Ulster prop Tom Court was shown a straight red card in tonight’s RaboDirect PRO12 match between Ulster and Leinster at Ravenhill. Court was part of a double tackle on 6ft11 Ireland lock Toner, and appeared to drive him to the ground as Toner twisted.
Prop Court and hooker Rob Herring made the tackle and lifted Toner before – as we’ve seen on previous occasions – the tackled player turned, and in the process the tackle outcome changed. That’s the way it looked anyway, and unfortunately he landed face flat in the turf.
Former Ireland international Paul Wallace tweeted about his frustration with the decision.
“He’s gone above the horizontal, and he’s landed on his neck. I’ve got no option but a red card,” explained referee Luke Pearce, much to Ulster captain Johan Muller’s annoyance.
“You are joking,” could be heard twice, as Court seemed to say something like “Please Sir… I let him go in the air,” trying to indicate that there was no malice involved.
Malicious or not, Toner landed terribly and with the laws the way they are – to protect players in the tackle – the referee was correct in saying that he had no option but to give a red card.
UPDATE: Leinster won the match 22-20 after a tight finish. Court tweeted the following to Toner:
In another controversial incident, Rob Kearney was yellow carded for a high tackle on Paddy Jackson as the Ulster flyhalf sprinted in for a try. You can see that on page two off this post.
UPDATE: Court has been suspended for 2 weeks. You can read the full press release here
Rob Kearney is yellow carded after a desperate tackle in the corner nearly took Paddy Jackson’s head off. Jackson managed to stay in and scored the try anyway.
The disciplinary hearing press release reads as follows:
Tom Court, the Ulster prop forward, appeared today (Thursday) before an independent PRO12 Disciplinary Committee in Neath, South Wales, having been dismissed with a red card in the RaboDirect PRO12 match between Ulster and Leinster at Ravenhill on Friday 2 May 2014.
The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Simon Thomas, alongside Terry Vaux and Robert Williams (all from Wales), viewed the footage of the incident and listened to representations by, and on behalf of, the player via video-link.
The committee decided that the offence, a dangerous “lifting” tackle contrary to Law 10.4(j), was at the low end of the IRB’s scale of sanctions for this type of offence and, in imposing a two-week suspension, they applied a deterrent factor of an additional week but then reduced the sanction by three weeks, to reflect, among other factors, the player’s acceptance of the red card and his previous excellent disciplinary record.
Tom Court is therefore suspended until midnight on Sunday 18 May and has the right of appeal.