Friday Feb 23, 2018

Scott Higginbotham pleads innocence but red card wrecks Reds opener

Scott Higginbotham pleads innocence but red card wrecks Reds opener
12
Comments

The Queensland Reds had a nightmare start to their Super Rugby campaign as they lost a man after just ten minutes, leading to a heavy 45-19 loss at the hands of the Melbourne Rebels. Scott Higginbotham had a match to forget after he made this tackle early on.

After consultation with the TMO, referee Brendon Pickerill summed things up and opted to send the Reds skipper off after his dangerous shoulder charge to the head of ball carrier Matt Phillip.

31-year-old Higginbotham argued that Phillip had been falling into the tackle, but the amount of force used and the lack of arms in the challenge meant that Pickerill was left with the choice between a lenient yellow or a sterner red, as per World Rugby directives on contact with the head.

“It was a violent incident, and they had a good look at it. You can’t go high,” said Fox Sports commentator Greg Martin at the break. “If he didn’t hit him in the head with a shoulder, he wouldn’t have got a red card.”

Shortly after that, the Reds were down to 13 men after second rower Lukhan Tui (see below) picked up and dumped former Reds halfback Will Genia into the turf. That might have looked like a more clear cut red card, but Pickerall opted for a yellow card only on that occasion. 

With the Reds down on numbers for most of the match, they did well to lead at the break, but then Genia’s side took control and ended up scoring seven tries to three, for a comfortable opening round win.

UPDATE: Higginbotham has been suspended for 3 weeks. Tui will face his hearing on Tuesday.

The Lukhan Tui incident:

credit: sanzaar/rugbypass

12 Comments

  •  rugbydump
    rugbydump

    UPDATE: Higginbotham has been suspended for 3 weeks. Tui will face his hearing on Tuesday.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Didn't question the rest of the reasoning for a card so not sure what point you're trying to make... The law doesn't stipulate that both arms MUST wrap, nor that the tackling shoulder arm must wrap either... So one arm wrapping should be sufficient... Plus actually, if you look he does use his left arm as a secondary wrap by trying to pull the oppo players head off.... So again, he did wrap...

    Reply
  •  ruckinmaul
    ruckinmaul

    High tackle, shoulder to the head, with force, with intent (intent to hit high), and shoulder charge with no left arm wrap since he led with his left shoulder. Red card.

    Reply
  •  the_osprey
    the_osprey

    Agree with all the above

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    Both tackles are red cards. Ironically, Tui's tackle was probably the most dangerous and he was only given a yellow card.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Not that I'm defending Higginbotham, but as far as I'm aware, doesn't the law stipulate an 'attempt to wrap' must be made? His right arm did somewhat wrap, so for me that satisfies that law.... But I suppose that's sort of like being mugged by someone saying please and thank you...

    Reply
  •  alasdairduncan3
    alasdairduncan3

    Can someone tell me why that Tui one wasn't seen as Red? Even a few years ago, before the latest laws around protecting the player, I would have understood a red card for that move.

    Reply
  •  gallego
    gallego

    Two red cards would have been fair, in my opinion. Higginbotham "tackle" didn't have too much power (so it wasn't thaaat risky), but it was simply awful: all shoulder, no arms, straight to the head. Tui's wrestling move is the very definition of a dangerous tackle: Genia's feet and legs above his waist, and landing over his head.

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    And the other one was probably red too. But it's not often the refs give two reds in a game because strangely they seem to get the blame for 'ruining the spectacle' (?) - apparently it's not the fault of the infringing player/s then...

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    ^ This. In the slow-mo, you can see the expression on his face change when he realises he's lined him up!

    Reply
  •  flanker2712
    flanker2712

    Agree with DrG. And disagree with each of Higginbotham pleas: the tackled player was falling down and Higginbotham didn't have time to wrap his arm. It almost looks the opposite: he waited until the tackled player was upright to line him up and then hit him with the shoulder!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    As much as I gripe about red card decisions these days, I think Higginbotham did himself no favours with the whole manner of the 'tackle'. As he runs towards Phillip he tucks his left arm in and 'throws' his shoulder in... just nothing about it looked subtle. Out of all the reds we see these days, some of them being in a very grey area, I've got to say this one was pretty obvious.

    Reply

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