WAL AUS 18 - 21

Law on referee Rolland’s side

Law on referee Rolland’s side

Inviting trouble: Warburton did not bring Clerc down safely

While the outcry from Welsh fans is sure to continue following Sam Warburton’s red card in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final loss to France, referee Alain Rolland’s decision followed the letter of the law.

The International Rugby Board have a “zero tolerance” policy towards dangerous tackles of the type which saw the Wales skipper sent off at Eden Park.

In 2007, the IRB council approved a law ruling which made it clear that lifting and tipping tackles constituted dangerous play.

A subsequent referees seminar in London agreed that officials should “start at red and work backwards” for those types of tackle.

The evidence clearly shows that Warburton lifted Vincent Clerc beyond horizontal and the France wing landed on his back with his feet in the air. Once Clerc went beyond horizontal, it was Warburton’s responsibility to ensure that he was brought to the ground safely or risk being sent off.

Law 10.4(j) reads: “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. Sanction: Penalty kick.”

In 2009, the IRB issued a memorandum emphasising the need for dangerous tackles to be dealt with severely.

The memo listed three possible scenarios where the tackler is lifted horizontally off the ground:

- The player is lifted and then forced or “speared” into the ground. A red card should be issued for this type of tackle.

- The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player’s safety. A red card should be issued for this type of tackle.

- For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles, it may be considered a penalty or yellow card is sufficient.

Warburton insisted after the game that there had been no malicious intent, but the memo adds: “Referees and citing commissioners should not make their decisions based on what they consider was the intention of the offending player.

“Their decision should be based on an objective assessment of the circumstances of the tackle.”

“Regular directives to unions, match officials and judicial officers have been issued in recent years reinforcing the IRB’s zero-tolerance stance regarding dangerous tackles and the promotion of player welfare,” added an IRB spokesman.


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Who will win The Open Championship at St Andrews?

Poll Results

  • Rory McIlroy 0.00%
  • Sergio Garcia 0.00%
  • Jordan Spieth 0.00%
  • Rickie Fowler 0.00%
  • Justin Rose 0.00%
All times are local:
"NZST = GMT +13 ; BST +12 ; CEST/SAST +11
9th September TongaNew Zealand41-10
10th September RomaniaScotland34-24
11th September ItalyAustralia32-6
WalesSouth Africa17-16
14th September NamibiaSamoa49-12
15th September USARussia6-13
16th September JapanNew Zealand83-7
17th September RomaniaArgentina43-8
FijiSouth Africa49-3
18th September SamoaWales17-10
20th September RussiaItaly53-17
21st September JapanTonga31-18
22nd September NamibiaSouth Africa87-0
23rd September USAAustralia67-5
24th September RomaniaEngland67-3
FranceNew Zealand37-17
25th September SamoaFiji7-27
26th September NamibiaWales81-7
27th September JapanCanada23-23
28th September RomaniaGeorgia25-9
30th September SamoaSouth Africa13-5
1st October RussiaAustralia68-22
2nd October GeorgiaArgentina25-7
CanadaNew Zealand79-15
8th October WalesIreland10-22
9th October AustraliaSouth Africa9-11
ArgentinaNew Zealand33-10
15th October FranceWales8-9
16th October New ZealandAustralia6-20
21st October AustraliaWales18-21
23rd October New ZealandFrance7-8
Pool A
Pos Team P Pts
1 New Zealand 4 20
2 France 4 11
3 Tonga 4 9
4 Canada 4 6
5 Japan 4 2

Pool B
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1 England 4 18
2 Argentina 4 14
3 Scotland 4 11
4 Georgia 4 4
5 Romania 4 0

Pool C
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1 Ireland 4 17
2 Australia 4 15
3 Italy 4 10
4 USA 4 4
5 Russia 4 1

Pool D
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1 South Africa 4 18
2 Wales 4 15
3 Samoa 4 10
4 Fiji 4 5
5 Namibia 4 0

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