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Friday May 2, 2014

Tom Court shown straight red card for tip tackle on Devin Toner

Tom Court shown straight red card for tip tackle on Devin Toner
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Comments

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.

44 Comments

  • drg
    11:32 PM 07/05/2014

    ...laws..

    Reply
  • drg
    10:17 PM 06/05/2014

    Of course... I am not necessarily addressing this incident, I am talking about the comment you made in general... The way Toner is lifted here, I think he contributed to the ending by twisting (I assume to offload the ball) but I don't think the angle of his legs (the way they were being lifted) would have left him with many other options other than to go with the flow..

    Reply
  • xxxwookie
    1:48 PM 06/05/2014

    Not really, I get that being lifted, having some upper body strength allows for a degree of maneuverability. However, there's a huge difference between being voluntarily lifted in a lineout - which you've practiced a million times and know what to expect - and being lifted by a leg and driven upwards as is the case in this tackle. If you jump in a lineout you have good form, you jump straight up and your lifters take you the rest of the way and provide a neat little seat for you. If you drag a leg out from underneath and sweep it away you can't do anything about it. If you take a leg in the way that Court did and lift up, blaming the liftee is ridiculous for the simple fact that the lifter has lost control and put the player at risk. Similarly, a lineout lifter can be penalised for being reckless with his jumper. Look at Mtawarira's lifting where he flicked his jumper back over his head and he was warned. If you lift, to the letter of the law you have to be in full control and anything that happens as a result is your fault. If Court follows his teammate's example in the same tackle and holds a low body position and drives through instead of up Toner won't be able to flip deliberately or accidentally.

    Reply
  • drg
    1:15 AM 06/05/2014

    Apparently there is little point in explaining myself further as you apparently didn't read my initial explanation in reply to your first comment...

    Reply
  • xxxwookie
    7:58 PM 05/05/2014

    Virtually incorrect means correct. What's your point?

    Reply
  • colombes
    2:54 PM 05/05/2014

    Unlucky, but deserved red card. Safety of the player, above all. But, i nthis case, the 2nd tackler played a major importance by lifting Toner body... Court lost control the whole thing when his hooker stopped to grab Toner

    Reply
  • 9:18 AM 05/05/2014

    I dunno, if Toner hadn't tried to turn himself around in the tackle he would've gone to ground on his back, probably with his legs under his shoulders. I would say that the tackled player should shoulder some part of the responsibility in his own safety. Harsh on Court, he was singled out as he was the one going forward, but he was one of 2 tacklers.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:28 PM 04/05/2014

    Hahaha, love it :D The furthest I have got is colour co-ordinating the colour of the electrical tape holding one pair of boots together after forgetting to replace them after they got torn one game. I have a lot to learn from the backs!

    Reply
  • drg
    3:24 PM 04/05/2014

    Haha, do you have coloured boots, I dream of one day being a fast enough forward to wear coloured boots..

    Reply
  • drg
    11:19 AM 04/05/2014

    ...and virtually none, is virtually incorrect..

    Reply
  • drg
    2:31 AM 04/05/2014

    But as Notawelsh.... said, and rightly so, is that if the primary objective is to ensure player safety then we may as well avoid all tackling. If the first duty of a referee is to ensure all safety; without any consideration to the game, then he may as well not blow the whistle to signal the start of the game and leave the outcome of who wins and who loses down to the simple coin toss - with goggles of course. I get your point, but you clearly aren't reading between Davies post, so I am just demonstrating what happens if I don't read between the lines of your post...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:43 PM 03/05/2014

    Lol, six studs per boot? I have 8 per boot...

    Reply
  • notawelshdavies
    10:30 PM 03/05/2014

    I would actually disagree with what you've just written. The emphasis of rugby is not 'on safety.' By it's very nature, rugby is unsafe. Applying your logic, we may as well avoid all tackling, as that way, 'there is no risk' to the player being tackled. Although I agree that dangerous play should be condemned, lifting a leg (or two) in the tackle is part of the game, and dump tackling is tremendous to watch and do; big hits are a part of rugby.

    Reply
  • xxxwookie
    9:51 PM 03/05/2014

    Nonsense. The terminology has changed and the definition has been clarified because of inconsistencies in what referee's called a spear, but this is a spear. He's turned in the air, driven into the ground and it can do serious damage. I've seen plenty of yellows and reds given for these incidents in the last 15 years. More cards and penalties appear now because the definition has been clarified and referees know specifically what they look for. Also, now that referees can go back to these incidents with the TMO, you're bound to see more penalised Point 1, you've not seen serious injuries in the professional game because the players are better conditioned and represent a fraction of the rugby playing population. When you see these tackles in lower leagues they sure as hell do cause serious injuries. You've also surely seen fairly serious injuries from these tackles that have seen players forced to leave the pitch because I have. Point 2, how many players have you seen retire with chronic shoulder and neck injuries? These tackles contribute a great deal so just because someone hasn't broken a neck doesn't mean that they didn't injure their neck in one of these tackles and retire later as a direct result or later suffer serious chronic problems. Point 3 You don't react to those serious neck breaks, you look for the best ways possible to prevent them in the first place. It's like making a car and not thinking to put brakes in it until someone crashes.

    Reply
  • xxxwookie
    9:35 PM 03/05/2014

    The key is what they do with the leg that they grab. Both go in on the leg, but 2 keeps his body position and holds. 1 however is the one that follows through with a lift that takes it through the horizontal and causes the tip. Likely that in mitigation they'll say that the second tackler makes it easier to make the mistake, but it is ultimately him that's done it.

    Reply
  • xxxwookie
    9:28 PM 03/05/2014

    I said virtually none. There is some freedom and the reaction to turn to fall to your front is instinctive rather than control. However, it doesn't change the fact that in the lift, the tackle was loose and that led to Toner turning in the air. If you drive through and put your opponent's back on the ground, you're fine, but if you lift his leg, he will always tip, especially someone Toner's size. Tacklers have to remember the simple rule to not lift the legs, because anything that happens afterwards is their responsibility and that's clear enough within the rules

    Reply
  • drg
    7:58 PM 03/05/2014

    The game was also far better before rucking got taken out of it, but I still get 'virtually' yelled at when I state I am for it. I agree and disagree with you, lets say the game has no cards and your team has a player like Johnny Wilkinson or a Dan Carter for the SH guys. You know this guy is dangerous so you get him off the pitch by using your extremely good but also big player, with a swinging arm or a punch up and the game has changed for the worse and the offending player can play on...

    Reply
  • drg
    7:54 PM 03/05/2014

    2 roads leading to the same destination I think.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    3:38 PM 03/05/2014

    The game made it for about 180 years without cards and was better off. It's just a whole can of worms with major inconsistencies applied and too much power in the hands of a referee. Red cards ruin more games than foul play ever did. The cure is worse than the disease.

    Reply
  • upthelowend
    12:43 PM 03/05/2014

    Aww Luke Pearce was on a pretty decent run before this game as well! Yellow at most IMO.

    Reply
  • 45678
    12:17 PM 03/05/2014

    I'm not sure about this, but it is consistent with the rules being applied lately What initiates this incident is a 6'11" lock ambling up to brick wall defence and remaining in an upright body position. There are many more dynamic players that would have dominated the collision, but can't help think the ball carrier was somewhat to blame for poor technique

    Reply
  • reality
    12:16 PM 03/05/2014

    I was actually getting at something else. The point I was making wasn't that they should pretend Kearney wasn't there and therefore give Jackson an imaginary run around to underneath the posts. What I meant was that Jackson was actually penalised in a sense because he was good enough to get the ball down. It definitely would have been a penalty try if he hadn't managed to ground it and therefore he would have gotten an easy kick, but because he did ground it he gets an extremely difficult kick. Why can't they award him the try but give him the benefit that a penalty try would have entailed in the form of an easy kick?

    Reply
  • reality
    12:12 PM 03/05/2014

    Bah, it's black and white decisions and a lack of common sense like that that has resulted in red cards becoming a farce in rugby. First of all, Toner actually had the ball and he was upended in a tackle, whereas that wasn't the case in 2005. Secondly the two players dropped him when they realised that he had been lifted off the ground and was about to land awkwardly, they didn't turn him upside down and drive him into the ground. Guidelines should be issued for specific types of foul play but they should also be flexible enough to take into account what actually happened. It's kind of like the difference between accidentally knocking someone down in your car and shooting someone in the face. Same result, but obviously deserving of different sanctions.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:10 AM 03/05/2014

    Whether or not you or myself view the Court tackle as a red is a moot point when it comes down to 'red cards ruining the game'... In reality there is a reason for 'straight' red cards, a player (fan or management team) has done something so heinous that they are ejected from the field because the referee feels the player is unable to keep control of himself is a danger to others around him (I suppose that includes being verbally 'dangerous' too...) So with that in mind I am all for red cards being issued to those players deserving them. There are a few things I can think of straight away: 1) Andrew Hore swinging arm on Welsh player. 2) Andy Hazell red card after barrage of punches and a knee (which the guy probably deserved, but it had to be a red card) 3) Multiple reds over the years from eye gouging - or that should have been reds.. Then we have the 2 yellows = 1 red, which I think again is fair enough. If you kill the right by your try line 'the red zone' then chances are you'll get a yellow card, do it on the half way and you'll probably be fine. So it is only fair that someone who keeps committing the sort of indiscretions that stop the other team from playing and scoring is sent away. I agree red cards probably alter the outcome of games, however there is a reason for that, the player has let his team down with his poor discipline and therefore he will be punished not only as an individual but as a team member and his team will 'reap what he sows' and will know what it is like to play what is potentially a lost game as soon as the red is issued, so hopefully they learn from HIS mistake.

    Reply
  • iainbenson
    7:30 AM 03/05/2014

    Are there stats on red cards and final results? Too often the red destroys a game. Maybe there needs to be rule changes: 1) end a sin bin stay after the other team scores (as happens in ice hockey); 2) introduce a double yellow for serious but not OTT offences. And this tackle was a yellow.

    Reply
  • jreinheimer
    6:30 AM 03/05/2014

    Perfect call. It's a risk lifting a player up in the air and is the tackling players responsibility to bring the tackled player down safely. This wasn't done and there are no excuses. While there was no malicious intent, there was intent to lift the player in the air. This is a very unfortunate incident as the lifted player also got tilted over the horizontal after hitting the second tackler, but that is all part of risk involved. Toner is very lucky not to have been seriously injured here.

    Reply
  • 1:09 AM 03/05/2014

    I argue kearneys tackle had more intent and actually could be just as dangerous. Court is responsible but toners height played a part too, that's a lot of man to control. Then again, not toners fault either

    Reply
  • drg
    12:15 AM 03/05/2014

    I get less and less interested in discussing 'tip tackles' these days. The laws seems to change only just less frequently than the referees decisions over the same types of incidents, so I'm less inclined to care, should I ever commit a heinous tackle or be on the receiving end of one, least I won't be surprised by the colour of card shown to myself or the opposition player due to the lack of consistency around the globe. The real interesting part of your comment is regarding Kearney's tackle, I quite like that idea in some respects, a penalty try is; as far as I gather, where an incident is treated as if the offending player was not there, or had not interfered with the scorer, so if we look at this incident and say that Kearney had not been there, then it would be more than likely that Jackson would run it round under the posts himself. Interesting concept there, I like that.

    Reply
  • reality
    11:46 PM 02/05/2014

    Wookie, I'm not saying that it's the case here, but to say when you're lifted you have no control over anything isn't really true. Go to 4.30 in this video and you'll see that if you want to make your landing look bad and get the tackler in trouble then you can do it: http://www.rugbydump.com/2013/11/3503/the-springboks-end-satisfying-year-with-victory-over-france-in-paris

    Reply
  • reality
    11:32 PM 02/05/2014

    I've sympathy for Court because both tacklers seem to pick up a leg not realising the other is doing the same thing, and then Toner seems to flip himself over. I suppose that's what you risk when you pick people up by the legs though. It doesn't look like he drove him at all though; it looks like he drops him before he hits the ground because he realises what's going on. In a world where common sense can be used, yellow, but in the current black and white rugby world an understandable red. Kearney's tackle was an accident and nothing more. A yellow. It makes me wonder though why the attacking team don't get a kick from in front on the posts in situations like that. If Jackson had gone into touch it would have been a penalty try and a guaranteed 7, but because he was good enough to get it down despite the foul he then has an extremely difficult kick. Shouldn't they award the try (giving credit to the player and not calling it an anonymous penalty try) and then a kick from in front of the posts considering the foul?

    Reply
  • drg
    11:28 PM 02/05/2014

    Pretty late by then though isn't it Eddie, I mean lets say you had someone like an anonymous prop who is blowing out his ass on one leg and your 'I can kick any kick from anywhere on the pitch' 10 on the other leg, it wouldn't make you the happiest coach in the world to see the 10 singled out as the one responsible, especially if it turns out it was the wrong player in the end. I assume though it probably has something to do with the player in the most control on the way back down, in this case it looks like Court..

    Reply
  • drg
    11:24 PM 02/05/2014

    As someone who is quite regularly 'lifted' in the lineout, I can say I whole heartedly disagree with your sentence of 'When you are lifted, you have virtually no control over anything.' Having good core strength means you can quite nicely control yourself when someone has hold of your legs and to top it all off, as someone who has also feigned a topple in the lineout because an opposition player has made contact with my arm when lifted, I know full well it's pretty easy to make something out of nothing. p.s last part I'm not too proud of in retrospect, however contact was made and I did miss the ball as a result of the contact, so the penalty should have been there anyway.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:19 PM 02/05/2014

    ....Sorry, but, shouldn't the Toner tackle technically result in two red cards? 2 players lifted the guy and two players did not return him to the ground safely?... ..I mean either way I couldn't give a hoot as I'd have said that Toner was the cause of it, but in this namby pamby 'he could have died' world, I'd have thought 2 reds would have been the fairer option... As for the Kearney card, fair enough, RD mentions 'controversial' not sure if I'd call it controversial myself, seemed like a good call by the referee. I agree with Eddie-g regarding the Kearney tackle, a scrag or something wouldn't have been a bother, but Jackson wasn't even particularly ducking for the line...

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    11:11 PM 02/05/2014

    Somebody help me out. I know the wording has changed, but when did this no dumping law come about? I'm thinking something like 10 years ago?

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    10:44 PM 02/05/2014

    Yup, great question. Presumably that's something the citing guy has to look at... Rather him than me.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    10:38 PM 02/05/2014

    Those are my thoughts exactly. Each player has lifted a leg not realising the other has also done likewise. By the time they try to react, Toner's 6ft11 frame has been flipped upside down, which is quite a feat. Picking which player to punish is like playing a game of eenie meenie miny moe (hopefully not Jeremy Clarkson's version). Regardless, I really don't like Muller's comments. He got arsey with the ref over the Payne incident as well. He knows his voice is getting picked up on the refs mic and shouldn't be pulling that shit. By turning the ref against you it's also the worst thing you can do for your team.

    Reply
  • bunn
    10:23 PM 02/05/2014

    I the major question is how does the ref decide which of the two tacklers is responsible? Can he now argue that without the other tackler involved it would not be a tip tackle?

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    10:07 PM 02/05/2014

    @redwan Afraid I couldn't disagree more with the argument that this is all on Toner. I'd take it even further and say that anything Toner did here was entirely predictable. When you stop a runner dead, and then lift him and start driving him back, you should know that the player will try to turn and present the ball to a team-mate. There's nothing surprising about what Toner did. This is 99% on the tacklers, they lifted the bloke, and they created a dangerous situation. I'll give Court this, he wasn't the only person in the tackle, and it's hard to say if he was mainly responsible for tipping him. But it sure as heck wasn't Toner.

    Reply
  • xxxwookie
    9:56 PM 02/05/2014

    have to agree with Eddie G. Court has lifted and lost control. As soon as you lift a player you are responsible. If you lose control in that tackle, you've misjudged it and made a mistake and you're in red card territory unless you recover the tackle safely. When Toner lands on his head, Court holds on and drives into the ground sealing his red card. Malice is unnecessary for a red card and the defence of "dropping" the player is erroneous because dropping a player through the horizontal is still a red card. When you are lifted, you have virtually no control over anything so to blame Toner is crazy. If you lift, you have to hold the player tight so he doesn't turn and flop in your arms, you then have to continue moving forward to bring the player down on his side/back or drop them to their feet. in short, lift, turn, head into ground, drive forward is a red card

    Reply
  • rufio
    9:48 PM 02/05/2014

    SPOT ON MATE. It doesnt matter if the elbows go above the 90, i believe its if the players body passes the 90% thresh hold. As you can see here clearly from the replays, it is dangerous and whilst it may not be intentional, the player does go above 90, is driven with downward force and does land on his neck!!! Not often i say this, but the ref is 100% correct

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    9:41 PM 02/05/2014

    Re. Kearney - I think a fair enough decision, it was high, but it was more a scrag than a swinging arm or anything malicious. Re. Court - I think the RD write-up nails it. The ref is absolutely correct, the law requires a red card for these types of offenses, and malice doesn't come into it. In case too, the tacklers clearly lift Toner; the law is completely clear that if this happens, it is your job as a tackler to bring the player down safely. The basis for the law is that the tackled player, once in the air, has very little control over his balance, and even a very small adjustment, a slight turn, can cause him to topple very dangerously. It's definitely not Toner's fault here, I hope Paul Wallace wasn't trying to imply as much. Court is a little unlucky from the point of view that he was one of two tacklers, but the law was designed precisely to try to avoid these situations, and the ref's decision was correct.

    Reply
  • 9:31 PM 02/05/2014

    Also, the tackle from Kearney was a bit off the book. I think the ref got that one right though.

    Reply
  • 9:29 PM 02/05/2014

    I agree with Wallace there, the tackler didnt cause that, that was all the tackled player. Toner bent over in the air, causing the imbalance that ended up with him falling face-first into the dirt. Maybe a penalty for lifting the player, and the consequent awkward landing, but thats never a red card for Court. I hope if this gets referred to the Citing Commissioner, they apply a bit of common sense and see that; although to the letter of the law, its the tacklers responsibility to make sure they come down safely, the bending over of Toner in the air was not something that Court could have predicted or even countered, so no further sanction should happen!

    Reply
  • mattyj
    9:15 PM 02/05/2014

    unfortunate indeed, surely a yellow would have done by the law of the book

    Reply


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Tom Court shown straight red card for tip tackle on Devin Toner | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos