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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 8:33 am

Just listened to a clip of Sir John Kirwan from Rugbypass.com focusing mainly on the Australia NZ game but red cards in general. His main focus being there doesn't need to be red cards in rugby as there are no deliberate incidences in the game where players going out to hurt anyone. He feels that these just ruin the game for people watching, causing too one sided games or ruining the spectacle when both teams are down to 14. The host (whose name wasn't on the broadcast I saw) backed it up saying players are then doubly punished for missing the rest of the game then copping a ban for a number of weeks as well.

His solution is to place the player on report so they finish the game then go through a citation process and get a ban if they feel its deserved. The other idea was to send the player off for 15 minutes then the player can be replaced.

I can understand that the game is spoilt to a certain extent when a player goes off especially early on. I remember the sense of dread in 2016 when Daly ploughed into the Argentinian player, thinking sod it there goes the winning streak. The other side of that coin though I was thinking ouch hope that Senatore is ok and what awful technique Daly had, what an idiot. My only relief was that he'd never have to field high balls as a full back.

I appreciate there was thoughts on the England game with Hill that intent should be more to the fore but it goes back to the aerial challenges, players need to make sure that they can pull out of a tackle if something changes. Launching yourself full speed into a tackle and risking the hit with no arms sometimes can look great when it comes off. The crowd (when there is one) ooh and ahh, your team can be lifted and game turned. What can also happen though is something changes and you knock someone out. Why would it be fair for a player receiving an illegal hit to go off injured and the team doing it to simply carry on? Where are the thoughts for what happens if that player is in the last chance saloon with concussions?

I also wanted to touch upon the thoughts that no rugby player goes onto the field wanting to injure someone: complete baloney. We're humans. We carry grudges. We carry ambition. We are hot headed. I recently read about a young Liverpool player called Tom Brewitt who on the cusp of call up to the first team went out to injure a fellow Liverpool centre back (in training albeit) to get a shot at stardom; just because its a footballer doesn't mean he won't represent someone in rugby. There's also the Callum Clarke incident, Colin Meads and yanking legs in rucks and with Huget's retirement announced a reminder of him stamping on someones face and getting away with it scot free!

I can't help but feel Kirwan is slightly directed by the fact it seems to be NZ are getting caught more regularly and are suffering losses, perhaps he'll call for TMO replays on rucks to be dismissed shortly.

I'm clearly on the side of players taking a little more care with their tackles for player safety, and potentially a bit more space and offloading, by adjusting appropriately but there we go.

Some comments: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/nothing-more-than-a-penalty-former-all-blacks-balk-at-over-zealous-refereeing/


In Sky Sport’s halftime show, Kirwan said red cards shouldn’t be in the game.
“I don’t think we should have red cards in rugby. I think we should have a yellow card and on report and you suffer later because the game will suffer,” Kirwan said on Sky Sport after the first half.
“The trouble with red cards is that it throws the game up in the air. This is the problem I’ve got with it,” Kirwan added after the game.
Fellow Sky Sport panellist and All Black great Christian Cullen agreed with Kirwan.
“I’m with JK. I don’t agree with red cards at all. Ten minutes off, put it on report, someone else can come in. It just ruins the game, seriously,” Cullen said.
“I’ve always thought that red cards are for absolute thuggery on the pitch,” Cullen added.
Sky commentator and former All Black Justin Marshall also disagreed with the call.
“I can’t agree with that. Having played the game and understanding the contact areas and how there is that tiny microsecond intent and contact,” he said.
“The intent was never to hit him there from what I saw. I certainly feel the player carrying the ball, Tom Wright, didn’t help the situation.”
“A slight error in judgement. Nothing more than a penalty.” Marshall said.

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 10:06 am

I didn't see the incident which lead to the Australian player getting a red but the AB prop was rightfully sent off, particularly if you consider the duty of care (i.e. not killing the other guy) and also the attempt to drive tackle technique in another direction.

I appreciate this incidents are difficult to manage. The player is shaping to tackle the winger not kill him. But he sets himself at head height and then looks away as the Australian ends up leading with his chin on the guy's shoulder. There was no mitigation.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 10:15 am

It's definitely a view.

There was a similar view to the BOD tackle way back in the Lions day. We're not playing ballet was cry after 'no intent' tipping a guy onto his neck/head. Something that wasn't a penalty at the time.

He chooses to attack the ref, rather than giving out about the player, a player that they favour.  

Sonny Bill doesn't always get love in the NZ press, when he was red carded for shoulder to the face of watson back in the day, it seemed (to me) to be one of the few times the player was blamed for their act.


There is something reading through this that reminds me of the Brad Pitt quote from 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood';
Cliff Booth: "Anybody accidentally kills anybody in a fight, they go to jail. It’s called manslaughter."

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Post by profitius on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 11:03 am

Should a wreckless driver be let off because he didn't mean to kill someone? Definitely not.


What they're saying is you can launch yourself into a tackle and should you happen to break a jaw, fracture a skull, break a neck, concuss someone then that's just tough luck on the injured player and team. As long as you didn't mean it. That's nuts.


The red cards were clear reds. Instead of blaming the ref they should be looking at the players to control themselves. Both Australian and NZ players went shoulder first to the head.


I think the refs have gotten the right balance lately. Nigel owens yellow carded a high hit recently but awarded only a penalty for another high hit. Difference was in the latter, the player ducked and the defender was too slow.
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 11:31 am

Should be said Kirwan was quick to place no blame on the ref merely the rules before saying the officials missed mitigation and thus getting the red card wrong.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:05 pm

The Kiwis love dumping on red cards after the ABs get one. Kirwan's been doing this for years. Sky NZ is like the Murdoch press in the UK - let someone like Kirwan spout off an opinion that the everyman can regurgitate with a sense of self righteous indignation. The tripe they came out with after Barrett's red card v Oz last year was laughable. It's hard to take that organisation, its pundits, and their political jostling and propaganda seriously. You can see why certain Kiwis are the way they are with their hostility to "THE SIX NATIONS" given the scaremongering and supremacist attitude of much of the Kiwi press. It's only natural to pick up at least some of their narrative and internalise it. It's so odd to watch from the outside.

Red cards will be the way rugby turns in to a much more technical sport over the next 20 years. We're not far from a tactical revolution of the kind football saw in Britain moving away from the 4-4-2 long ball, get it to the winger system of playing. Rugby's changing so quickly it's like an arms race to keep up - the things that will always be valued, pace and power, will always be important but skills and accuracy are going to be the way teams adapt to the fact the sport has only just become a fully professional sport. Red cards will all but guarantee a team loses, so eventually NZ will have to suck it up and stop trying to strongarm the opposition with cheap shots and 'playing on the edge'. There's only so much that black shirt can go in letting their players off the hook and the TMO being in play has eventually started punishing them with cards they never used to receive because of their grip on the game. Or they will keep on losing test matches, which is anathema for their brand which is based on near-perpetual dominance.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:07 pm

There's nothing wrong with the red card law. The last world cup showed how the weak officiating in Super Rugby - bending to the will of the media in NZ and Oz - ultimatley hurt their teams when it came to the world cup. SA were far savvier, with more players in the NH where we all started adapting from week one once club players started getting red cards for all sorts of challenges, and the fact they had a wonderful coach, and also knew that tackes like Farrell's wouldn't wash in the WC so took the high road meant they didn't become dirty themselves. We adapted in the NH, and Argentina, NZ, and Oz didn't. Oh well. That's your fault with your weak referees who gave up on forward passes years ago not preparing you for the international game.

There's nothing wrong with the law and there's nothing wrong with the consequence of it. Poor reffing decisions are poor reffing decisions, that's simple enough. The ABs red card looked like a red card at the weekend. You can't tackle someone in the head.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:23 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Just listened to a clip of Sir John Kirwan from Rugbypass.com focusing mainly on the Australia NZ game but red cards in general. His main focus being there doesn't need to be red cards in rugby as there are no deliberate incidences in the game where players going out to hurt anyone.

1) Saying there are "no deliberate incidences in the game where players going out to hurt anyone" is just incorrect. From even before Brian "The Chiropractor" Lima and ever since plenty of players are going out with the intention of hurting their opponents. While their intent may be to do it within the laws, we see back rowers putting in big hits with the clear intent to hurt, we see props looking to dominate their opposite number physically, we see extremely physical clear outs of rucks.

2) Rugby is so much more physical now, with players heavier, more athletic and hitting each other with more frequency and more power. Thos as old as me will remember the castigation Paul Ringer got in 1980 for a challenge that now would not even cause us to blink. With this increase in collisions and the accompanying ferocity, the players may be more muscled but the basic human physiology is largely unchanged, thus we see the level of injuries continue to rise.

3) The act that is being punished is foul play, usually due to recklessness. Players have to take responsibility for this. Putting a player on report who may have, by his actions, removed a star player from the pitch by foul play is ludicrous - allowing a side to effectively benefit from foul play is an appalling suggestion. Players are sometimes just unlucky, but far more often they have faulty technique.


So frankly my feeling is that Kirwan was a great player, average coach and from this evidence a shocking pundit.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:49 pm

I'm pleased in general LT that commentators with a NH tilt seem pretty shocked by the comments and agree with you, vice versa from a SH perspective but then I don't follow any down under on twitter or read much of the media tbf. I do find it interesting when we get an Aussie of Kiwi commentary team on sky sports how clueless they are with law, interpretation of the laws and reasoning behind changes though and how different it is compared to the standard in the north. Even Austin Healy offers insight on scrums now which was an annoying habit he had ie I was a back so I don't need to know. Just leaves Laurence now who is a little limited.

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Post by TJ on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 3:50 pm

How about this for red cards? 20 mins of 14 men then the red carded player cannot come back on but somone fgrom the subs bench can?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 5:37 pm

Very similar to kirwan then. For me its not enough of a punishment. I'd like to see a team that the foul goes against get the full 'benefit' rather than it just go to the next set of opponents.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 6:33 pm

Nothing needs changing. Red cards work well when the decision is the correct one. Punishing someone after the fact hurts the team the player offends against. NZ are so used to manipulating the authorities and this is a blatant overplaying of the semi-corrupt hand the Kiwis are used to getting in the world of rugby. Kirwan sounds like a dinosaur arguing for a 'gentleman's agreement'. Garces' behaviour in the Lions tour aside, those days are long, long gone.

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Post by Brendan on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 8:59 pm

Issue with being able to replace the red carded player is you can be tactical against most teams.  If Ireland or Wales took out Farrell (While Ford is injured) then England suddenly look alot more limited.

While some reds may seem harsh they are few and far between.  I do think that there seems to be alot more focus on the match being balanced rather than the player.  In Soccer the player seems to be held alot more accountable by the fans and pundits for their stupidity (and there are alot more dubious reds in soccer).

I think the big thing for this situation is the Rugby culture of the two nations involved.  Dirty players and red cards are signs of less skilled teams in their view but they view themselves as the most skilful teams who just want to run the ball so why would any of them be like those other nations. As we have been seeing more and more is every player losses control when the chips are down and TMOs catch most of them when they cross the line which wasn't the case before.

The two nations realizing they are just like those other brutes currently has them in the step of denial.

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Post by Brendan on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 9:08 pm

The change in how headshots are dealt with by officals is much better.

Before it was why should this be a yellow instead on a pen. If it was a yellow then did he go out of his way to hurt the player on purpose, then a red..

Now it is, this is a red what reasons should we take into account to reduce it down.

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