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Tuesday Jan 8, 2013

Tom Varndell tip tackle on Horacio Agulla

Tom Varndell tip tackle on Horacio Agulla

This is the tackle that many are saying was very similar to what Toby Flood has been cited for, as shown in the previous post. In this instance Tom Varndell was yellow carded, while Flood was cited and will more than likely be suspended. 

As you can see by Varndell’s reaction, the decision by the officials came as a bit of a surprise.

Later in the game referee Andrew Small sent Bath’s Dom Day to the sin-bin for a tackling a player in the air, a call that some felt had a lot to do with the earlier decision.

The tip-tackle law is fast becoming a massive irritation for players and fans alike, but it’s not necessarily the referees that are at fault. The laws need looking at, as time and time again we see players harshly sent from the field in a sport that is revered for it’s physicality.

The counter argument would be that while many tackles these days are being unfairly penalised, the aim is to minimise the chances of one occuring that could ultimately be life changing.

All fans want though is consistency, something that for whatever reason isn’t happening.

Opinions on this topic will always vary. Feel free to share yours below.

Photo credit: © 2013 Patrick Khachfe/Onside Images

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  • hrybrn123
    6:19 PM 13/01/2013

    The fact that this, in my opinion, excellent tackle has been compared to Toby Floods is ridiculous. Varndell clearly slides with the man as hes brings him down, this would barely be a penalty. It is legal in the letter of the law.

  • 1:08 PM 11/01/2013

    Seemed a controlled tackle on the replay, but at normal speed with the Bath players complaining perhaps a difficult call... On the other hand injuries are expensive for the teams and therefore efforts to prevent dangerous play are totally understandable, but let's not turn to football!

  • 2:56 PM 10/01/2013

    Don't like the fact that the Bath players all throw their hands up in the air as soon as the player is lifted in the air and put on the deck. Tackle was fine. No penalty or card.

  • jimothy
    8:27 PM 09/01/2013

    Where are people getting the 'lifting past the horizontal' from? I've scoured the IRB website and find no mention of it! A quick search for the word only brings up a section about the touch judges arm movement. What the law actually says is about lifting the feet off the ground and putting the player down safely. is the link and j is the one you are looking for!!!! So by the official Laws of the game the tackle is fine and not even a penalty!!!!

  • stroudos
    3:54 PM 09/01/2013

    *Pedant alert* I'd just like to point out to those above mentioning the phrases "beyond the horizontal" and "took him past 90 degrees", that these terms do not exist in any form in the tackle law, the 2009 directive, nor in the 2011 clarification. I think they're very unhelpful phrases. Refs certainly seem to be using this type of language to adjudicate if a tackle's dangerous or not, where very often (case in point) it is simply not relevant.

  • stroudos
    3:43 PM 09/01/2013

    Citing commissioners would make bloody good internet discussion board trolls.

  • waffleonmyhead
    2:42 PM 09/01/2013

    "All fans want though is consistency". I disagree with this if it means that these type of harmless tackles are going be a sin binning every time. It was a solid tackle on a player who landed fine and placed the ball to be played by his teammates. Wake up RFU and realise that you will lose supporters if you continue to ignore them!

  • darabman
    6:14 AM 09/01/2013

    Varndell put some shove into the tackle and Agulla's feet did go up in the air. Penalty at worst if we're going to make up rules about that sort of thing, but no-one got hurt and the tackle was controlled. The other Bath players making a fuss probably forced the ref's hand, let's not try and emulate the amateur dramatics of some our friends from across the channel!

  • hoss
    5:11 AM 09/01/2013

    One of the comments that keeps getting bandied around is bad form in tackling. When your playing and you get hold of your man you don't let go just because he is going down a little awkward. So imho the refs just jumped the gun a little, but understandably so given how quick everything took place and how it looked.

  • heavyhooker
    2:15 AM 09/01/2013

    This is kind of funny. American Football and hockey are having the same problems with interpreting "rough" play and the thing that is so frustrating, and mentioned above, is the inconsistency of the calls by refs and citing bodies. Review the rules, write them properly, teach the refs, call them consistently and use the TMO to cite the refs for poor calls. This was in no way a card or citing tackle.

  • colombes
    12:52 AM 09/01/2013

    As for Flood tackle in the precedent article, i don't think there is a malicious intention, but the technique is just lousy and clumsy. As said, just above, i still don't understand why some players continue to make this sort of "wrestling" tackles, rather to a strong and brutal one in legs or chest... On a side note, it's quite interesting how the law is unconsistently interpretated from Fritz tackle on Varndell (red card) to this one (yellow card), to Flood (no card, but citation) Time to IRB to gather all the refs around a table and have a strong discussion

  • guy
    12:24 AM 09/01/2013

    Lousy the ball carrier. For God's sake: go low and put your shoulder in. Same thing goes for Goode. No wonder people get injured in tackles.

  • al_woody7
    12:13 AM 09/01/2013

    Pathetic - a disgrace to rugby and what it stands for. Unless it's on the neck or head, it's not dangerous and is just a great hit. Rugby players are becoming wrapped in cotton wool and is too frustrating to even think about.

  • kettlerugby
    11:24 PM 08/01/2013

    Finally tackles someone and gets done...ridiculous call

  • cheyanqui
    10:26 PM 08/01/2013

    Citing Commissioner -- Agulla landed on his elbow, which could have easily resulted in a dislocated elbow or shoulder. As for examples, I saw the dislocated elbow happen to a teammate at a national 7s tournament in the USA. So dangerous, perhaps... but so is getting in my car in the morning. I think the current IRB guidelines are more about protecting neck, spine, and head injuries. But these types of tackles are also quite dangerous in terms of destroying joints (elbows, shoulders, knees, etc.) if a player is recklessly dropped by a tackler. But my point is reckless -- punish those that out to injure an opponent. I don't think Varndell has a bad reputation, so I think just a yellow would be more than enough. I think the referee has a quick, tough decision to make (in a game that was already a bit tense, but not anywhere out of hand for a Premiership level game) However, if this were to be say a Callum Clark, Jamie Cudmore, Butch James type, he'd likely serve some time

  • welshosprey
    9:34 PM 08/01/2013

    Absolutely pathetic, rugby is becoming a joke. Imagine if henson did those tackles on tait today? Varndell got totally screwed

  • joesweeney
    8:47 PM 08/01/2013

    very tough tackle for teh referee to adjudicate. The player certainly goes past horizontal and teh first point of contact is with the ground is the players shoulder, but just barely so. Ref's, being human and acting in real time without th ebenefit of replay, won't get it perfect every time. I think a penalty and yellow card is just about right in this situation. The Toby flood tackle below, where teh player landed on his head/neck/shoulder is a very different tackle and deserves a red and citing. even if Flood didn't intend the spear, he initiated the tackle that brought the plyer into the air and he is responsible for the tackled player's safety once he does so. It's not an easy game to play or referee, but if we don't put safety before fairness, we jeopardize the players' health in one of the most dangerous parts of our game.

  • danstan
    8:40 PM 08/01/2013

    Hardly dangerous or malicious. Everyone seems surprised a yellow has been produced. Penalty at most, not worthy of a yellow, get on with the game, enjoy some rugby. Done.

  • browner
    8:38 PM 08/01/2013

    AWFUL DECISION .... someone get a grip on this subject, otherwise padded seat belts will be introduced soon ! Instead focus on tackles that connect on the chest but end up through the throat area, now they ARE dangerous ..... this isn't, head & neck not at risk, which was the purpose of 'spear protection' law clarifications

  • reality
    7:53 PM 08/01/2013

    He lands the player on his side. Who cares if he brought him past the horizontal? That tackle wasn't dangerous in the slightest. Bad call in my opinion.

  • 7:52 PM 08/01/2013

    This is getting silly. Please please please, before saying this is dangerous, can you give an example, any example when a player has been injured by a tackle like the one in this link. I'd love to know when the last time referees and citing commissioners actually played a game once. I fear they all sit in their offices and have conferences about so called incidents whilst forgetting what it is like to play the game. An industry has now been created where a citing commissioner is employed, unsurprisingly a result of this is that s/he wants to build up a CV with some stats and slowly but steadily more and more and more becomes illegal. I'm getting thoroughly sick of the professional game, it's getting ruined as a spectacle for rugby players in the vane attempt to draw in a new audience. How long will it be until a player or coach has a considerable outburst at how daft the situation has become? I think such a person may find themself being regarded as a bit of a martyr!

  • 7:50 PM 08/01/2013

    After he lifts him in the air, Varndell takes a good three steps before driving him into the ground. Granted, at the point he beings driving him into the ground, Agulla looks horizontal. From where I stand it looks intentional. But the fact that Agulla was horizontal makes it legal in my mind, so I'd say this is harsh, but just barely, as it is easy to see how this could have ended badly if Agulla landed on his neck. It was pretty close to a spear, IMO. But all this begs the question: is "beyond 90 degrees" the best way to determine when a dump tackle becomes overly dangerous? I don't have any answers

  • technomouse
    7:36 PM 08/01/2013

    For me, there looks to be a point where it looks like the tackle is going to be a spear. However, whether through the actions of Varndell correcting it or Agulla protecting himself, the tackle, again to me, ends as a textbook "dump" tackle with Agulla landing safely (well as safe as being dumped can be!). So for me this is a harsh call. Having said that, I can kind of see why there was a yellow card as Agulla's head was closer to the ground than the rest of his body at one point. Just glad I'm not a ref!

  • gilly_tj
    7:34 PM 08/01/2013

    For me personally, this was never a yellow card offense. I believe alarm bells went off automatically in the referee and touch judges' head as soon as Agulla was lift off the ground. A good, strong hit for me and no indication of being above the horizontal and I think you can see Varndell realize where the tackle could possibly end up and brings Agulla's lower half right back down.

  • 7:28 PM 08/01/2013

    Id agree with the ref, the only thing that stopped him landing on his shoulder neck area was the player protecting himself,


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Tom Varndell tip tackle on Horacio Agulla | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos