Sunday, 1 March 2009

Yellow Peril

Watching the France v Wales in the chasten comfort of my own home rather than the London Welsh club house afforded me the luxury of listening (more soberly) to the commentary. It becomes clear that, whilst Jonathan Davies is unmatched in his tactical analysis, his technical appreciation of the laws is some way behind. Austin Healey on the other hand, may be a folically challenged, scouse motor-mouth, he was spot on in calling the French disallowed try.
The French had driven the ball up to the Welsh line, the ball was picked up off the floor by Harinordoquy who was at best bound to the ruck, but to me, looked to be supported by his shoulder on the body of a player on the ground. The TMO gives the offence as handling in the ruck, he could have chosen playing the ball off his feet. Either way, a lucky escape for Wales – that time!
Jonathan Davies’ called for a yellow card on Shanklin’s aerial contact with Harinordoquy, this was certainly dangerous and illegal but I am less certain it justified a yellow. The TV commentariat seem to believe there are certain offences which automatically warrant a yellow. Some are certainly more likely to result in at least a yellow (punching, stamping) but the referee always has discretion. This will determined by the temperament of the game, the general penalty count and how dangerous/stupid the tackle/action (and if the miscreant is English??). Shanklin is clearly going for the ball and then pulls out, his arm is trailing (I suspect deliberately) but it make contact high on Harinordoquy's body unbalancing him, but it is not as dangerous as taking out his legs or enveloping a player in the air.

I do like the aerial camera during scrums, it’s a view that isn’t available in real life and it certain picked up the French front row pulling the scrum sideways for the wheel. Sadly, it wasn’t as obvious at the ground-level angle for the referee.
England’s penalty count on Saturday at 18 verses Ireland’s 9 was double most other teams’ count for the weekend’s internationals. When the referee encounters that level of indiscipline he will go for the card sooner not later.

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