During the Reds loss to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday night, Digby Ioane was sent off with a yellow card after nailing Marcell Coetzee in a monster of a tackle. He has since been cited for foul play and is facing a possible suspension further damaging the Reds chances on their road trip in South Africa. There has been a heated debate and discussion both in the media and on Twitter with many pundits (particularly from South Africa) saying that Ioane should have been given a red card instead with many referencing Sam Warburton’s red card during the Rugby World Cup last year.
After watching both incidents on YouTube several times I can’t see how Digby’s tackle can be compared to Sam Warburton’s in any way. Digby clearly pulls out of the tackle and Coetzee lands on his back and based on his performance after the tackle he should win footballer (whoops sorry rugby player) of the year for his acting performance.
Yes I do agree that the tackle contravenes section 10.4 (j) of the IRB laws on Dangerous Play and Misconduct (see below) but I believe Ioane has paid the price with the 10 minute sin binning and should receive no further sanctions from SANZAR.
Whilst I understand the need for player safety and don’t condone tipping or spear tackling in any way, since when did rugby get so soft? Several years ago this tackle would have been shown in the highlight reel as one of the best tackles of the round but now it seems it’s a red card or suspension offence. I say man up and move on.
*Update: Ioane has been suspended from all forms of the game for five weeks up to and including Saturday 21st April 2012. Read about the decision.
IRB laws on Dangerous Play and Misconduct
10.4 DANGEROUS PLAY AND MISCONDUCT
(j) 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
(a) Any player who infringes any part of the Foul Play Law must be admonished, or cautioned and temporarily suspended for a period of ten minutes’ playing time, or sent-off.
(b) A player who has been cautioned and temporarily suspended who then commits a second cautionable offence within the Foul Play Law must be sent-off.
10.6 YELLOW AND RED CARDS
(a) When a player has been cautioned and temporarily suspended in an International match the referee will show that player a yellow card.
(b) When a player has been sent off in an International match, the referee will show that player a red card.
(c) For other matches the Match Organiser or Union having jurisdiction over the match may decide upon the use of yellow and red cards.