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Monday Jun 27, 2016

Willie le Roux gets one week ban after another midair contest goes wrong

Willie le Roux gets one week ban after another midair contest goes wrong

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux pleaded guilty to breaching Law 10.4 (i) – tackling a player in the air – after he was cited following his yellow card during the South Africa vs Ireland third Test in Port Elizabeth. Here is another look at it, PLUS some other similar incidents.

The Springboks hung on for a 19-13 victory, but early in the series decider Le Roux challenged for a high ball but came up short as he missed the ball and collided with Tiernan O’Halloran.

O’Halloran got up extremely high so the contact caused him to flip and land dangerously upside down, thankfully and luckily not causing any serious injury.

Glen Jackson referred to his TMO and they concluded that Le Roux was not in a position to catch the ball, and O’Halloran landed on his upper back/shoulders, so yellow card.

Irish fans were fuming with just the yellow, as they felt this deserved a red card.

The Springbok fullback was later cited by James Absaloms of Kenya, before judicial officer Terry Willis (Australia) heard the case in PE on Sunday. He found that the relevant entry point for the offence was at the lower end and felt that a one week suspension was appropriate.

As the Test series has now concluded, Le Roux will miss the Super Rugby match between his team, the Sharks, and the Lions on this coming Saturday, 2 July.


Law 10.4 (i), for which Le Roux was charged states the following:
Tackling the jumper in the air. A player must not tackle nor tap, push or pull the foot or feet of an opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play.


This is an area that World Rugby needs to thoroughly address as both players and fans, and often referees, seem to be unclear on exactly what the outcome should be in any given situation. The contrasting opinions on Saturday, and indeed in recent weeks, have been quite incredible to see.

In this case both players were contesting for the ball – leaving the ground with near identicial timing – and one could say that they were both equally at risk of injury.

There was one clear winner though, and unfortunately he landed horribly. Luckily for both parties he didn’t land directly on his head, which is what helped Le Roux on the day.

Perhaps the main takeaway from this particular incident is that if you’re going to challenge for a high ball, make sure you get it, otherwise there is a good chance that you will be either red carded or suspended if you make any contact at all with the opposition.

Scroll to the very bottom for a full video, but below we’ve looked at some similar incidents, giving you a chance to peruse and compare the on-field and disciplinary hearing sanctions.

SIMILAR MID-AIR INCIDENTS (may take some time to load)

CJ Stander vs Patrick Lambie

Fans and media immediately drew comparisons to the controversial Stander red card from the first Test, when he was sent off for knocking out Pat Lambie as part of an attempted charge down.
DISCIPLINARY: Red card and one week ban

Jason Emery vs Willie le Roux

Le Roux was actually on the receiving end of a very dangerous challenge himself earlier this year when he landed horrifically after Jason Emery flew into him.
DISCIPLINARY: Red card and four week suspension

Jared Payne vs Alex Goode

Two years ago Ireland fullback Jared Payne was shown a straight red card just four minutes into a Heineken Cup Quarter Final, after he collided with Alex Goode. His eyes were firmly on the ball but referee Jerome Garces was firm in his decision.
DISCIPLINARY: Red card and two week ban

Waisake Naholo vs Liam Williams

We also recently saw plenty of discussion surrounding the Waisake Naholo and Liam Williams midair collision, where many Welsh fans felt that Naholo should have been at least yellow carded.
DISCIPLINARY: Penalty, no card or ban

Leolin Zas vs Bernard Foley

In May this year Leolin Zas was also shown a straight red card when he slipped just before competing for a high ball, causing Waratahs number ten Bernard Foley to land awfully.
DISCIPLINARY: Red card and two week ban

Anthony Watson vs Alex Goode

Anthony Watson was the subject of controversy in another high ball incident with Alex Goode, after he was sent off after clumsily clashing into the Saracens fullback in April.
DISCIPLINARY: Red card and two match ban (also to do with verbal abuse)

There are one or two more in the Related Posts too, so have a look and let us know your thoughts

Full video of the Le Roux/O’Halloran incident (with South African commentary)

credit: supersport



  • drg
    11:30 PM 28/06/2016

    I agree with the general sentiments above. Players are now hurling themselves into the air without any regard for their own safety... we seen players throwing themselves into tackles and being criticised by commentators for their poor technique when it leads to a self injury, why do we simply commend someone for jumping so high and berate another player for being a split second slower on the jump and not getting the ball... What also gets me is that this is a contact/collision sport, we all know "THOSE players"... Bakkies Botha, Cudmore, Burger, the French...;) etc etc, the players that really play on the line in terms of physical violence, but what we often end up with in these aerial battles is essentially, rugby saints, being red carded.. Those players that wouldn't say boo to a goose are ejected from the pitch because of a half second incident at the end of proper legal rugby that only someone deems is now 'reckless'... Like it or hate it, I genuinely view that Stander tried to charge down the ball, he turned as he watched the ball sail past and to protect his good looks... he was red carded for what ended up as a nasty incident... but if he was honestly playing legal rugby then why should that have happened? This incident here, Le Roux should have been red carded if we want consistency, but really, ignoring consistency (most referees do anyway), WHY should he be red carded?? He was contesting for a high ball and lost that contest?!? As a forward I contest lineout balls, win some, lose some, make contact with other players, I tumble, they tumble... it's just part of the game. Sure if a second row shoves another player in a lineout and he lands on his head, then punish him, sure if a player deliberately takes out an airborne foe with a tackle then punish, but don't punish an aerial contest. ...and whilst Katman said sarcastically ban jumping... I honestly believe that is the next step forward if this is such a risk to player safety.. Free catch ideas...

  • heavyhooker
    2:51 PM 28/06/2016

    There are certain actions one takes that put you into a risky position, and jumping is one of them. I would say, that if you want to jump like some rabid gazelle then the onus is on you to break your own fall if hit by another jumper; drop the ball and break your fall. If you are hit by a defender who is on the ground running with no intent by the defender to control the jumper to the ground then it is just like a tip tackle. Some of these jumper / defender collisions have been obvious that there was only one person actually contesting the ball. The way these players are build today one could easily grab the jumper and drive them back 5 meters before thoroughly plowing him into the ground. Then the game polices itself because players will think twice about jumping when the likes of Tuilangi piles you into the turf. In short; you jump you take the risk.

  • katman
    8:36 AM 28/06/2016

    I posted this same comment on the Boks/Ireland match thread, before I saw one dedicated to this tackle. And while this was a terrible fall, I feel the IRB need to have a long hard think about how to better handle these incidents. Making the second (lower/later) jumping player entirely responsible for the wellbeing of the first (higher/earlier) jumping player is a stupid concept, in my humble opinion. If the ref honestly feels that the second player cynically brought the other player down, then perhaps yes. But in most of these cases both players are clearly jumping for the ball. And I'm sorry, but if you're jumping 6 feet into the air, towards an onrushing, jumping human, then you should shoulder some of the responsibility for your own safety. Because now a jump has simply become a free pass to claim either the ball or a penalty or both. We even see players leaping up to catch a high-ish pass or a bouncing grubber, making him immediately off limits for any would-be defender. If we cannot find an acceptable way to give the defender a fair shake at stopping an advancing player who jumps up before contact, then we should outlaw jumping altogether (he said with dripping sarcasm). I mean, later in this game, two Irish players failed to scream "mine" and clattered into each other at high speed in mid-air. Their intentions were just as cynical as le Roux's or Stander's (i.e. not at all) and the resulting clash was equally dangerous. Why not give the slightly lower/later of the two a yellow card in the name of consistency?


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Willie le Roux gets one week ban after another midair contest goes wrong | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos