Sunday Oct 21, 2012

Scott Higginbotham cited twice for knee and head-butt on Richie McCaw

Scott Higginbotham cited twice for knee and head-butt on Richie McCaw
63
Comments

Australia’s Scott Higginbotham has been cited twice following an incident in the first half of the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane on Saturday. The Reds flanker could miss a large chunk of the Wallabies end of year tour of the UK and Europe as a result.

Higginbotham went out of his way to walk into All Black skipper Richie McCaw with his knee, then fell on him before the two came to grips. Higginbotham then followed up with a head-butt.

Not too long ago Springbok Eben Etzebeth mock-head-butt Wallaby skipper Nathan Sharpe, with very little – if any – contact, and receive a two week suspension for it.

In this case, with it after the whisle and both the knee and head used, the Wallaby loose forward could miss most of the tour, which sees them taking on France, England, Italy, and Wales.

“I saw the head-butt — it’s another cheap shot,” said New Zealand coach Steve Hansen. “He (McCaw) seems to get them every week but everyone seems to miss them.

“The game’s about playing rugby not about being a thug and taking cheap shots.  It is hard to deny the fact he head-butted him. If you grab a guy by the back of the neck and smack your head into him that’s a head-butt,” he said in the post match press conference.

A few weeks back Dean Greyling was suspended for a strike to McCaw’s face, and 14 months ago Quade Cooper was involved in a similar incident as he too kneed McCaw. Cooper was cleared without any punishment. Whether Higginbotham will be as fortunate or not remains to be seen.

He has been cited for both punching and striking, and will face an initial hearing with the duty judicial officer via conference call on Monday.

McCaw said that these type of incidents do annoy and frustrate him, but there’s little he can do about it. “It’s on TV so it will get dealt with,” he said.

UPDATE:
Higginbotham received a two-match ban, which rules him out of the England and France games. He will be available for selection however for Tests and Italy and Wales.

View match highlights | View full match

63 Comments

  •  kadova
    kadova

    I mean about cheating, not about strikes...

    Reply
  •  kadova
    kadova

    Just a side note: I spent 3 weeks in NZ last year and i didn't meet a single NZ fan like baby Karl. Just to let you know Karl is not representative of his own people, as far as i know. It's true they're sensitive, they're also very honest. From what i understood talking with them, as long as the referees don't penalised, it's ok

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    Thanks for the lesson, my child.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Not quite the response I was after, but at least you're not blind in admitting the "cheating" under the radar is how you can win a game...

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    There have been a few past incidents dredged up here. I've said it before, any good flanker cheats like hell, they steal the ball when the can, if they're on your team and it's legal then brilliant, if it's illegal and they get away with it, then even better. When they're on the opposition however, it's upsetting to say the least, especially when the referees do not appear to be doing anything about it. So what I'm trying to say, is that RM is a hero to NZ because he cheats like hell and gets away with it, to the rest of the world though, he is a villain...because... he cheats like hell and gets away with it... (similarities there...) but naturally, I will follow this up AGAIN by saying, any 7 worth his salt DOES cheat. Onto the other incidents brought up, I personally am not sure about the Parra incident, I feel that IF it was done on purpose then it was very cleverly disguised, I think Parra WAS targeted in the game, but I don't think he was punched/kneed on purpose, I think McCaw was going for the ball and Parra sat up... As for the QC incidents, McCaw looked somewhat rattled, QC seemed to be a young scrawny man who had no fear of this old veteran, and was not afraid to show it (even in the cocky manner!) One video shows QC clearing RM out of a ruck fairly and squarely, only for RM to kick out like a child, other incidents show QC pushing RM back off a ruck and getting a push/elbow/punch or something for his troubles. This is not to say RM DESERVES abuse, but he is far from an angel himself. As I said about this incident, SH obviously finds RM to be an irritant to the AUS game so he reacts in an idiotic fashion, and gets rightly banned for it...

    Reply
  •  jeri
    jeri

    Richie have been the frustration around the ruck for years, but is he really that unassailable? Surely in his long career there have been some other flankers who's been able to beat Richie at his game?

    Reply
  •  pyes
    pyes

    Of course he cheats - Rugby is a game made for cheating. You get away with what you can and that's how you win, every good player in the world will tell you that. NZ are the best in the world because we have the best understanding of the ruck - we get taught how to slow it down at the most junior level. Really the only thing anyone else can complain about is the level of officiating.

    Reply
  •  pyes
    pyes

    You're kidding right? Not sure if you've ever been in a scrum before but the number 1 priority on opposition put in is to disrupt the ball - that means having a hack at it if it's bobbling around on the other side which is clearly what he is doing. All these attacks on McCaw's sportsmanship are pathetic - the Parra incident is so far from intentional it's laughable to even bring it up. For all of the blatantly intentional attacks that he has been subject to, McCaw is one of the cleanest players I ever seen. I will say that I do think there has been a concerted effort to build his status in the game in order to intimidate referees but that's just good winning strategy.

    Reply
  •  bnations
    bnations

    Yep, I noticed it. Reminded me of the Mikey Wilson (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/mikey-wilson-middle-finger-kid) but worse somehow since the kid that I saw was old enough to know better.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    Pocock and Brussow and Warburton also play to the edge of the rules. But theirs is a different set of rules to McCaw.

    Reply
  •  p_daddie
    p_daddie

    McCaw is one of the best in the world because he plays on the edge of the rules. Higginbotham reacted to that and McCaw didnt complain to ref coz he knew it was retribution

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Just seen up there that Scott got a 4 week ban (2 matches) and that Eben got a 2 week ban (1 match) so actually I can see where they're coming from on this one then... I do wish they'd keep things in either "matches" or "weeks"... makes things a little confusing for those of us who cannot be bothered to look things up...

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    I have no idea how Kiwi's can not see that McCaw cheats.... I mean any DECENT flanker cheats, they're there straight away trying to steal the ball, regardless of the legality of the situation, it just so happens that McCaw seems to get away with it an awful lot... But why the big hype around him if he isn't a cheat... is it jealousy because he is a "winner"... well, whilst the AB's have pretty much been a force to reckon with since the beginning of time, they have also been far from unbeatable... the RWC's have not gone their way, not all tri nations have gone their way...So to conclude, there is no "vendetta" against the kiwi's, it is just pointing out that quite simply McCaw cheats... Of course we all want him on OUR team because he is a decent player even when he doesn't cheat... So it's nothing to be ashamed about... a good majority of penalties in any game are down to one side cheating in one way or another.. and there is plenty video evidence of McCaw and his buddies in black being a bit cynical.. So after all that ^^ I can see why players get frustrated and resort to violence against McCaw... HOWEVER, I also think Higginbotham is an idiot... firstly Oz HAD the penalty already, so he ran the risk of getting it overturned. Secondly in a high profile match there had to be about a million camera angles of this incident, so he ran the risk of being caught, and thirdly what would it achieve anyway, it wasn't hard enough to injure McCaw but it wasn't a cheeky clap in his face or something to attempt to rile him up... I think 2 game ban was a little weak, I'd have said 3, or 4. If Etzebeth gets 2 for a weak headbutt (which I didn't have much of a problem with) then surely Higginbotham's punishment should be at least the same as Eben's with an extra something for the knee...

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    Ja, don't blame the robbers. Blame the police who don't arrest them.

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    Are you saying he should get 6 MATCH BANS in total? For me it's more like a one-two WEEK ban for the first offense (and that only because it happenend so closely to the second offense) and a 2-3 WEEK ban for the second offense (intentional, though weak, head but, kinda similar to Etzebeth). So in total about 4 weeks seems ok to me.

    Reply
  •  thegreyghost
    thegreyghost

    Kadova the pitiful play acting of the French team bothers me more than their relentless thuggery to be honest. All that flopping to the ground and pretending to be concussed to slow the match down and halt opposition breakouts is just contrary to the spirit of the game and should be penalised.

    Reply
  •  thegreyghost
    thegreyghost

    Lucky for Higganbotham that McCaw declined The Honour. Head-butting a knight is technically an act of treason which could have seen him face a lengthy prison sentence.

    Reply
  •  kadova
    kadova

    About Richie McCaw knee on Parra, Parra himself said after the match that McCaw would not hurt him if he didn't start to get up when McCaw arrived in the ruck. Parra thought this was unintentional. But the punch McCaw drew at Parra a seconde before was intentional. About the NeoZelanders, they just love their team and players so much, you can't blame themn for that. And in case of you're wondering, i'm French :)

    Reply
  •  thegreyghost
    thegreyghost

    In it's effect the Greyling thing was worse, but what makes this one so bad is that it was so clearly premeditated, and repeated offences. I think he should have got 2 matches for the first one, and 4 matches for the second one, just on cumulative premeditation.

    Reply
  •  thegreyghost
    thegreyghost

    Guy, at least the guy will miss arguably the Wallabies two toughest tests : France and England. Compare that to the Greyling "two week suspension" for a blatant forearm to the face. The guy missed one game and a week off. Pitiful. Interestingly the citing commissioner responsible for this latest travesty is that same South African responsible for letting Cooper off the hook last year. And Saffas wonder why we think of them all as mindless thugs, huh?

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    Actually Higgers got a 4 week ban (2 matches). Etzebeth and Greyling both got 2 weeks (1 match each). I think 2 matches is about fair, maybe even a bit too harsh in my opinion. It was worse than Etzebeth but I thought what Greyling did was worse than Higginbotham and could have actually caused a concussion or break a jaw or something like that. There was never any danger to McCaw's health during what Higginbotham did.

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    Actually Higgers got a 4 week ban (2 matches). Etzebeth and Greyling both got 2 weeks (1 match each). I think 2 matches is about fair, maybe even a bit too harsh in my opinion. It was worse than Etzebeth but I thought what Greyling did was worse than Higginbotham and could have actually caused a concussion or break a jaw or something like that. There was never any danger to McCaw's health during what Higginbotham did.

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    Well I did warn that this was my carebear vision of rugby. I agree that leadership takes much more than being exemplary at the breakdown, but I like to think that it's better when a captain is. On a sidenote, I'd love to rewatch a video from a few years back ; it was a TV panel with a few international players, and Dallaglio was among them. The host asks them all, at some point, who was the biggest cheat they had ever known, and they all silently turned and looked at Dallaglio! I can imagine the same sort of thing happening with Ritchie in a few years:)

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    On point 2: Actually verbaly abusing someone is an act contrary to good sportsmanship. So in my humble opinion there is a law against it. Just trying to be a wisecrack, sorry ;-)

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Word Of The Day, no doubt!!

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Journalist from The Australian apparently - more here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/opinion/theres-a-reason-sides-pick-on-richie-mccaw/story-e6frg7v6-1226500298171 Good sport, Richie.

    Reply
  •  steban
    steban

    It's a complete outrage that Higginbotham gets penalised after McCaw's face abuse Scott's knee and afterwards he gets headbutted by McCaw!!! Kiwi conspiracy against Wallabies!!!

    Reply
  •  joeythelemur
    joeythelemur

    That's a joke, right? You seem to think that a captain's main function is to not commit penalties, since that would make him "somewhat of a cheat" and therefore insufficiently "deontonlogical". (I'll admit, I had to look that one up.) Whatever you think of McCaw's breakdown work, he certainly leads by example and clearly inspires the guys around him. He's one of the greatest captains the ABs have ever had, arguably the greatest. 76 starts as captain, 67 wins, 8 losses, 1 draw, nearly 89% win rate.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Check this out - it is a classic! I've no idea who this bloke is but awesome of Offside Rich to sign this!! http://instagram.com/p/RATODZwsOQ/

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    I would say QC had some big balls going after McCaw all game like that.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Eggman - you are right here. Sorry, my bad. The elbow in the throat was the game before.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Jon. Caught Pocock for sure but it looks like he's going for the ball to me. But I guess for those of you hunt out every bit of McCaw dirt its conclusive proof of the mans evil.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    stroudos 1. Its was an accident. They happen. 2. If his balls are at his knees, then QC needs longer shorts. 3. As I said, pretty pathetic from McCaw.

    Reply
  •  blew1
    blew1

    Seems to me the only consistent tactic Austrailia has got against the All Blacks is have one of their players take a few cheap shots at McCaw...and still end up second best!! That is just sly from Higginbottom, no need at all.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Eggman. The kneeing was in another game mate. AFTER this game. The elbow in the throat was earlier in this game.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Sorry to wade into this, but your descriptions of these incidents are wide of the mark. 1. Looked pretty deliberate to me. And it was not the only moment where Parra was cynically targeted by the Kiwis in that game. 2. Cooper legitimately cleared him off a ruck where, surprise surprise Offside Rich was entering from the side. As far as I'm aware standing over someone you've just cleared from a ruck and verbally abusing him is not against any rugby law. "Push-kick"? That's a new one. And it looked more like he was aiming for the bollocks, rather than leg, to me. 3. Ref warns Mealamu to get his bloody hands off the ball, Offside Rich leans over right where Cooper's standing and tries to get his hands on the ball. Cooper completely fairly pushes him back - fuck's sake it's either that or allow the Maestro to slow your ruck ball down yet again. McCaw's action here is the worst I've ever seen from him, usually plays hard but fair whereas this was a one-off cheap shot on Cooper. Just to clarify, Big Richie fan here, I just disagree with your analysis of those incidents.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I am a bit puzzled here: Two weeks for a knee and a headbutt? What does that say? 'Officially it's illegal but we will let you of with a warning.' That's what it says.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I am starting to think that this IS something the coaches deal with. It almost seems like some players receive instructions on how to try and take McCaw out of his rythm. Maybe Deans read McCaw's biography... Whahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    @remember On your second point, I didn't see any swinging arm to the face. What I see is McCaw doing the most blatant side entry possible and Cooper clearing him out legally. He then stands over him doing i don't know what. McCaw responds by kicking/push kicking him away. Also McCaw did the punch/push/wrestle move on Cooper BEFORE Cooper kneed him in the head in the same game.

    Reply
  •  foxtrot
    foxtrot

    I can't believe he only gets 2 weeks for this when Etsebeth got 2 weeks for a 'mock' headbutt.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Stupid Higginbotham, i don't really get what was the goal of this knee? australia had the penalty and he put a very slow knee in mc caw face. if seen, penalty reversed for all blacks... on the headbutt, more than higginbotham movement, i just see 2 players who exchange some kind words. Don't know what the ban for that on mccaw reputation, of course, i'm with most of people to say that i'm annoyed by his cheat behaviour on a pitch and with the refs, but i really don't get why players should be allowed some "cheap-shot" revenges on him. on new-zealanders "view" on mccaw, tricky, but can we really make them this reproach...?

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Yeah, think the commentator got a bit confused - everyone knows it's a "Glasgow Kiss"! Surely a Liverpool kiss is one that's blown from a distance while running away with the wheels of your car...

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Thats it? 1. You bring up the Para incident? Is that supposed to be a joke? You're delusional if you want to attribute that one to dirty play. 2. You mean he responds to coopers swinging arm to the face ruck clear out and standover with a pretty soft push-kick on the leg? BTW where is the raking of Pocock's leg? 3. Fair enough, he kind of elbows cooper who had run up and grabbed him around the head (again). You do recall that this is the game where Cooper had McCaw pinned to a ruck with an elbow driven into his throat? Of course you remember that. So "knee, kick, punch and elbow" his way through games becomes: 1 x pure rugby incident. 2 x minor incidents in a pathetic little feud with Quade Cooper, which Cooper had no trouble contributing to or escalating. 1 x imagined incident with Pocock. You'll have to do better than that. Everyone knows about these because they are the same ones that folks like yourself bring up. 2 incidents in a 112 test career - both involving the same wind up merchant Mozzie? Do you have an example that doesn't involve QC?

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    The one thing I find detestable in Ritchie Dallaglio McCaw is that he is a captain. In my carebear vision of rugby, captains are deontologically sound men who lead by example. Men such as Sam Warburton, Thierry Dusautoir, Johnny Wilkinson, Chris Paterson [...] I've watched a few off-field interviews of McCaw and from those have concluded long ago that he surely is a great guy, but on the pitch he's somewhat of a cheat (to put it mildly) and for that matter alone Kiwis should not make him a captain. There are a lot of great play-by-the-book ABs who'd make a greater captain.

    Reply
  •  stubby
    stubby

    find vids like this with McCaw being the perpetrator http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9RYZStDdDI

    Reply
  •  stubby
    stubby

    not really the same are they? the first vid he is driving in to the ruck. the second is more like pushing with the foot than kicking the third more pushing and doing the 'get the f*&^ off me' shrug off if you are going to provide examples, please make sure they are of the same caliber of the stuff imposed on him.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Brilliant response - "show me examples" - BAM! The thing that strikes me - and admittedly I don't know any more about the real Richie McCaw than anyone else on here - is I get the impression he would cringe at all this hero worship and all these admirers saying he needs protection. Apart from being an awesome player, at the end of the day he's a back row forward who loves to mix it up in every game. Not at all averse to a spot of violence himself and has shown time and again that he's perfectly capable of looking after himself.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Please direct me to the games that McCaw has kneed, kicked, punched and elbowed his way through. I must have missed them.

    Reply
  •  gazmeister
    gazmeister

    It's not about Richie McCaw or his annoying-ness, his credentials speak for themselves. It's about thuggery and targeting a player's head. Joubert was crouching and looking intently into that incident and did basically nothing but say, "this kind of thing is bound to happen." Should have been a red card. Higginbotham should get 4-6 weeks, or they'll just keep doing it. McCaw's lack of bleating over it raises him above the rest in my view. If it was Rocky Elsom we'd never hear the end of it.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Thats right. ONLY McCaw gets away with these things. Every referee is complicit in a gigantic conspiracy to protect McCaw. Or maybe they are hypnotised by the black jersey? Strange how the same powers that you believe are out to protect him turn a blind eye to Dylan Hartley, Andy Powell and Quade Cooper clocking him in the head. They are also happy to ignore a Rougerie or McLaughlin eye gouge. "the criticism is that he is allowed to get away with it" IF, what you say is true then you should shut up about McCaw because he is not the problem is he? You should hate the referees or the governing bodies. Hate the NZRFU for bribing the refs or something.

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    That's right, I'm not simple!! ;)

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    Oh, it's actually Mealamu who gets penalized. McCaw is probably only using Kevin M's diversion to nibble at the ball while no one is watching. Doesn't change HigginB's ridiculousness.

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    Oh darn it, you're both right! I only watched the video once and my eyes were only on McCaw.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Penalty was against Mealamu. (Apologies for the pedantry).

    Reply

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  • The penalty here was against Mealamu who dived through the ruck and brought the ball with him as he went forward off his feet. Silly stuff from Higgenbottem and fair play to Ritchie for shrugging it off, have to agree with Welsh on that one

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    Stupid thing to do, even if it's understandable. I think he also did it to annoy McCaw. Neither the knee nor head butt was strong enough to actually do damage (unlike Greyling's forarm/elbow to the face). So I think he did it to get the same reaction Cooper got when he did it last time. Even McCaw admits in his book that it riled him up and caused him to make a bad decision once or twice during the game. If Higginbotham achieved the same it's mission accomplished. That being said it's still wrong and kinda stupid to do it in a position where it's bound to be seen by either the ref or at least by a camera. Considering Etzebeth and Greyling got 2 weeks for something comparable I'm expecting something similar. Agree with the view a few other had on here that the kiwi press and Hansen is overreacting.. McCaw plays on the edge of the law, it's gonna piss players off and they're going to react. Not saying he deserves what he gets, but saying he should expect it from happening and that Hansen and the press should know that.

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    Well, he is the player directly responsible for the penalty against the ABs at that point, so his best strategy is to lie low (so that the referee reverses the penalty).

    Reply
  •  moddeur
    moddeur

    McCaw on his knees, entering from the side, grabbing on to the ball. Ref correctly calls a penalty against the ABs. Australians pissed. Consequently, Higginbackside delivers a cheap shot, an incredibly infantile -though non too-violent- knee into McCaw's face (which is downright stupid and unnecessary and deserves a yellow card). End of story from my point of view. I don't care much about the following headbutt because when two foreheads nearly touch each other, at one point one player is going to give in to the other's provocation - and we all know Ritchie is too busy developing his loveable and fairplay aura for him to deliver the first blow). There are far worse things going on all around the pitch (twisted necks in rucks, hands in the genital area in tackles, etc) ... Maybe a two-match ban against Higginposterior for his unsportsmanlike behaviour.

    Reply

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  • PS - Ando, dont get this wrong, my post was directed at pescarranas

    Reply

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  • Also have to express admiration for McCaw for how he takes this kind of abuse. No diving, no whinning, no punching and he went on to make 13 tackles and a number of steals in the game, basicly being one of the reasons the ABs didn't lose the match. Highenbottom, on the other hand, could have cost his team the game, had the referee redcarded him like he deserved

    Reply

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  • What are you, simple? I'm not even going to argue that any other fetcher will do what he does, like pocock. But are you trying to say that he deserves to get flying elbows, knees to the head and headbuts, in this case AFTER THE WHISTLE, because he lays offside? Gee, I'd hate to see what would happen if you would play against bakkies. You'd probably end up shooting him at half time and it would be ok because he is just a thug. If McCaw transgresses or not in the breakdown is an entirely different subject altogether. In rugby you are NOT allowed to knee, elbow, kick, punch or headbut a guy no matter how angry you are towards a player or his actions. What's next? Assaulting the referee everytime he screws up (boy, would bryce lawrence be in trouble)? Stick to football

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    Really stupid, idiotic thing for Higginbotham to do. And unnecessary too - the Wallabies were doing a decent job during the game to not let the ABs get away with their normal crap around the breakdown, and the ref was on to their/McCaw's shenanigans too. He should have kept it clean and legal and let it be whistled in their favour. I do however find the Kiwi reaction to this kind of stuff pretty amusing. Hansen's comments aside, an NZ newspaper called for an eight-week ban to "protect the best player in the game [from] being battered by hackers and lugs with barely half his ability''. They talk about poor little Richie like he's some national treasure who needs special protection. Come on Kiwis... McCaw's a big boy, he knows exactly what he's doing out there and how much he pushes the boundaries. Usually he gets (legally) pummeled by the opposition for doing what he does, I don't have any problem with that and I'm sure he doesn't either.

    Reply
  •  welshwizardry
    welshwizardry

    Fair play to McCaw though: no complaining, no whining when the ref calls him and Higginbotham over. Tough cookie.

    Reply

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