Big Dai is a Level 10+1 Rugby Union referee for the London Society. After playing for many years in the Social side of a leading national club, he started refereeing a few seasons ago. He recounts his adventures trooping around South West London to give the ungrateful a game of weekend rugby.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
More on that Tackle
Much will continue to be said about Warburton red but you have to split the argument in to two parts.
a) Referee were instructed to red card tackles were the players legs are lifted above the horizontal and the player driven or dropped to the ground so that the head/shoulders make contact first.
b) Do players/coaches/spectators/referees things this is acceptable behaviour on the field and what should the sanction be?
a) The Warburton tackle ticked all the boxes for that to be a red in the eyes of the referee. The way a referee will judge at a tip tackle is start with a red and work back. Dropping because he realised it was a tip is not a defence. Making some effort to control the player coming to ground is, and that is what Stephen Jones looks to do. Players cannot always control the outcome of where a players body goes in a tackle, but they must try to tackle in a manner which is safe and when it goes wrong control the tackled player to minimise injury.
The video images of Stephen Jones tackle are pretty poor, the referee is just about right given he is judging it in real time without slo-mo replays.
b) A bit of rough and tumble is all very good until someone gets turn, its a valid for grown ups as it was in the school yard. The referee is ultimately responsible for player safety and there must be a suitable sanction to dissuade players from dangerous play. The negative consequences of this are there for us all to see in that semi-final. If you are going to take away red cards for this then what else and how are you going to protect referees that are not able to punish it adequately? Saying that dumps are different to spears brings in more subjectivity that opens up the ref to further criticism. The focus, presently, is what is dangerous? Landing on your head/neck from a height is. How do we discourage it? Red card.