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Thursday Oct 17, 2019

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Red Card that divided fans and all but ruined Wales' 2011 RWC campaign

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Red Card that divided fans and all but ruined Wales' 2011 RWC campaign

This weekend, Wales and France face each other in a Rugby World Cup match for the first time since that match in 2011, as the two teams fight for a place in the semi-finals in Oita.

Eight years ago, the match was marred by Sam Warburton’s controversial sending off after his dangerous tackle on French winger Vincent Clerc.

France went on to win the match 9-8 to make it into the final, which they narrowly lost to tournament hosts New Zealand.

The incident polarised opinion in some quarters at the time, with the ITV Sport commentators debating whether it even warranted a yellow card, which they initially thought Warburton had received.

But Warburton subsequently stated that he had no complaints as to referee Alain Rolland’s decision.

Added to the drama, was that Warburton was dismissed in the semi-final (only the second player to see red in the last four, with the first ironically also a Welshman, Huw Richards against New Zealand in 1987) which proved pivotal in the outcome.

This year’s tournament has already produced a total of seven red cards, beating the previous highest of four in 1999 and 2003, placing a greater emphasis on the upcoming 2019 knock-out stages.

With revised tackle laws resulting in more players being sent off, teams will inevitably be wary of match-changing incidents which could thwart their chances of further progression.

Looking ahead to their rematch on Sunday, Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes his side will face a revitalised French team, who have played one less match than their opponents, after their final pool match was cancelled due to the Typhoon Hagibis.

Match Preview


  • tccalvin
    7:58 AM 18/10/2019

    From a neutral's POV it was as soft now as it was then.  No intent, no malice and no harm. Where do you draw the line?  Will we see rules stopping people from kicking the ball too hard in future, just in case it hits someone in the face and causes them an injury?  No more high balls as they encourage dangerous competition to catch in mid-air? A top speed limit for running as this exposes the players to high speed impacts?The game is being destroyed by the rule-makers as this World Cup has proven.  Multiple games that have been heavily influenced by nanny-state type lawmakers.

  • 45678
    2:50 PM 17/10/2019

    It was a red card then as much as it would be now. Disputes only arise after the event when it is (my team) affected

    • dai154
      5:20 PM 17/10/2019

      See that is where I think you are wrong, back then they often spoke about intent and if he was dropped on head it wasn't as clear cut as now - fact is it was a mismatched tackle,big guy hitting small guy and didn't expect him to go flying, he was also assisted "most" of the way down, landed on yes it could be interpreted as a red but didn't HAVE to be a red, and plenty of games back then would have been a yellow - but then we had beaten Ireland and were playing France with a half french, half Irish ref

      • colombes
        10:28 AM 18/10/2019

        Your comment is pretty funny regarding Alain Rolland sent-off a French Toulouse player for the same type of tackle few months before in 2011. Of course, there was no polemic in this incident. Who really cares about a French player receive a red card, it should be normal isn't it ? As for your comment saying Rolland is half-french, half-irish... think a minute: how many matchs France played with a half-english ref, half-welsh ref, half-scot ref or half-irish ref in their 6N history? Think well... For me, this Warburton incident exactly epitomizes the double-standards of rugby fans when it comes to judge a tackle where a player finish his fall on his neck... Let's hope there won't be such incident and petty polemics this saturday.

        6:21 PM 17/10/2019
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THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Red Card that divided fans and all but ruined Wales' 2011 RWC campaign | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos