Saturday Oct 15, 2011 Sam Warburton red card in Rugby World Cup Semi Final

Sam Warburton red card in Rugby World Cup Semi Final
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Comments

France are through to the Rugby World Cup final following a 9-8 victory over a Welsh team that had their captain red carded in the first half. The decision from referee Alain Rolland has divided rugby fans, with many puzzled by the call.

It’s a decision that will be spoken about for many years to come, as Rolland gave Sam Warburton a straight red card for a dangerous tip-tackle on French winger Vincent Clerc. By the letter of the law, Rolland probably got it right, but being a World Cup semi final and going on the consistency shown by refs in the past, it seemed a fairly harsh decision.

“Having looked at it I think we accept that Sam has lifted him. It probably warrants a yellow card under the direction the referees have said about players being lifted,” said Warren Gatland.

“But he lets him go. He doesn’t drive him into the ground. The player was fine to carry on. The thing that surprises me is the reaction of the referee is instant and I thought an experienced referee at that stage would have said ‘hang on a minute, let’s bring the touchies in’… they would have had a chance to look at the screen and see the replay and perhaps made a cool judgment.

“But that just came out of the blue … for an experienced referee to make such a crook decision in a semifinal of the World Cup … I just thought that decision ruined that semifinal,” he added.

French coach Mark Lievremont said he felt Warburton deserved to be sent off. “I was quite disappointed that a semifinal match became unbalanced so quickly, but it was a very dangerous tackle that deserved a red card,” he said.

Wales somehow managed to compete despite being down to 14 for the majority of the game as the French failed to lift their intensity, and had it been for better goal kicking and decision making from the Welsh, the result could have easily been so different.

Warburton now faces the prospect of being banned for up to 10 weeks under the IRB regulations. If the red card decision is upheld, he will face a suspension of anything between 3-10 weeks, which will rule him out of the opening rounds of the Heineken Cup with Cardiff Blues.

In other matches in the tournament we’ve seen tacklers lift players above the horizontal and only receive yellow cards, or penalties. Those usually result in suspensions however, which in essence says that the decision was incorrect at the time and the player should have been red carded.

In this case, Rolland took a strong viewpoint and applied the 2009 directive from the IRB that states if ‘The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the players safety.. a red card should be issued for that type of tackle.

For the Welsh, and rugby fans in general, the frustrating thing is that referees don’t always apply this, so when it happens in such a crucial game, it’s difficult to accept, and even understand.

It was a courageous effort from Wales, but they will rue their missed chances, and France go on to the final, where they will face the winner of tomorrow’s semi final between the All Blacks and Wallabies. Wales will play again however, in the third place playoff.

The below video includes the tackle itself, interviews, the views of Francois Pienaar, Lawrence Dallaglio, and Martyn Williams, as well as a look at other tip-tackle incidents from this World Cup.

The most sensible comment (from a registered user) will receive a Rugbydump Hoodie.

137 Comments

  •  gunshowmckenzie
    gunshowmckenzie

    If that had been McCaw then he wouldn't have been sent off, I really do feel that favouritism was shown to the all blacks, especially in the final, but that's another story anyway...

    Reply
  •  kiwibob
    kiwibob

    I'm sorry, while I don't like the decision that much, it is justified. If Sam had just driven forward with his tackle it would have been an excellent tackle and driven the French back. However he decided to lift him AND THEN just drop him down. There were 2 dangerous offences in there and looked quite intentional. While I don't think it should have been a red card it is entirely justified and Allan Rolland knew the weight of his decision.

    Reply
  •  nemo34
    nemo34

    The referee was kind enough to provide Warburton with a card that match his jersey. Now you know why aussie wear yellow shirts.

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    The problem I have with giving a red card for a tackle like this is that it sets a dangerous precedent for future games. If "dropping a player from a height with no regard for his safety" is now deemed a red card offense, then by extension, routine occurrences such as taking a player out in a line-out or tackling a full-back in the air when he goes up for a high ball are also red card offenses. In both those examples, players are falling from a much greater height than Clerc is in this tackle, and are in no position to protect themselves, so they should be red card offenses too right?! If players start getting sent off for everyday incidents like these, there wont be anyone left on the pitch at the end of the game!! In my opinion, red cards should be reserved for only the worst of foul play. Gouging, striking a player, driving a player into the ground etc. In all other cases, a yellow card is sufficient punishment.

    Reply
  •  mise
    mise

    Rolland's decision was wrong, I have now decided, for the following reason. here's the quote: 'The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the players safety.. a red card should be issued for that type of tackle.' see the bit in the middle: "with no regard to the players safety". I contend that Warburton showed _some_ regard in relatively benignly dropping Clerc upper back neck and back of head at one and the same time. He could have dropped him 'more badly', in other words.

    Reply
  •  fraggle
    fraggle

    Just because it wasn't malicious doesn't mean he shouldn't be sent off! Was it unfortunate? Yes, did it ruin the game? Yes Does warburton have a great disciplinary record? Yes Were Wales the better team? Yes Was there inconsistency in applying this rule in other games? Yes Does any of that affect the referees decision? NO!!!!!!!! The rule is clear, and the ref enforced it. He was dead right. It was a dangerous tackle. I feel sorry for Warburton and Wales, they were deserved to go through, but really, some of the commentary is pure rubbish. Pieanar even said that the ref should have gone to the television match officials. That shows how knowledgeable he is on this, because you cant go the TMO for this kind of incident! To be honest, Warburton shold have known better than to leave go once he had Clerc upended.

    Reply
  •  munsterman
    munsterman

    I think this 'reasonable commentary' on the red car violates the character limit on the comment posts on this site but it's worth a read. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2011/1017/1224305920769.html For the record I still think the red was a tad too harsh.

    Reply
  •  andrewsmall
    andrewsmall

    The decision for a red card by Rolland was, by letter of the law, correct. He lifted him beyond 180deg, and then did not bring him down to ground with good control. However, in professional rugby, this tackle would usually have resulted in a yellow and/or a penalty, not a red card. This does not mean the call was incorrect however. The call was the right one, and even Warburton and the Welsh team agree and the IRB would have overturned the card if it was incorrect. A 3 week ban does show however that this was not all that severe. Correct call and well played to the rest of the Welsh team for holding on as well as they did, and not reacting badly to the call.

    Reply
  •  bokkejonesy
    bokkejonesy

    This tackle was clearly dangerous as he tipped him above horizontal and then let him fall to the ground on his upper-back/neck...always should have been a red card. The fact that it happened in a WC semi should have no bearing on the decision and should still carry the same punishment. Might have cost Wales the game but thats irrelavent, good call by Alain Rolland...for once.

    Reply
  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    Downside of professionalism. Players will go that extra mile.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Very amusing. But mis-directed I think, seeing as all of the Wales team and coaching staff have sucked it up, congratulated France and unequivocally refused to blame the referee. This includes Sam Warburton and I'm unaware of any single exception in the whole Wales rugby set-up. (Actually Shaun Edwards maybe, but he's from England, where we always have to blame someone else). In addition, I know quite a few Welsh people. One of them hasn't stopped moaning about the ref since the moment the red card was shown. Every single other Wales rugby fan that I've spoken to has been unbelievably dignified. Comments I've heard have ranged from "the ref's decision is final, nuff said", to "wouldn't have made any difference if we'd kicked our points", to "I'm just immensely proud of the performance". The Welsh team and the vast majority of their fans have been absolutely exemplary in their attitude and I humbly doff my hat to them. Hope we see one final massive, proud performance from them against the Aussies.

    Reply
  •  mlaide13
    mlaide13

    Sorry that should read; the closest touch judge did not have line of sight

    Reply
  •  mlaide13
    mlaide13

    Correct and brave decision by one of the games best refs. Alain was in perfect position to see the incident real time and not only make the correct decision but remained calm and did not let the occasion sway his judgment. He did not need to call on his assistant referee's advice because the closest touch judge did line of sight on the incident and the other was on the far side of the pitch. Granted that it was not ideal that this incident occurred in the Semi-final but the ref is there to ref the incidents that occur and to be impartial as to the occasion and teams. Sam lifted Clerc's hips and legs above his (Clerc's) shoulders and dropped him on his shoulders and neck. The rules are there in Black and White, the IRB backed AR and even Sam and the WRFU aren't disputing the decision. Finally to all those blaming AR for the Welsh loss, SJ made poor decisions for three drop goal opportunities. A) Trying one from his weak foot brave but should have moved the ball or taken contact and reset. B) being in perfect drop goal territory and deciding to run the ball resulting in a knock on. C) not having the stones to try it from the 10m line when it really mattered in the dying minutes. Hard luck to Wales it would of been great to have you in the final. Well done AR for sticking to your guns.

    Reply
  •  brolly21
    brolly21

    What about Ireland v Wales last six nations.......... lots of consultation........wrong decision..........aspirations of a nation etc..........as long as it's Wales !

    Reply
  •  freespirit
    freespirit

    This decision by the quarter final referee should never be allowed to happen again. It has made a mockery of the world cup. In future there must be a regulation in place which states that in sudden death contests like quarter finals onwards , no one official should be allowed to issue a red card without a 3 out of 4 match officials being in agreement. All other decisions should remain the same as they exist now. When one official has a greater impact on a World tourament than the teams involved, the balance has moved too far. You cannot trash the aspirations of a nation and the efforts of the other 14 players who have done no wrong. This decision is Health and safety gone mad. They'll be banning scrums next. The application of the rules has be tempered with common sense. I think Francois Pienaar had it right.

    Reply
  •  justwz_singapore
    justwz_singapore

    We all love big,impressive and massive hits - but there is no place in the sport for dangerous, lift tackles like that where the player is tilted beyond the horizontal and dropped on his neck. Huge respect to Mr. Rolland for making the right decision. Red card - regardless of whether its a schoolboy match, a club match, or a rugby world cup semifinal, and regardless of whether it happened in the first minute or last. With due respect to Francois Pienaar, it doesn't matter that Sam Warbuton was the "one of the cleanest players in the tournament" and certainly it can't matter that he's the captain. Referees have got to penalize such tackles strictly to eliminate them from the game we love - and Mr. Rolland did just that.

    Reply
  •  gavin8
    gavin8

    11 actually, hook missed two pens, jones missed a conversion and halfpenny missed a pen.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Many comments here defending Rolland's decision and the IRB edict on tip tackles as the right thing to do because of the important issue of player safety - clearly a noble cause and one that we'd all support I'm sure. However, can anyone show evidence of any recorded example of a "tip tackle" or simply not bringing the player to ground in a controlled way - as opposed to a spear tackle - that has resulted in serious injury? I'm honestly not aware of any. I believe this whole outlawing of this type of tackle is based on a theoretical assumption that it could cause damage. Well, that and it's a deterrent to the far more dangerous spear tackle, but I think there needs to be a clearer distinction. I am not trying to play the tough-guy here, but I've been on the receiving end of dump tackles, tip tackles, uncompleted tackles where I've kind of been allowed to fall to the ground many times and I think if you know how to break your own fall you're very unlikely to be hurt, other than being winded. Putting in a hard tackle and dumping the player on his back is one of the most satisfying things in rugby and, this may just be me, but I actually don't mind being tackled like that either. I'm sure I speak for the majority of us who actually play the game that rugby without big tackles (because that's essentially what the IRB is creating with this directive) is a far poorer sport.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    waw... when i gave my point of view of the red card incident on sunday, there were 40 comments. now, it's more than 200 comments for a debate which must have been closed since saturday... emotions don't always give reasonable answers. It was a harsh decision, but correct decision if u read the IRB laws and it was not the first red card from Rolland on the same type of tackles (florian fritz) French fans really understand welsh sadness and injustice feeling. france rugby had already felt it, in the RWC history. But all this debate that France is not a legitimate finalist make me laugh. i don't know what would have been the match 15 Vs 15, some say Wales would have easily win and i find it quite wrong. The red card decision changed everythin: in the french and welsh sides: Welsh played without fear in attack but made some mistakes in defence. France were ugly in attack but immense in defence. i mean, Phillips try was their only entry in the 22's... So now, it's the final. And of course, the rugby world will support the All Blacks. Because the rugby world loves the "beautiful" game, speak english, and france doesn't speak english, actually play badly, are lucky, dirty, etc... >> Very Interesting comments that could be read on the most intelligent anglosaxon medias. But true, What a symbol to see NZ win it, this year. As a french fan, i would have been their first supporters. But i'm french and i have a team to support even if they played very poorly. it's very difficult for french fans to cheer this team cause their game style is very far from the french valors, but i understand them. How England win their WC in 2003? How South Africa win it in 1995? By a forwards and kicking game. What frenchies must do? Listen to the french" bashing" that they will hear during the week, create their revolution and rdv sunday on the pitch for the final chapter: the only one which counts. whatever NZ or France win, the winning team will be the true winners, no whiners

    Reply
  •  patrick
    patrick

    fair enough, didnt really think of that incident, maybe im just thinking too highly of our players!

    Reply
  •  rodofle
    rodofle

    "Shut up moaners !" RD, here you have your best comment

    Reply
  •  atomicclock
    atomicclock

    I think the controversy associated with the decision, as is the case with most decisions of this kind, is all really down to the context in which it sits. Because refereeing in rugby is so subjective in its nature, this adds a greater degree of difficulty. The numerous pronouncements that such a decision being made so early in the game, in such a game or against a player with such a disciplinary record are far from the mark - as difficult as it may be for a referee to do so, the decision should purely be on the action taken, and the intent with which it was taken. In this case, the action alone deserves a red card (both because it is dangerous in its nature and because that is the way the rules are written and supposedly interpreted). In terms of the intent, there is a strong argument that Warburton did not intend to injure. Rugby is a dangerous game, and this sort of incident does seem to me to be one of the purposes of the yellow card - where a dangerous event occurs arguably as the result of a mistake. If mistakes are persistently made then arguably the player is reckless and therefore deserves dismissal, hence this approach works well structurally too. So, taking that into consideration, the reason for the controversy is all down to an inconsistent approach being taken with tip tackles (the same can be said of high tackles, as these seem to attract the full range of sanctions). I think the suggestion above that game changing decisions such as this should be consulted with a referee's assistants is very wise, and would result in better decisions. As someone who grew up in Wales (despite being proudly English) I feel really gutted for the team and nation. Whilst the statement that we have been robbed of a showpiece final is a little unfair on the referee, I'm not anticipating Sunday as much as I was, and arguably not as much as the game on Friday.

    Reply
  •  johndoe
    johndoe

    Thanks for the hoodie RD! Much appreciated.

    Reply
  •  bamm88
    bamm88

    I am scottish with great friends in both France and Wales so i have no bias To the letter of the law the referee was probably correct, but laws are open to interpretation and not set in stone..... ie. was it intentional or deliberate and on this occasion Mr Rolland got it wrong and ruined the semi final, In fact he's probably ruined the Rugby World Cup Final because NZ will put a weak French team to the sword easily where as Wales on current form would have given them a good game Seriously tho this decision in such a high profile game is not something to laugh at

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  •  rodofle
    rodofle

    Red card totally deserved, the law tells it very clearly. I can't believe people keep moaning about that. It's a miracle if Clerc didn't get hurt very seriously, his neck could have been broken. I really hope France will win this RWC, beautifuly or not we don't give a f***, to shut english speaking media's mouth up. France is never stronger than when everybody is against her.

    Reply
  •  heavyscrum
    heavyscrum

    Vincent Clerc was not acting to my opinion, he's just a bit fragile... A good guy with great pace, but not as hard as he should be.

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    Hey Rugbydump, I think we just found the winner of your "Hoodie for the best comment". This is a top-notch comment, deserves the first prize!

    Reply
  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    I'd watch that. It would be a lot better than this awful World Cup where the only memorable moments involved officials or kickers.

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  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    Clerc deserves an injury, he spends enough time rolling around on the floor crying about nothing. Someone should give him something to actually cry about.

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  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    ...Bloody computer...

    Reply
  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Correction. Halfenny's penalty WAS a penalty... but should have been awarded to France for some Sharp work by the legend that is Harinordaquay.

    Reply
  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Correction. Halfenny's penalty WAS a penalty... but should have been awarded to France for some Sharp work by the legend that is Harinordaquay.

    Reply
  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Correction. Halfenny's penalty WAS a penalty... but should have been awarded to France for some Sharp work by the legend that is Harinordaquay.

    Reply
  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Correction. Halfenny's penalty WAS a penalty... but should have been awarded to France for some Sharp work by the legend that is Harinordaquay.

    Reply
  •  all_cat67
    all_cat67

    Why not employ 30 cage fighters, ignore the ball and any pretence at skill, and let them get on with it.

    Reply
  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Agree with you totally Gunshow. League may be a different sport but the principles are the same - hence you have people crossing over, dual code stars. There is no way that tackle was a "spear" - in basic terms of the English language "to Spear" implies the application of force in a thrusting motion, at best this was a "tip tackle" - when I was young it used to be called a "dump tackle". I'm biased as I'm Welsh but I would have given a penalty and a yellow. No point arguing that though as the game is done and finished with. REAL concern of over the future of Rugby Union though. Have played both League and Union. Love both. Union is my passion, but if things carry on like this I fear it will be bastardized into sometihng resembling touch rugby. Nothing wrong with passive tackling, but a good hit you cannot beat. If you don't enjoy the tackle there is no point playing the sport.

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  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Agreed. I don't take anything away from France. I don't blame Rolland either. He followed the law. It is a shame however that other referees during this RWC have not. It's also a shame that there is no distinction made in the law for tackles of this nature made with or without "intent". This was no "Spear Tackle" as everyone seems to be labelling it. To "spear" implies the application of force in a thrusting motion. Simple English language. This was a "Tip Tackle". Unfortunately the laws do not make this distinction. In my opinion this, as well as other various laws, is ruining the game of Rugby Union. Don't get me wrong the Players safety is paramount, however common sense must be used. If a scrum goes down do the front rows get Red Cards? No. Yet the enourmous pressures exerted on fron row players are far more likely to cause broken necks and paralysis if not loss of life if scrums collapse and players fall awkwardly. Rugby IS a contact sport after all, in playing the game you expose yourself to inherent risks. This tackle yesterday was certainly dangerous and worthy of a yellow card, but in no way can it be considered a "spear." Should Wales have won anyway? Given the 7-10 point swing a 10 minute sin binning usually creates then certainly not. But they could have. They showed amazing courage and fitness. Tactical errors following the sin binning (using Jamie Roberts as a flanker) were made, and key kicks were missed (totally agree that there is NO way Halfpenny's penalty was actually a Penalty). France defended well and can hold their heads up high for the defensive effort. However given how little they offered to the game, and given the staggering odds of a 14 man team even coming close to containing a 15 man team for that length of time I would say the remaining Wales players deserved something from the game.None of this changes what happened yesterday. None of these arguments will ever do that. It's immaterial. Good luck to France and the AB's for the final

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  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    Totally agree with every point made. Well said.

    Reply
  •  brolly21
    brolly21

    just two things, in the light of the outrageous illegal try by Wales against Ireland and the then reaction "we'll take the win", Welsh whingeing is a little hard to swallow and also, when analysing there seems a powerful tendency to condemn the ref's action as ruining the game, rather than the tackle which provoked the chain of events. Successful diagnosis must be thorough, not selective.

    Reply
  •  h_bomb
    h_bomb

    The ref knows warburton isn't a malicious player..all was needed there was a bit of composure and rationality from the ref! The sin bin allows action to be taken, without ruining a game!! I can't help feel that the world cup now has somewhat of an anti-climax, with New Zealand already beating france convincingly in the group stages.

    Reply
  •  all_cat67
    all_cat67

    League is a different sport. I spent this morning watching maybe 100 boys aged 11 and under playing rugby. Shoulder barges, high tackles, tackles off-the-ball galore. Only one boy - by far the smallest player in his age group - was able to tackle properly. He brought down players twice his size with ease, as one should do in union. The travesty is how players and coaches seem to prefer macho non-tackling to decent technique.

    Reply
  •  all_cat67
    all_cat67

    What a fun world you live in where professional players and ex-pro rent-a-quotes know the Laws. Warburton is an elite rugby player who took a risk. He got caught.

    Reply
  •  hry
    hry

    Rolland was within 5 metres with a clear view. After a 16-man lineout had just broken up, what makes you think the touch judges were in a better position to make the call?

    Reply
  •  hry
    hry

    Nothing in the rulebook about malicious intent, and rightly so. It's a murky grey area open to interpretation. The rules are clear, Rolland made the right call. Pienaar and Dallaglio can bleat all they want, they're wrong.

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  •  hry
    hry

    Well said. Here's a thought for you all: most of us will agree that Warburton is now one of the elite number 7s in the world. How often do you see McCaw, Dusautoir, Brussow, Pocock take players off their feet in the tackle? Pretty much never. This probably has something to do with the fact that doing so runs an inherent risk of something going wrong and the tackler paying the price. Better to put in hard conventional hits than run the risk of a red, like Warburton did here.

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  •  hry
    hry

    Maybe if Warburton hadn't seen red, Rolland would have been afraid of accusations of bias enough to actually referee the scrum after Jones went off. I lost count of the number of times the Welsh front row went down, not a single penalty was given. The French forwards were dominant throughout, the Welsh got away with murder there. Funny how no-one mentions that eh.

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  •  hry
    hry

    I'd rather watch New Zealand face a France side capable of producing an absolute thriller (though it is unlikely) than a Wales side inferior in skill in every position on the pitch, who will undoubtedly put in a valiant performance but ultimately have no chance of winning.

    Reply
  •  vinniechan
    vinniechan

    Well first you can't flip a player. "Flip" means "legs" above shoulders. Second if u put someone into the air u're also responsible for his safe grounding. Yes there have been worse that go unpunished but that's the issue with inconsistency. On this count Rolland gave a red card in accordance with the rule book. You can't just say "he killed the game" In the Football World Cup last year, we saw Nigel De Jong got away with not getting sent off for his kung fu kick so that the game "didn't get killed".

    Reply
  •  gunshowmckenzie
    gunshowmckenzie

    I agree that League players and fans must be thinking Rugby Union is a joke. In my opinion that was a great hard tackle, and I would have thought the only problem was the drop. He landed flat on his back so I don't see how it was a spear. At age grade rugby I've seen plenty of tackles worse than that only punished with a yellow. On some forums I've seen people comparing the tackle with the double hit on O'Driscoll in 2005...give me a break, he was tipped vertical onto his shouder/neck. That should be red, I think this was just a penalty. Clerc was acting throughout the game, did it again later, absolutely shameful. If the laws are outlawing big hits then we may as well stop watching rugby union.

    Reply
  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    Will this site be changing to PlayersWrappedinCottonWoolDump.com?

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    And welcome to rugby, a courteous sport. Hear that french dude?? If you're tired of being insulted and treated pedantically, then go play tennis!

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    It may have been the letter of the law, but the law is wrong. A red card for a minor, offence which caused no damage, there was no malice and completely killed the game. Clerc played it up as he did in the Canada game. The laws now mean many tackles that were lauded in the past are now illegal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E8uHGJBXRI) . France getting through has many a mockery of the world cup and they will get torn apart by the All Blacks. Also a "spear" tackle involves throwing someone to the ground like a spear, which was not the case in this instance, it was a recent invention the "tip" tackle

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  •  ash
    ash

    Personally I think it was a red card. Having been on the receiving end of similar spear tackle I know for a fact it's not so much the pain it inflicts but the risks and fear it produces. I remember at the moment of impact you do straight away fear something terrible has happened. To say like some people have suggested that as there was no injury in this type of tackle is nonsense. If someone in football/soccer lunged in two footed, late and high up on the leg and breaks the players leg then it doesn't make it less serious or less dangerous than if he'd done the same except missed. I commend the ref for finally having the courage to take a stand and take the right action against what is a very serious offence. It's not like Rolland hasn't been consistent either, he sent off Fritz (I think) for something similar in the Heineken cup earlier this year so he's being consistent and he is following the law to the letter which is correct. You can't say just because it's a semi final he should have been let off as the rules are the rules, and they apply from under 14's rugby on a Saturday morning right up to the top level of international rugby.

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  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    Globetrotter> How do you know he's Welsh? He referred to them as "the Welsh". "There is only one person responsible for Sam Warburton being sent off and it was not the referee." Paddy O'Brien? or Papa Jean Pierre Rolland?

    Reply
  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    Welcome to rugby, a dangerous sport. Fuck off and play tennis if you want to stay free of harm.

    Reply
  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    You've never played rugby if you think that losing a player in the 15 man code doesn't haven't HUGE consequences for the side. It's not soccer.

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  •  tccalvin
    tccalvin

    Haha rugby union has become so fucking soft. It's total shit. When will they ban scrums, line outs and tackling full stop? All of these are technically dangerous. Vincent Clerc's acting was worse than anything in soccer, another feature of this World Cup also, playacting. The most memorable moments of this World Cup have all centred around the match officials. Union is for pussies.

    Reply
  •  heavyscrum
    heavyscrum

    IRB should re-allow spear tackle. Vincent Clerc whould have paid a bit more attention to his body height and Warburton's position...

    Reply
  •  flyingpepper
    flyingpepper

    Complete respect to you and what you said> Clear example of what makes the fans of this sport so great, we are happy to admit not deserving a win.

    Reply
  •  zacaria
    zacaria

    Being a neutral for this one, i was definitely disappointed at the decision, it was a definite red card but as said earlier based on decisions made already in the world cup over these kind of tackles it would have been more consistent to be given a yellow. A decision like that should have at least been discussed with the touch judges, as it has had a big impact on the outcome of the world cup. In saying that im much happier as an aussie to vs. france than wales in the final.

    Reply
  •  demosys
    demosys

    Red card is deserve. If we look back in the RWC all spear tackles get a least a yellow and few weeks suspension. So the decision is really coherent. For me it's more a terrible mistake from Warburton than from Mr Alain Roland. All players are aware that the IRB is very severe with dangerous tackle. And stop sayong that we can't give a red card is a semi final or a final. Courageous decision from Alain Rolland. But I agree that it completely kill the game.

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  • Rough on Wales; gutted for them, but as a neutral, happy for France. Wales had the form going into the semis. A red card is a harsh, but not outrageous decision. It was a spear tackle afterall. This world cup is so full of drama; unfortunately a lot of it involving refs. It's the nature of the game; in most ruck or contact situations there are 2-3 penalties to be awarded, deciding which ones are material and how harshly to punish is a subjective decision. People will always question the refs after these big games. But these big games are exactly what makes the WC so great. It is tough to say who had more guts: Wales in a losing effort or AUS in a winning one last week. One thing is for sure: Welsh fans handle a loss and anger at the ref with a lot more class than the Saffas (which of course had lots of legitimate reasons to be angry at the ref). Culture, I guess. Both RSA and Wales failed to take their chances. In the end the loss is theirs, not the refs. Another thing is sure: AUS and FR will have to take enormous steps forwards or else this will be an easy path for the AB's WC victory. Then again, the AB's are the best team. Not that this means anything in this WC, as we have seen...

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  •  anarchangel
    anarchangel

    Yeah, it's safer to let him go than to drive him, but it's still dangerous play that could have resulted in a serious injury. To be honest though, Wales can't blame that for the loss. France responded to the card by playing like they were a man down too! Wales had plenty of chances and still should have won the game. Neither team deserved to win that. France better smarten up their play or they'll be demolished in the final.

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  •  dgilks
    dgilks

    It is very clear that Rolland had no choice other than to send-off Warburton. The IRB directive from 2009 makes it very clear what the circumstances are that justify a Red Card and that a referee must start by considering a Red Card before seeing if there are any mitigating circumstances. Warburton's tackle took Clerc past the horizontal and dropped him from a height directly onto the base of his neck. The directive does not allow a referee to take intent into consideration as a mitigating factor nor the fact that it is a RWC Semi Final or that it was in the first 20 minutes of the game. Furthermore, the judicial decisions made about lesser tacklers in this RWC have been scathing of referees who only used a Yellow Card sanction for offences which later garnered up to 5 weeks on the sidelines. This is similar to Craig Joubert's sending-off of Drew Mitchell last year where he made it clear that he was applying the rules and that he could take no responsibility for the player's actions. This was an unfortunate event to have happen in a RWC semi-final but Warburton blew it by taking Clerc past the horizontal. Rolland did what any competent rugby referee would do and accurately and fairly applied the law to the situation.

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  •  rbieshaw
    rbieshaw

    why is everyone complaining for one thing just because it's a rwc semifinal doesn't mean the match should be refereed any differently, secondly he wasn't sent off because the tackle was malicious it was because he let go off him and therefore anything could happen if gravity takes over and thirdly why should it be a yellow card if the law clearly states it should be red so the ref made the right choice despite what pther refs are currently doing and as a result he should get to referee the final

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  •  munsterman
    munsterman

    I think the decision was a bit on the harsh side but not an easy call for the ref to make. We need to step out of the moment and look at it objectively. Yes, if you're a Welsh fan you understandably feel gutted, robbed, etc, but if I were a French supporter I'd probably have been baying for blood after that tackle. I truly believe Warburton when he says that he had no malicious intent. But look at it from the ref's perspective. He sees a guy upend an opposing player and sees that player go to ground landing on his head-neck area. Say what you like about it not being malicious but it was certainly careless. A few more degrees rotation on Clerc and he could have been seriously injured. The law states what the ref is supposed to do in this instance and in his opinion, there and then, the red card was warranted. People who say Clerc was hamming it up are probably right (though I doubt any player in his position would have done any different) but look at that video again, after Clerc hits the ground Warburton's left hand does come in contact with Clerc's face, from one angle it looks like he's pushing it into the ground just seconds after Clerc lands awkwardly. I'd have been clutching my face after that too. In retrospect red was almost definitely too harsh, yellow would have been a better call. But ref's can't work off players protesting "Oh, I didn't mean too, Ref" especially given how dangerous these tackles can be. I think that he felt his hands were tied in this case. The problem with rugby is there's too much inconsistency with the rule interpretation esp. given how other tacklers got away with similar tackles. I am gutted for Wales. To defend for over 60 mins against France and not concede a try and to get sooooo close. It's heartbreaking. And as for France, my god, never has a team offered so little and still made it to a world cup final! The only solace for Wales is that Oz/NZ are gonna carve them up next week. Scant consolation that'll be, though.

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  •  jeri
    jeri

    Not keen on seeing France in the final. The Welsh at least looked like they wanted to play rugby last night, the French just looked like they want to kick the balls to the Welsh and see if the other side tires out from all the running.

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  •  welshsheep
    welshsheep

    Theres no doubt it is an illegal tackle, but although hes lifted him off the ground, there isnt intent to hurt him, hes lost him in the pick up. I feel sorry for Sam and hope people dont pin the exit on him. It was a massive call by the ref and like others have said, Sam Warburton isnt a dirty player, it was a silly tackle but not vicious. Sadly it killed the game as a contest, well it should've but fair play the boys fought on!

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  •  hoopsss
    hoopsss

    lesson here is don't drop a player on his head and force the ref in to making a decision.

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  •  agrippa
    agrippa

    i hope that comment makes you feel better, hope it eases the pain of wales being eliminated from the world cup, having someone to blame to take your anger out on is always good. of course rolland should never have been reffing that game, he is half irish and half french. take it on the chin like your countrymen. remember when the half welsh ref craplan awarded wales a try which should not have been allowed cos the wrong ball was used for the quick lineout against us ( ireland ) that decision cost ireland the 6 nations and possibly the championship! its sport, bad things happen, at least clerc did not get an injury.

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  •  agrippa
    agrippa

    i am dissappointed for wales, playing rugby with 14 men and being pipped by a point really means they won the game in my book. the sending off killled the game no doubt about it, but it wasn't the wrong decision or a mistake by the ref. he could have given a yellow but deemed it serious enough to give a red. if all refs did the same the spear tackle would be gone pretty sharpish from the game, however its rucby, and big tackles are part of the game. credit to the ref for not being swayed by the occaision. wales dont have to look back too far when they got the benefit from a reffing mistake, in last years six nations when they took a quick lineout with a different ball and scored against ireland denying them the triple crown and maybe the championship. the ref got that call wrong according to the rules. rolland got the call right today according to the rules. sometimes the better team loses like today but thankfully the better team in rugby usually wins. it is a bitter dissappointment nonetheless. i am irish and was up for wales and hoped they would go all the way to the final. unfortunately not today. warburton is a class player and have many more times in the sun. good luck shane williams, a stalwart of welsh rugby.

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  •  billturner84
    billturner84

    As much as it broke Welsh hearts, by the letter of the law, the tackle was illegal; Warburton took the player beyond horizontal and dropped him to the turf. However, I don't believe it was dangerous at all. What should happen now is a review of the law. Correct efforts were made to protect players from spear tackling but the rulings have gone too far and we're now in danger of losing the element of competition in the tackle. Red cards should be reserved for acts of malice outside the rules, not thumping hits. At least the Welsh can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they fought for 80 minutes with 14 men, as opposed to England, who limply strung together the occasional fluent passage while being outclassed by an undercooked French team.

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  •  eoind00
    eoind00

    it shouldnt matter that warburton is a clean player, or that it was a semi final nor that it was only 18 minutes into the match. he picked clerc up turned him around and dropped him on his head. thats a dangerous dangerous tackle. and at the end of the day, alan rolland is the ref and it was his decision to make. many refs would take the easy way out and give him ayellow and leave the citing commisioner to deal with it but roland made a brave decision. as i was always told as a young boy: the referee is always right even when he's wrong.

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  •  elias
    elias

    I think that it was a yellow card tackle at best. He had no clear intention of harm towards the player, rather was just trying to deliver an outstanding tackle. It did get a little bit over the top, but was certainly not worth the red card that was received. He was wrongfully carded and that truly is sad to see when it comes to that point in a World Cup. The player wasn't seriously hurt, nor did the tackler try and start anything. Wrong call.

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  •  mendorugger
    mendorugger

    *correction, semi final.

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  •  mendorugger
    mendorugger

    Heart breaking for Welsh players and fans. The lack of consistency in regards to this type of infraction leaves us all frustrated. The decision to bring about the harshest punishment on the field during such a crucial game is in my opinion poor timing. As team skipper, Sam Warburton has to know that he cant take those types of risks with so much on the line. What a horrible time to learn such a vague lesson. The RWC officiates have got to make decisions about such things in a more consistent and clear fashion. Rules should be set with definite and pre determined consequences for any violation. The quarters is not the time to start following the letter. where are the consequences for Refs who fail to uphold the law in a consistent manner. Warburton was in the wrong for making such poor decision at the time, with so much at stake, but the league itself shoulders the greatest responsibility for not demonstrating a pattern of consistency in regards to this type of play. What a gutter call. Spoiled the whole quarters. Congratulations to both teams for hard fought battles throughout the tournament. Big tip of the cap to whales for not laying down and putting on such a great clinic of true heart. The french will not even be able to completely savor this victory because they to have been cheated by the league with such piss poor officiating. Congrats all the same to France getting the W

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  •  sospanfach0505
    sospanfach0505

    Appreciate the comments and support from all the Irish. Unfortunately some of my countrymen have let the emotions get the better of them with some of the comments about the "Irish Ref", bias, and so on. The thought did cross my mind but on reflection the French could argue that some of the penalty decisions against them were suspect. Was it a "Red" - doesn't matter anymore for this tournament. Should we have still won - yes. Did we - we know the answer. We are Welsh, this will hurt like our hearts have been ripped out but we will regroup and bounce back. We need to finish on a high and go out to win a test against a SH team next week. Then we will look back in weeks / months to come with found memories and huge amounts of pride. I hope and pray that Gatland stays and is not coaxed back to NZ for a potential chance of leading the AB's. We need him and all his team to help us push on to 2015. It's amazing - 6 weeks ago we would have been overjoyed to have made it to the semi's - we need to remeber that when we have all calmed down. For Shane's sake we need to regroup and put in one massive performance next week. For all the other commentators from across the world that seem to revel in other nations heart ache - keep to yourself guys, winding people up just for the sake of it might be a pass time we all partake in on occasion - but there's a time and place. This is not the time or the place - join twitter and enjoy your ranting. As for me - proud of the Welsh team and I'm sure many other nation's followers feel the same regarding their own. Cymru Am Byth.

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  •  emmery22
    emmery22

    I think the discussion seems to be the rules versus the situation. On the ESPN site Mike Phillips puts it well saying [pretty much] that it's a semi final, of course blokes are flying at each other, and referee's should remember that before dishing out the cards. They spend long enough using the technology to deliberate over tries, so it's not like time wasting is the issue... He goes on to say the French didn't deserve the win, and went through on luck and grace, rather than merit. [brave, seeing as his club is Bayonne] I think Rolland was wrong, but in order for integrity to remain, he should take a broader look at an incident, like he would a try. That said, the rulebook doesn't use 'atmosphere' or 'level' as a gauge, which keeps 5,6 front rowers like me safe and sound. I was heartbroken for Warburton, but that's the way it goes.

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  •  poccio
    poccio

    I think the most sensible thing to say is: can I have a hoodie, please...pretty please...pretty please with sugar on top?! Also: unfortunate call and tackle..but it really sowed how great the welsh side really is, i just wish they had made the final.

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  •  edward_coleman
    edward_coleman

    The decision has made rugby union a laughing stock. Yes the tackle was penalty worthy, or at worst a yellow card. But at the end of the day in such a crucial match, the decision negatively affected the game. I cannot blame the referee because when the French players stand around Sam it encourages the referee to make the wrong decision. Sam is a clean player, no melicious intent unlucky for him. The ref probably should have checked with the linesman, or with the TMO, but the ref's decision is final.

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  •  matthew
    matthew

    Some people have mentioned malice as being an ameliorating factor to tip this from being a red-card offence to a yellow-card offence. As far as I am aware there is nothing in the rules about malice, but perhaps there should be.

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  •  jpt
    jpt

    Sam Warburton, just ask yourself, WWRD? (what would Ritchie (McCaw) do?)

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  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    But they can and do choose to ignore certain laws, every game, every phase. That's the main problem here. If this is a red then there should be several red cards a game. You cannot say that this is a red while ignoring equal offenses which often don't even warrant a penalty, never mind a yellow or red. It's just farcical. I can show you 100 red card incidents from this world cup, if we're saying this is one.

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  •  kako
    kako

    The rule is as clear as water... 'The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the players safety.. a red card should be issued for that type of tackle.' It is as simple as that!! It is a red card but the big problem here is not that it was the World Cup's semi-final... It's not the referee's fault that a player does something that is outside the Law. It's like the call Joubert made during the Tri-nations when he sent off Mitchell. You can hear him say to Rocky Elsom: "I am not responsible for how this affects the game ..." The big problem is that referees around the World do not enforce the rules evenly... And maybe if it was another referee, the call would be another... Unfortunately, it made Wales play 60 minutes with 14 players but it's all on Sam Warburton's shoulders... He knows better than to do something that could harm his team and his Country... Cudos to Wales though! Great game with only 14!

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  •  sonnybill
    sonnybill

    Worst Commentators ever took them ages to realise it was a red are they not supposed to be watching the game?

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  •  gryphrugger
    gryphrugger

    Coming from a neutral party (i'm Canadian), I'm astonished that was a red card. Warburton has had no malicious history and the tackle in itself did not warrant being sent off. I really feel for Wales, who were the better team in this match, and for Sam, who was just on the wrong end of a bad call. But this is rugby, the refs are only human, and humans make mistakes.

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  •  mds67
    mds67

    Definitively a yellow card worthy tackle, however there was no malicious intent there, he simply got underneath him and followed through with his tackle.

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  •  garethdavey87
    garethdavey87

    When it comes to it, rugby's primarily there to be enjoyed. Rolland's decision destroyed what should have been a thrilling match and denied a place in the final to the most exciting and deserving team in the world cup. Of any player, the inspirational, clean-cut Warby deserved it least. Boooo!

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  • It was definitely in the second half - I want to say sometime around 60 minutes, but I can't be certain...with all the ping-pong kicking going on, time all sort of blended together. I'd have to get a copy of the match for say for sure.

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  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    I'm not arguing it's not dangerous. I'm arguing it is dangerous, but so are plenty of other actions in Rugby. So why not red card stuff that's equally as dangerous but usually only warrants a penalty? If this is a red then so are 10 other incidents every game. To red one and not the others is ridiculous

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  • What defensive performance?

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  •  redyeti
    redyeti

    I too found Clerc's dive pretty funny. He went down in true soccer-style, both hands clutching his face, and lay twitching on the floor haha

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  • I disagree. Wales played almost the same (minus a slight disadvantage in the scrum department) without Warburton. They were the only side to score a try. Had Hook not missed two penalties, or Jones a conversion, they'd be the side going into the finals. Would things have been different with that 15th man? Yeah, sure. But you can't say definitively that they would have done any better, I don't think.

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  •  holbeckghyll
    holbeckghyll

    The question is whether an occasion or situation should influence a referee's ability to apply the law. Looking at the directive that's being banded around that was sent out by the I.R.B talking about a bulls cheetahs game, then a red was justified - even neccessary - in the eyes of the governing body. There is no mention of 'if the game is really important and we need it to look good to advertise the sport, then let him off with it' in the rules. The fault lies with other refs throughout the tournament who haven't applied the rules the way the I.R.B have wanted them to. Spear tackles are something no-one likes to see (and that is where this all stems from), and we cannot blame rugby's authorities for trying to stop them. Unfortunately, this is a pretty tough by-product of that crack down.

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  •  stefan
    stefan

    Watching the game with a common room full of neutrals (couple of Welsh fans) not one could agree with the decision taken, mainly because it is a far more harsh call than had been made in recent times. I think that there should be some things that should determine the penalty for a given action and some things that should be discarded from the referees thoughts from the decision. So what should the ref think about: 1. How did the action relate to the laws? i.e. 2009 IRB directive => red card 2. What is the common action taken in similar cases? i.e. other lift and drop tackles in RWC11 => pen/yellow 3. Did the other officials have a better view? i.e. it's already a stop in play, discuss with touchies. What shouldn't the ref think about? 1. Offending players' reputations. Quite frankly a "clean" reputation does not alter severity of what may have happened. 2. The time/occasion of the event. Yes it 'spoiled' a semi-final, but the law is the law whatever the game, in spite of whatever commercialisation of the sport will dictate. Looks like a lot for one man to deal with in such a short space of time, doesn't it? On balance, and with a cool head now, I might say the ref had no choice but to give a red, but the players and officials are human, as are all of the spectators, and compromise is a basic human process (at least I hope it is) so I wish it hadn't been red today. Life goes on - this post has gone on too far - and we'll look forward to the 2nd semi and final next week. Just goes to show the lawmakers need to keep on their toes and make this game we love stay fun and safe in this period of exciting growth of rugby!

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  •  huw
    huw

    A perfectly timed tackle and there would have been no problem against a French player of equal size/weight. Yes he got carried away and forgot to take in to account Vincent Clercs much smaller build but there was no malice and when he realised it shows he didn't drive the player down.A yellow card would have been fair but a red card for this tackle while so many others in this tournament have gotten away with far worse is unreasonable. We have the technology to have a second look and opinion and to pull out a straight red card in a semi final with no consultation is outrageous.

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  • Red was fine. It was a bit harsh, but it was Rolland's call, and he made it. I'd like to see Clerc cited for his soccer dive later in the match after he kicked a clearance and went down like a heap of potatoes. Sorta makes me wonder if he was really all that dazed from the Warburton tackle after all. But that doesn't change the fact that, at the time, red looked to be the option. On a final note...I can't help but think this year is going to be yet another SH triumph - especially when all we've got going into the final is a team who barely beat out a 14-man side - a team that even with an extra player for 60 minutes of game time couldn't score a try. Thanks, France.

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  •  threma
    threma

    Red is fair. Is it the ref who kicked penalties and conversions for Wales? I don't think so. Hook, Jones and their teammates lost that game all by themselves.

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  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    How about every high tackle, ever, no matter how slight, is a red card? Every collapsed maul(which are very dangerous) is a red card. Every time someone is tackled in the air, red card. Every time someone is taken our in a line out, red card. Every time someone flies into a ruck off their feet, red card. You see where I'm going with this? Lets just blanket red every one of these things, all of which are equally if not more dangerous than the tackle in question. If we want to give people reds based on super slowmotions the end of most games will resemble a Sevens game. I will show you super slow motions that show people copping an arm or shoulder to the face every third tackle. Wilkinsons classic tackle on Justin Bishop is a red card offense, according to people on here? Basically, half the classic text book tackles we've ever applauded in Rugby are now red card offenses, effectively. You can say that this is a red card until you're blue in the face, and I won't argue that, but if that's what you are saying then if there's any consistency there should be 10 red cards a game.

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  •  apv1
    apv1

    With one decision, Alain Rolland managed to tip Wales out of the RWC.

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  •  tempertantrum
    tempertantrum

    red card....very harsh but as many people have said if you read the law book word for word you could give a red card for this type of tackle. However in a world cup semi-final with Wales who had emphatically taken care of Ireland to reach their first world cup semi since 1987 and France who despite losing to Italy earlier in the year and Tonga in the group stages bounced back and finished of six nations champions England to reach the semi finals of yet another world cup the referee has to take the nature of the game and the importance of the game in to context. Rarely is it that I get the chance to say "rugby should take a leaf out of football's book" but in the 2010 world cup final Holland made many tackles that in a normal league game would have got a card but the referee took the importance of the game into his decision and neglected to give a red until right into extra-time for a repeat offender so as not to corrupt the result. So please whoever is reffing the Final spare a thought for the players and the fans and " think before you reach for your pocket".

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  •  jcas
    jcas

    This decision had a massive outcome on the game. Sam Warburton has been not only one of the players of the tournemant, but also the most inspirational captain not only of this world cup, but possibly of the last two. The decision could be argued to be technically correct, but should a player have to control the man back to the ground when it is fairly obvious he will land safely anyway? At worst i believe the decision should be a yellow card and to see their youthfull, exuberant captain leave the field at such an early stage in the game will have had a massive effect on the welsh teams mentality. This is a moment that will be remembered in rugby history forever.

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  •  guy
    guy

    The only sensible thing to do: install a TMO for every decision regarding a red card. I am not saying that Roland was wrong in this case, not saying he was right either. But if it is a mistake it is one that is too big for a WC semi-final. So please IRB, install a rule that whenever a Ref is going to give red, he has to check with TMO. At least in the big tournaments like these.

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  •  gallego
    gallego

    Damn, am I the only one who agrees with Rolland's decision?

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  •  threma
    threma

    Red is deserved according to the law. The fact that it is a semi-final doesn't change anything. It actually makes it more obvious. It is watched by a broader audience and the IRB doesn't want rugby to be seen around the world as a sport where you can act dangerously. Hence the (harsh) law and the red card. Nevertheless, I'm not sure it really benefited les Bleus. France started pretty well but completely stopped playing after the red card while in the same time it gave the Welsh extra motivation. Welshmen can only blame themselves I think. They had opportunities, didn't take advantage of them...too bad. Allez les Bleus!!!

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  •  sr-dean
    sr-dean

    Whilst it was an arguably correct decision under the letter of the law most ref's would have interpreted it better. Lets hope with such a high profile poor decision the IRB will have another look at the law.

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  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    I also think this is a yellow at best. I'd have been happy with a penalty. Just a textbook tackle to me. In no way was it a red card tackle. Just more evidence of Rugby going soft. If the French players didn't act like soccer players, would the ref have shown red? I don't think so

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  •  dhanu0050
    dhanu0050

    Villain of the match: A quick decision from match referee Alain Rolland pretty much sealed the fate of Wales. If he had of taken time to talk to his touch-judges Wayne Barnes and Jonathan Kaplan then maybe the game might not have been soured.

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  •  buzzkillington
    buzzkillington

    Actually Patrick what Malcolm says is true. In the NRL this year there were several incidents of players tipping themselves over the horizontal to make a penalty. That's not opinion either, Michael Crocker for example threw himself head first into the ground purposely, was blatant for everyone to see. People purposely throw their faces into the ground to win penalties. It happens and will increase exponentially. If you think players don't do it you're kidding yourself.

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  •  colombes
    colombes

    Firstly, as a french fan, all my kind regards go towards welsh players and fans. They show great courage and determination depiste the match didn't go in the right way for them. But unfortunately, Warburton didn't make a good choice by making this dangerous tackle. on the action, i was like everybody, thinking that a yellow card would be sufficient. but the replays showed it was very dangerous, he let clerc fall on his neck. it's not a question about alain rolland having "french" origines, rolland even gave a red card to florian fritz for the same type of tackle one year ago (if RD can find out it >> Wasps-Toulouse)... it's a question about why all the refs don't applicate strictly the rules. alain rolland applicate the good one. it's harsh, it's sad, it's ruined a game which was quite promising. it forced welshs to change their plans and i quite sure it also disturbed french strategy. but the game has also been lost because Wales failed to take their chances with jones missed-kick, and on a very generous penalty that halfpenny kicked too softly france didn't do much, but the little they did, they achieved it. the backrow and parra are the only good notices of the game. France is an eternal new white sheet of paper i'm sure that france have a one- big match performance fidden in their pockets to do a great final.if they don't find it they'll be trashed, whatever the opposition

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  •  ireland90
    ireland90

    @Berland2003 Ridiculous comment... Majority if not all irish rugby supporters were up for wales this morning, Wales would definitely have been my 2nd fav team after ireland. It shouldn't have been a red card despite what the laws state, i feel he should have given a yellow card and let the IRB investigate anything further after the game. Heart goes out to the welsh! stephen jones on the otherhand i think should be more to blame than the ref to me, an experienced fly like jones just outside the 22 needs to step up and take that drop goal, showed a serious lack of courage and let his team down.

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  •  morgan
    morgan

    Je ne comprends pas! Should have been a yellow, although Wales did miss several kicks, but could Warburton have made the difference while attacking?!? The Welsh boys held strong with a man down and losing Jones early on, to be fair the French were not good enough and have to buck up to stand a chance in the final.

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  •  bucklesf89
    bucklesf89

    I don't think you can argue with the decision. If it's an IRB directive to clamp down on tackles like this, then I say fair play to Rolland for having the balls to make that call.(Check out RTE's half time and full time discussion, they bring out the relevant laws). ITV showed tackles that got yellow cards and penalties during the world cup, but those players also got suspensions, which shows they are clamping down. Because Rolland gave the red, Warburton doesn't deserve a suspension as he's been punished enough. Rolland stepped up to the plate and fair play, there's too much moaning about referees in sport and not enough appreciation for the difficult job they do.

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  •  welshbuddah
    welshbuddah

    Penalty? - yes, Yellow card? Probably, Red Card - excessive. Obviously as a Welshman I have a slightly biased opinion, but what made it worse is the speed with which Monsieur Rolland made the decision - no consultation with his assistants, even though, when viewing the replay, his view of the tackle appears to be completely blocked by Lionel Nallet! In my opinion he made a knee jerk reaction to the response of the French players, which was completely over the top! In spite of this Wales still played the majority of the rugby. Unfortunately Hook had a very poor game, and if it hadn't been for some poor decision making and missed opportunities we could have been discussing a Welsh victory in spite of Warburtons sending off! But we are not, and instead we have yet another big international game where the most influential person on the pitch was the referee!!!

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  •  rhd80
    rhd80

    According to the Laws of the game it was a correct decision. These laws are there to protect players from serious injury. However... These laws need re-wording. Rugby is a contact (or as Francois Piennaar stated "Collision") sport. Being Welsh I may be bias, but I think the laws in this area need to be looked at again, have a good review - for the good of the sport. Granted it won't affect the outcome of this particular match but I fear for Rugby Union if we carry on down this road. Yes the players need protecting, but they do Not need to be wrapped up in cotton wool. Let's have some common sense. When I played the best thing about the game was the contact. As my old Samoan coach used to say "If you don't enjoy tackling then you're playing the wrong sport." Let's not ruin it. In addition, although there was no malice in this tackle the decision made by Mr Rolland today was correct according to the current law. It's just a shame that the laws have not been applied consistently from one game to another (although I will concede there is always a margin for human error). I won't take anything away from France, and wish them, along with Australia and New Zealand all the best. However I feel that the final will be all the poorer without a strong and enterprising Wales team. Wales, the team and the nation has lost today, but so, I feel has the game of Rugby Union and the tournament as a whole. I will also add that I am still immensely proud of the boys, for their conduct on and off the field during this world cup. They have been a joy to watch and an inspiration to our nation. Still hoping we can bring back a podium finish!

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  •  jts
    jts

    As a player, and a player who has been hit in a similar way due to my size it isn't pleasant but the player who performed the hit on me received a yellow and that was it. People say how malicious the tackle is and the circumstances don't matter. But the fact is it does or should. Sam showed no malice and the action was completely accidental, furthermore at the stage of the game a yellow card is more appropriate simply because Rolland has killed a game, a team and a nation without a moment of consideration or consultation. The speed in which the decision was made really does bring into question Rolland's reliability and where his allegiances lie, perhaps that is an immature and poorly backed up point but man who is irish born, the team which wales defeated to reach the semi-final, and who's father is french and the man himself speaks the language fluently the selection of referee by the IRB or world cup committee or who ever conducts that matter is poor. The incident itself shows Sam realising the tackle was a 'tip' tackle and reacting by not driving him into the floor. Clerc's over the top reaction, followed by another incident later in the match where he react to being hit in the face before realising nothing was coming and getting straight back up simply shows that despite his talent should merely be a footballer. The fact the tackle shown on Lambie wasn't red and the one in question was the point about perception being invalid and we should stick to the rules is thrown out the window and refereeing constancy has to be brought into question. In the game Wales showed true heart and was very proud of how they all conducted themselves despite being scottish. They deserved to win and will rue missed opportunities, they missed Priestland in the time of need. The french team have to be the worst and perhaps most fortunate team ever to reach the final, well done to them though their defence was very good in the last 10-20 minutes.

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  • I like your faith and I wish you were right. Unfortunately when rampant consumerism is at play human nature can be an unpleasant thing. Seems difficult to believe that a respected and professional international player would agree to be deliberately cut to allow a kicking blood-replacement to come on but that is what has happened.

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  •  slaz6348
    slaz6348

    Every reader or viewer who has been here for the past few years should know that the general rule is "If the tackler tips the ball carrier past the horizontal, it's a send-off." There have been multiple videos posted on THIS VERY SITE (not limited to the world cup!!) that show tackles that have been lifted but brought down safely, lifted but not brought down safely, and lifted but tipped past the horizontal and driven into the ground. The sanctions have been generally consistent: play on, penalty/yellow, and red card, respectively. Warburton clearly did not drive Clerc into the ground. There was clear intent to lift but you can see the exact moment that Warburton releases Clerc at 0:54. It was a trigger-happy, selfish decision by Referee Rolland to whip out the red without consulting either of the touch judges. That being said, Wales missed their chances to score. The French took theirs and held on. It can't be known who would have won had Warburton not gotten a red. A truly gut-wrenching result, but all we can do is cheer them on next week.

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  •  patrick
    patrick

    "we will see an ever increasing number of tackled players throwing their legs up and diving their shoulders down to exaggerate the angle of the tip." - that is the stupidest thing ive seen on a comment on here, to even suggest that players would do that is just ridiculous, who would want to not only do that to themselves, put themselves in more danger but to take a dive??

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  •  redyeti
    redyeti

    I'd also like to add that referees rarely stick absolutely to the letter of the law. I have heard refs talk about being able to give any of about 3 different offences at any given breakdown, and how one ref used offside penalties to control the game (i.e. he could pretty much ping one player offside at any time). Referees are specifically trained to use their discretion and interpretation to control a game and make it flow properly. This means NOT giving more penalties than they do, or could, give, usually...

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  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    As a French supporter, I must say that there is nothing glorious about this French victory. I watched the game with a fellow supporter and we sort of felt bummed out at the end. There was no joy to be found in seeing the Welsh lose this way... no cars honking in Toulouse afterwards (normally the town goes beserk in important Heineken Cup victories). I would have said yellow card, but I wasn't up close like Rolland, and all we get to see in video close ups is a slow-motion view which doesn't do much justice to the action. Even one man down, Wales had the game for the taking, it's a pity they didn't do just that. But playing one man down is so tiring, you can't blame them either ... France should theoretically start playing rugby in the final (we're still waiting for them to wake up). Let's hope for the ABs or Aussies that it won't be on the day. @Cheesekiwi: there is nothing wrong in the French team's reaction, forwards protect their buddies from the back, this is what everyone does, in every country, in every team. You don't let someone on your team get upended (however slightly you think it is) and dropped without at least some reaction, do you?

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  •  jaunard_du_cantal
    jaunard_du_cantal

    I'm french and I respect Alain Roland as on of the best refs in the game, but wholeheartedly agree that this was a terrible mistake. Dangerous tackle yes, yellow card yes, but no way that was a red card. The worst part of it is seeing France win by just a point while playing 15 vs 14 the whole game, which really outlines the injustice. Wales is my favorite team besides France, and there is no doubt in my mind that they deserved their final way more than we did. They've played outstanding throughout this WC whereas we've played like shit, and I love their game style, team cohesion and individual brilliance. Really sad to see Shane finish his international career on such a heartbreaking note. I'm sorry to say we have nothing to be proud of, congrats to Welsh rugby for their WC campaign.

    Reply
  •  puger
    puger

    far from the ref getting it wrong i think the commentators have got it wrong. they're saying that because its a world cup semi final he shouldnt have got a red card cos it upset the flow and fairness of the game. thats like saying that its cool to do it in any other match just not here and yet they always give out saying that refs arent consistent enough. also saying that warburton isnt a dirty player is stupid you have to ref whats in front of you. the is quite clear as pointed out in the text above the video. he released him in the air. he made no attempt to help him to the ground and he ended up landing on his head neck and shoulders. very good refing by rolland i think

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  •  jacklevins
    jacklevins

    Alain Roland: "I was going to give you yellow but then I saw red"

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  •  irish_ape
    irish_ape

    @ Berland2003 Thats a pathetic comment, we were rooting for ye and to say something like that is childish. We are not sore losers, you only have to watch the post match interviews and listen to Irish rugby fans to know that decision was the last thing we wanted.

    Reply
  •  flyingpepper
    flyingpepper

    Don't think it deserved the red, but if you read the rule in black and white, as the ref does then guess it would have to be a red. But like others are saying players did much worse and got much less in the game. The rules do seem to be making it harder for the defense, especially to put in the big hit.

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  •  baker
    baker

    Ridiculously imbalanced video, I wonder what the franch media thought of the incident? The irish coverage I was watching was split but to compile a video of british coverage (welsh commentator), british studio (welsh analyst) and the welsh press conference is a bit much! Also the arguments of both Pienaar and Dallagio (awful pundit) are so flawed its not true, why should Warburtons past disciplinie come into it, or indeed the magnitude of the game? I'm pretty sure a broken neck/shoulder would still occur in a world cup semi final just as it would on a sunday morning in a park, also i dont think Clerc would take much comfort from a hospital bed upon hearing Warburton was a clean player. He wasn't injured but a couple of inches more and he could have been. It wasn't intentional but it was dangerous and by the lew that has been passed down the decision was correct, its not Rollands fault referees in the past have not had the courage to make the correct call.

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  • Three observations 1) A yellow - a red is too harsh for this 2) It was a bad tackle. We can say all we like about Sam being a nice bloke etc. Fact remains he tipped the player, who landed on his shoulders and that is illegal under current laws. Had this tackle been perpetrated by someone with 'rugby villain' status such as Bakkies, Schalk Burger, Courtney Lawes etc, the focus would have been on the player doing something silly rather than the ref 3) If IRB is to insist on red cards for tackles like this, we will see an ever increasing number of tackled players throwing their legs up and diving their shoulders down to exaggerate the angle of the tip.

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  •  rufty
    rufty

    I am amazed at all the comment lambasting the ref here. Rugby has always been a hard hitting. fast paced, tough game, however, since the advent of professionalism and with the increased physicality of the sport it has become necessary to outline what is okay and what is not in terms of tackling and player responsibility. The laws clearly state, and have for some time, that once a player is in the air, it is the tacklers job to him to the ground safely and failure to do so warrants a red card. Warburton should have known this and, whilst not malicious in any way, it was his job to get Clerc back to terra firma correctly which he failed to do and had to walk as a result. Without the laws, this game we love would be anarchy. We can't apply them only when we feel and when player safety is at stake it has to be a black and white issue. Wales I feel for ye as ye were the better team on the day and should have won. However, the missed kicks were more of a concern than the "by the book" job done by Mr. Rolland this morning.

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  •  mikeymac
    mikeymac

    such a devastating blow for the young skipper. i think a yellow card would of been a just punishment for the tackle, its one of those where you hit a player so sweetly that they fold in half around your shoulder. Warburton doesn't drive the player into the ground or cause him major harm, i think the reaction from the french players makes the referees mind up and resulting in spoiling the semi-final by taking the game out if the players hands. we still have to take notice of wales performance with 14 and if they had of won the game it would of been a moment of world cup history. all though wales lost i'm still proud of the welsh teams efforts through the whole of the competition.

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  •  redyeti
    redyeti

    Why is being dropped just as bad as being driven into the ground? Would you rather Warburton hadn't let go, and instead of just Clerc's (not particularly impressive :P) bodyweight, you also had the full force of Warburton's weight, plus his driving power, smashing into Clerc's upper-back/neck. It is much safer to let go than to properly spear a player. Not that there's anything particularly safe about bringing a man above horizontal in the first place, but that's another matter entirely...

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  •  patrick
    patrick

    people seem to be missing the fact that in the description RD says: "By the letter of the law, Rolland probably got it right". yeah the decision ruined the game but it doesnt mean it was wrong, thats the rules, you have to play by them. rather have a game of 15 v 15 or someone with a broken neck when one of these goes wrong?

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  •  eggman
    eggman

    I think Pienaar was spot on. Yellow at best. Wales must be gutted, losing against 15 men France team while playing 14 men for 60 minutes, because of a missed conversion and penalty, that were so bloody close... France really must lift their game if they want to have a chance of beating either NZ or AUS, another display like that definately won't win them the cup.

    Reply
  •  berland2003
    berland2003

    It seems after failing in the quater finals, Ireland got their revenge in the semi-finals and managed to force the Welsh out of the rugby world cup!

    Reply
  •  ciaranbrk
    ciaranbrk

    It doesn't matter he turned him in the air and blame ref boss Paddy O'Brien he said zero tolerances for spears and gouging before the RWC started. Jamie Heaslip was given a red card in 2010 for kneeing MaCaw in the head 10 mins into the match. I have Complete respect for the Welsh they beat us well last week no complaints. I think Samoa were worthier quarter finalists than Eng or Fra and so were Ire it is a shame that Ire Wal wasn't the semi they both deserved it :(.

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  •  crabapple
    crabapple

    Im going to be unpopular with the following comments... Maybe he should have got a red, I personally think it should have been yellow, however; if you take a player past 90degrees and subsequently dropped, the player (Warburton) has to realise he is taking a risk ye, it may have been an accident, but with the IRB clamping down on these types of tackles the risk of getting carded is even greater! God close game though!

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  •  irish_ape
    irish_ape

    Hard luck Wales, wrong decision imo. Yellow and penalty at best. He should have consulted his touch judges at least with such a big decision (especially in a wc semi). However I felt that Wales left it behind them: missed a conversion, a penalty and why oh why didnt they go for the drop goal in front of the posts when they were on the French 22? You can hold your heads high tho Wales, great display and character for remainder of the game with 14 men. Sad to see Williams hang the boots up, what a cracking player - I think he still has plenty to offer the Welsh team.

    Reply

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Sam Warburton red card in Rugby World Cup Semi Final | RugbyDump