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Monday May 25, 2015

Waratahs Will Skelton and Tolu Latu both suspended for double lifting tackle

Waratahs Will Skelton and Tolu Latu both suspended for double lifting tackle
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Waratahs tight forwards Will Skelton and Tolu Latu have been suspended for two and four weeks respectively following a lifting tackle against the Crusaders on Saturday. In a repeat of last year’s Super Rugby final, the Waratahs won the match 32-22.

Skelton was involved in a few incidents that had to be checked by the TMO, with the shoulder shot on Richie McCaw one that Crusaders fans wouldn’t have been too happy with.

This challenge, combined with hooker Tolu Latu, has resulted in a two week ban for the giant, with Latu, who was yellow carded, picking up four weeks on the sidelines.

“Two offending players, Skelton and Silatolu Latu, were involved in the incident,” said SANZAR’s Robert Stelzner SC, who precided over the disciplinary hearing.

“Latu played a more active role in the lifting and twisting of their opponent, Sam Whitelock, contributing more significantly to the end result than Skelton. Skelton nevertheless also lifted and twisted Whitelock in the tackle, which is why he too was found to have breached the applicable Law.

“Given the lesser extent of his involvement however, the sanction in the case of Skelton did not in my view warrant an increase from the entry level sanction to serve as a deterrent.

“He was unaware of the actions of his fellow player, Silatolu Latu, and although he dropped his opponent after he had lifted and turned him, it appeared that Latu was the player who had continued with the tip tackle causing their opponent to land in the manner in which he ultimately did.”

Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

The Waratahs plan to appeal the bans, while coach Michael Cheika was pleased with Skelton’s menacing influence around the park. He defended his tackling technique.

“I’m not sure what he’s done wrong with his tackling technique, he’s just been tackling guys. The thing with Whitelock was a little bit unfortunate because he was just trying to get him down on the ground. Two guys like that can’t really know what the other is doing.

“Will is taller than everyone, so he doesn’t really tackle in the traditional style, of getting down. He wraps arms around and he goes to the upper body to wrestle guys to the ground a bit more because he’s a big guy.”

Francois Steyn was recently banned for a tip tackle that also involved another player, so while the incidents aren’t identical, it’s interesting that on this occasion both tacklers received bans.

UPDATE: Both players have had their appeals rejected. Full details

WILL SKELTON APPEAL DISMISSED View incident

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Lex Mpati (South Africa) and comprising Adam Casselden (Australia) and Chris Morris (New Zealand) has unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the Waratahs against the decision of a judicial hearing that found Will Skelton had contravened Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting Tackle.

The Committee dismissed the appeal on the basis that the appellant was unable to prove that the Judicial Officer’s initial finding was in error, or that the sanction imposed was manifestly excessive.

As to the appeal against the finding of a contravention of Law 10.4 (j), the Committee was not moved by the submissions made on behalf of Skelton by counsel, Bruce Hodgkinson SC, that but for the participation of another player, Silatolu Latu, the tackled player would not have been taken through the horizontal such that his upper body came into contact with the ground first.

As to the sanction imposed, it was argued, amongst others, that the Judicial Officer erred in holding that Skelton was reckless in the execution of the tackle. The Committee found no fault with the Judicial Officer’s finding and determined that the initial two-week sanction was appropriate. As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for two weeks up to and including Saturday 6 June 2015.

No order was made for costs.

SILATOLU LATU APPEAL DISMISSED View incident

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Lex Mpati (South Africa) and comprising Adam Casselden (Australia) and Chris Morris (New Zealand) has unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the Waratahs against the sanction imposed from a judicial hearing that found Silatolu Latu had contravened Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting Tackle.

The Committee dismissed the appeal on the basis that Latu was unable to persuade its opinion that the sanction was manifestly excessive. Latu’s ground of appeal was that the four-week sanction imposed was not fair in all the circumstances.

The Committee was not persuaded by the submissions of counsel for Latu, Bruce Hodgkinson SC, who referred to other decisions for purposes of comparison. Counsel argued that the addition of two weeks to the low-end entry point of four weeks, applied by the Judicial Officer as a deterrent, was not consistent with the approach adopted in some of those decisions.

The Committee determined that the initial four-week sanction was appropriate. As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks up to and including Saturday 20 June 2015.

No order was made for costs.

15 Comments

  • oldflyhalf
    2:26 PM 28/05/2015

    [...]"(let me guess... he's an All Black, isn't he?)" Let me guess... you are one of the "those guys" ...s.a., ossie, british etc ? ...probably yes. Legend : "those guys" = "frustrated"

    Reply
  • drg
    8:16 AM 27/05/2015

    I do agree with the nature of what you've written but according to a poster above, Whitelock is out for a week with concussion... May not be related to this incident etc, but who knows. I agree totally that it certainly looks odd..

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    9:56 PM 26/05/2015

    I'm going to file this under "times I'm glad I'm not a JO". Tip-tackles, spear tackles, these need to be cited. And the one here, I've certainly seen worse... but given it happened after the whistle, that's what made it seem pretty cynical. But when you have two players involved in a tackle, often I'll be damned if I'd know how to apportion blame. Even here, I'd say fairly confidently that without both players involvement, there'd have been be no tipping. No idea really how one is more to blame than the other. And I'd reckon too that the Waratahs are at crunch-time in the competition, they need their best players available over the next three weeks, that's another reason they are appealing. I imagine they could be hoping to get one of these guys back, losing two to suspension now is going to be a big problem.

    Reply
  • drg
    2:56 PM 26/05/2015

    I hate that phrase. I don't really understand why anyone can ever feel it's an appropriate thing to say. That or "it ruined the game as a spectacle"... The only 'credible' alternative would be to take the team spirit out of it and send off individuals but allow them to be replaced. I however think that the added fuel that now your team is struggling with 14 men is a much better incentive to keep your head screwed on.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:20 PM 26/05/2015

    "it would have ruined the game as a spectacle" should never be a factor in a ref's decision-making process in my opinion. We see this all the time in football, where a ref reaches for a second yellow card and then decides against it. Undermines all credibility and authority.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:14 PM 26/05/2015

    I think the whole tip tackle discussion came about following the BOD incident and this does have the hallmarks of that, ie cheap shot after play had moved on, or in this case whistle blown. Personally I'm of the opinion that intent rather than outcome should hold sway and the intent here was clearly to act like a pair of bellends, so I think the bans are deserved.

    Reply
  • bunn
    12:10 PM 26/05/2015

    I'm glad they've sanctioned both players because we've had some cases recently where one player in a two person tackle has been banned, which seemed madness. Both players should have known better and deserve their bans.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    7:22 AM 26/05/2015

    Fair enough, but how the hell did he get concussion from that? His head didn't really hit the ground... Thanks MattyP for the info.

    Reply
  • mattyp
    5:36 AM 26/05/2015

    Well Whitelock is sitting out this week with a concussion.

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    11:00 PM 25/05/2015

    M.Cheika is already known as a guy with a blamable behavior and mentality. Unfortunately, he managed to induce his team this type of behavior and mentality in the game against Crusaders. A hooligans behavior. The refereeing was in the same note with ...cheika. But, "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind".

    Reply
  • drg
    9:49 PM 25/05/2015

    Judging by the suspension, it's safe to say that this incident should have been a red card for both players... ..I don't personally feel like it should have been a red for the incident - it wasn't 'that' bad... The little punch afterwards, as nothing as it was, should have added up to a red card. But anyway, laws are laws and I didn't write them.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:47 PM 25/05/2015

    I had similar thoughts Dan. I mean Whitelock is not exactly a small unit himself, I can imagine he can handle himself pretty well and; as you said, he didn't look like he landed all that badly... although his motionless body almost said that either we didn't see 'the pain', or as you mentioned, he may have been milking it.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    5:39 PM 25/05/2015

    Given that he didn't land on his head and it didn't seem that he landed all that badly, Whitelock sure stayed down for a while. I hope he really was hurt and wasn't milking it. These sorts of challenges are unnecessary, but so is trying to get another player sent off with your response.

    Reply
  • jockmcg
    5:01 PM 25/05/2015

    Referee bottles the decision. Both 2 and 4 are involved in lifting and turing the player and dropping him to the floor dangerously two straight red cards. Yes it would have ruined the game as a spectacle but so would a player being paralysed from such stupid play! Law is absolutely clear but yet gain not being applied consistently of correctly. If we are going to stamp this kind of play out of rugby there needs to be more consistent application of the laws

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    4:55 PM 25/05/2015

    They're both fairly lucky to stay on the pitch in my honest opinion, no need for that sort of behaviour, especially after the lineout has been called, just unnecessary. It reminds me a tackle by a pair of scumbag New Zealanders who did this in 2005 and totally escaped punishment. Luckily Skelton and Lotu got what was coming to them!

    Reply


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Waratahs Will Skelton and Tolu Latu both suspended for double lifting tackle | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos