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WATCH: 4 times players were kicked in the face under a high ball

BY Grant Constable  ·  Tuesday Sep 7, 2021

This past weekend we saw All Black fullback Jordie Barrett red carded for a dangerous boot to the face when going up for a high ball. There was some debate about it, but it’s not the first time this has resulted in a sending-off. 

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Fans were split in terms of whether a red card was the correct decision or not. Some felt it was harsh as it was not malicious nor intended, but others could see how it was simply reckless and a sending off was the correct call.

We’ve seen a number of similar incidents over the years, and for the most part, the result has been the same.

2009 – Rory Lamont fly kick on Ayoola Erinle

Twelve years ago we watched on as Toulon’s Rory Lamot flew high to get a ball, but outstretched his leg in true kung fu kick fashion. The result was an unfortunate collision with the oncoming Ayoola Erinle, who wore the full brunt of it and was left on the floor, seemingly unconscious, with blood pouring from his cheek.

Lamont actually wasn’t punished for the flying kick as it was deemed to be unintentional.

By all accounts it was accidental, and Erinle perhaps paid the price for being a little clumsy in the challenge, charging in without competing for the ball. Some will say it was Lamont who was clumsy though.

2018 – Tevita Nabura sees red for shocking flying kick to Cam Clark’s face

A few years back we saw a horrible incident in Super Rugby that resulted in a straight red card for Highlanders winger Tevita Nabura.

He actually caught the ball, looked up and extended his leg towards the face of Waratahs flyer, and son of commentator Greg Clark, Cam Clark. A red card was the obvious call.

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Young Clark later commented: “I don’t have a martial arts background… He has obviously been taught to protect himself, use the hard parts of your body, and I guess it’s unlucky he’s kicked his foot out at the wrong time and got his timing wrong.

2019 – Shocking boot to face results in top end ruling

Wasps back Paolo Odogwu was red carded in the final minutes of a Premiership match against Sale after he lifted his boot after also going up for a high ball.

Unfortunately, the boot caught the face of Rohan Janse Van Rensburg in a very nasty way.

He was given a six week suspension by an independent panel, who said: “The panel did not accept the player’s explanation that his leg extended to assist his balance in the air and prevent him from falling backwards.

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2021 – Adam Hastings suspended after that ugly boot to the face

In March of this year, Scotland international Adam Hastings got shown a straight red card after a clumsy effort resulted in his boot making contact with the face of Leinster’s Cian Kelleher.

He infringed Law 9.11 Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.

Hastings was suspended for three matches.

2021 – Barrett surprised by red card for high karate kick on Wallabies winger

And finally, this is the weekend’s incident that has been heavily debated.

The All Blacks went on to win 38-21 despite being down a man for 20 minutes (under the new law trials).

“I was pretty surprised to be honest,” New Zealand coach Ian Foster said after the match.

“He just lost balance and you could see he tilted and you could see what happened [next].

“I feel for the refs in situations like this, because technically they saw things and they make their decisions. I get all that. Have we got a technique problem – no.”

What is your take on it now, with the context of seeing the other moments above? Let us know in the comments below!

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