PM 24/07/2018

    I'm not entirely sure that spearing his opponent was his desired outcome, however THIS is a good example of using a red card for what I think may have been an accident.


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Referee describes this horrendous spear tackle as the worst he's ever seen | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos