The curious case of Wycliff Palu’s yellow card

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    Australia's Ben Alexander, front, grapples with Wycliff Palu during a team training session in London, Tuesday Nov. 3, 2009. Australia will face England for an international rugby union test match at Twickenham Saturday Nov. 7, 2009. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi

    Australia's Ben Alexander, front, grapples with Wycliff Palu during a team training session in London, Tuesday Nov. 3, 2009. Australia will face England for an international rugby union test match at Twickenham Saturday Nov. 7, 2009. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi

    Late in the first half of the absorbing drawn Test between Ireland and Australia, Wycliff Palu, the monster Wallaby number 8, was given a yellow card by the South African referee Jonathan Kaplan for allegedly making a shoulder charge on Rob Kearney, Ireland’s fullback.

    I use the word ‘allegedly’ because it was Kearney who made the shoulder charge on Palu while he was carrying the ball upfield.

    Later in the Test, Kearney repeated the infringement with a shoulder charge on Rocky Elsom as the Wallaby captain dived across the line to score a try.

    Kaplan is regarded as one the top referees in international rugby.

    He showed no rugby nous or understanding, though, with both decisions he made: first, when he gave a yellow card to Palu and, second, when he did not give a yellow card to Kearney.

    In the Palu incident, Kearney fielded the ball outside his 22. He decided to run the ball back rather than put in a towering kick.

    Palu closed in on him.

    Kearney raced towards Palu, turned his shoulder and smashed into Palu shoulder first (a shoulder charge in other words). Kearney was bumped to the ground and rolled forward, uninjured, with the ball firmly in his grasp.

    Palu met the shoulder charge with his body square to the tackler.

    He did NOT turn side on in preparation for a shoulder charge. Kearney’s sudden explosion of speed caught him slightly unprepared. Kearney smashed into Palu’s upper body at about the same time as the tackler was trying to get his arms around the runner.

    Kaplan was behind Palu when the incident happened.

    He saw Kearney bounce off Palu and presumed – incorrectly as it happened – that it was Palu who had made the shoulder charge.

    With the Elsom incident, it was obvious that Kearney had used his shoulder to charge the Wallaby into touch. This should have been identified by the assistant referee, who was on the spot and the referee, who had a good view of the incident.

    Kearney should have been given a yellow card, which probably would have ended Ireland’s fight-back. And the Wallabies should have been awarded a penalty kick on the halfway mark after the conversion.

    Given the Daniel Carter precedent, too, Kearney should have been put out for a week by an IRB judicial review committee to make up for the failure of the match referees to get the decision on the infringement right.

    I have argued for some time now that too many yellow cards are wrongly handed out.

    There should be a video replay before a card is handed out. The impact on the game of a yellow card warrants this type of accuracy.

    As it happened, Ireland did not score with Palu off the field. But the Wallabies were well on top at the time, and with Palu breaking through the middle, they may well put more points on the board.

    The irony about the curious case of Wycliff Palu’s yellow card is that there were a number of slow-motion replays of Kearney’s shoulder charge on Elsom while the video referee was working out if a try was scored or not.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (219)

    • November 18th 2009 @ 3:52am
      Matt0931 said | November 18th 2009 @ 3:52am | ! Report

      Spiro, although I agree with you in regards to the Palu tackle not being a charge I find it hard to swallow that Kearney shoulder charged Palu. Kearney clearly steps off his left foot and launches to his right and in doing so makes contact at an angle into Palu’s arm but there’s no way I can agree to call that a shoulder charge.

      Below is the you tube link to the Palu tackle and the Kearney shoulder charge on Elsom which went unpenalised.

      And below is the link to some stills of the Palu tackle. His arm may have been a touch high but as it clearly wasn’t intentional the worst the ref should have done was give Palu a warning on his tackling and then moved on with the game.

      http://www.rugbyrefs.com/forums/showthread.php?p=98149

      • Roar Rookie

        November 18th 2009 @ 8:54am
        Darwin hammer said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Having watched the link above – and seeing it for the first time – I think Kaplin got it right ….and no way did Kearney shoulder charge Palu (how anyone can come up with that is beyond me) … there were no arms in the Palu “tackle” – nothing new there he’s got form with that …. so the decision is is correct …

        • November 18th 2009 @ 2:05pm
          Uncle Eric said | November 18th 2009 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          Sorry Darwin Hammer but I think you should get your eyes checked. The only reason Palu didn’t get his arms around Kearney was that the poor fellow bounced so quickly that Cliffy couldn’t catch him. Want to see a shoulder charge? Get yourself a bigger TV screen and watch Kearney’s hit on Elsom as he scored the try. Kaplan is, in my view, a poor referee (but he’s no orphan there) and he salvaged the game for the Irish when he failed to penalise their scrum going down on the last play of the game.

    • November 18th 2009 @ 3:55am
      Jerry said | November 18th 2009 @ 3:55am | ! Report

      Spiro – re, the Kearney shoulder, it would seem to me that as it occurred before the try was scored a penalty on halfway following the conversion wouldn’t be the correct call. That call is when an infringement occurs after the ball has been made dead – eg when the try has been scored.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 7:05am
        mitzter said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:05am | ! Report

        Corredct jerry, there are no 8 point tries in union and the restart with the penalty kick is only for infringements after the try has been scored.
        Of course he could still give out a yellow card but there would be no penalty because advantage had been played ie the try

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2009 @ 1:19pm
        Wally James said | November 18th 2009 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        Agree completely. The offence (if there was one) occured while the ball was in play. Therefore the penalty is at the place of infringment. If the ball was out of play the place of penalty is where play would next have restarted.

        Having said that my view is it was a clear shoulder charge. He did not attempt to use his arms in the tackle.

        Elsom was knocked sideways and did not score as close to the posts as he might have. If but for the foul play of a defender a try might have been scored in a more advantageous postion, a penalty try should be awarded. A penalty try is not just awarded when a try has not been scored because of the foul play. A bit harsh in this instance probably but law nevertheless. It would have taken a brave ref in front of the Croke Park faithful to do that.

    • Roar Guru

      November 18th 2009 @ 4:33am
      Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 4:33am | ! Report

      Isn’t that funny, Spiro, I saw and remembered it completely differently.

      Even more curious, there were also a number of slo-motion replays of the illegal tackle by Palu, which I watched in the ground and afterwards.

      Here’s one clip –

      In my view, Palu led with his left shoulder into the oncoming Kearney attempting to smash the ball from his grasp. Kearney was clearly going by him on Palu’s left. The pictures show Kearney running forward, feinting and stepping at the waiting tacklers of Giteau, Pocock and Palu. He feints and those goes to his right to get around Palu. It is NOT true to say that he turned his shoulder into Palu to shoulder charge him.

      Palu leads with his left shoulder high into Kearney, which Kearney meets square on and is rocked backwards by the impact and lands on his side holding onto the ball. He does not ‘roll forward’ either.

      Palu doesn’t have time to get his arms around Kearney probably because of the force of the impact of his leading shoulder.

      Whether it would have affected the outcome of the game is conjecture. If Palu stayed, O’Gara may have chosen to take the penalty kicks later on offer, etc, etc.

      In the other incident, Kearney ran into Elsom, nothing more. It occurred before the try, not after it.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 4:59am
        Jerry said | November 18th 2009 @ 4:59am | ! Report

        I didn’t think it was high, it hit Kearney on the chest and ball. It wasn’t even a penalty, IMO. I don’t think Kearney tried to bump off Palu, but you’d think he might try and be a bit more elusive when faced with a tackler who’s about 20kg heavier than him.

        As regards the Kearney/Elsom tackle, I think it probably should have been a yellow also given the one already awarded against Palu. Kearney had his arms tucked tight against his body which is the classic shoulder block technique. It was probably an instinct reaction as Elsom does take a step infield (in order to make sure he stays in play after contact) which meant Kearney probably got to him a split second before he’d anticipated. However, it was a pretty clear shoulder block – what would the call have been if Elsom had landed in touch?

        You can’t help but get the feeling that the refs are considering the outcomes, rather than the actions, in these incidents. Kearney gets knocked back by a big guy, so Ireland gets the penalty and a card is issued. Elsom gets hit by a smaller guy and still gets the try, so no further action is taken.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 5:32am
        Matt0931 said | November 18th 2009 @ 5:32am | ! Report

        ‘I saw and remembered it completely differently.’

        Of course you saw it differently pothale. You are Irish and wanted him to be penalised. You were also caught up in the atmosphere at the ground which also helps with making up your mind.

        By showing the replay again and again, just like the Carter tackle in Wales, is going to do nothing but wind up the locals.

        Funny how even the Irish commentators thought the tackle was ok….

        • Roar Guru

          November 18th 2009 @ 5:56am
          Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 5:56am | ! Report

          Thank you for pointing out the bleedin obvious Matt.

          I didn’t want Palu to be penalised – it seemed to me to be a fair but hard tackle, but the ref was behind Palu and had the perfect angle to see what was going on.

          Did you see Kearney purposely shoulder-charge Palu as Spiro claims? I didn’t – and no-one else has claimed this either.

          There were two replays of the tackle from different angles – standard treatment for particular moments in a game. Kaplan had already made his mind up before they were replayed.

          • November 18th 2009 @ 7:07am
            CraigB said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:07am | ! Report

            I dont think Palu shoulder chagred anyone and am in no doubt the ref was wrong. I haven’t watched the clips again yet, but my first thoughts were that Palu made contact with the ball first causing Kearney to ‘bounce’ back and not allowing Palu’s arms to wrap around him. His arms were in the motion of wrapping as Kearney went backwards.

            There is also no doubt Kearney should have been carded for his shoulder charge on Elsom. Regardless of where it happened it was illegal reckless and potentially dangerous.

          • November 18th 2009 @ 7:26am
            fox said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:26am | ! Report

            “replays of the illegal tackle by Palu”

            then

            “it seemed to me to be a fair but hard tackle”

            Those statements seem a little contradictory, pothale. The Palu tackle (as I have written in Spiro’s match review) should be celebrated, not penalised. The only reason that it looked in any way borderline, as Spiro correctly points out, is because Kearney speeds up suddenly and into Palu and catches him in the motion of tackling a little early. You can see Palu’s arms raised and motioning towards wrapping around Kearney, but he doesn;t get there a) because the tackle happens earlier than Palu originally expected (probably) and b) because Kearney flies back about 10 THOUSAND metres before Palu has a chance to wrap his arms around the far flung and flapping Kearney.

            Fair hit, incorrect and shocking decision. Enough said on the matter. As for the Kearney incident well, players will do almost anything to sweep a player about to score into touch. I don’t mind that incident, but I suppose in the name of consistency……..

            • November 18th 2009 @ 8:08am
              BennO said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:08am | ! Report

              “because Kearney flies back about 10 THOUSAND metres before Palu has a chance to wrap his arms”

              Exactly. His arms are outstretched as he makes the hit and they wrap around briefly but because Kearney was flying so far back Palu couldn’t grab him. Yet another terrible decision by Kaplan.

              The correct decision was penalty Australia for Kearney not releasing the ball.

              • November 18th 2009 @ 1:51pm
                Dublin Dave said | November 18th 2009 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

                “The correct decision was penalty Australia for Kearney not releasing the ball”

                Er, no. He wasn’t tackled.

                You know what a tackle is, don’t you?

              • November 18th 2009 @ 2:03pm
                Jerry said | November 18th 2009 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                He may not have been tackled, but he was on the ground and there was an Aussie (Stephen Moore) on his feet legally playing the ball. Though Kearney did actually release the ball, so it wouldn’t have been a penalty regardless.

              • November 18th 2009 @ 3:06pm
                BennO said | November 18th 2009 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                turn it up Dave.

                He took 3 seconds to release the ball from going to ground to releasing it to Moore. Palu went into contest the ball and he didn’t release. Palu was driven forward by the arriving Aussie forwards and still Kearney didn’t release. Finally Moore ripped it out of his grasp as Kaplan arrived 3 seconds after he hit the ground.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 4:28pm
        Cattledog said | November 18th 2009 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

        Pothale, what Spiro has indicated is off the mark, but you do youself no favours at all by saying that tackle was illegal. Kaplan himself would, with hindsight and replays, have changed his ruling, except for a vocal, obviously uneducated on all things rugby crowd. You are taught to tackle using your shoulder and arms. A front on tackle of that nature can in no way be considered an illegal tackle (note I say illegal tackle and not shoulder charge as this is another form of illegal tackle). There was no ‘intent’ whatsoever from Palu. Tackling using the shoulder in that way is the norm. Kearney happened to bounce off him before he could wrap his arms around him. Kearney quite frankly ran into him incorrectly with poor body position and paid the penalty.

        Kearney should have then been sent to the bin without question on his tackle (blatant shoulder charge) attempting to prevent Elsom’s try. Be passionate about your NH sides, no problem with that whatsoever, but don’t let emotion cloud your ability to be objective with your comments.

    • November 18th 2009 @ 4:53am
      Dublin Dave said | November 18th 2009 @ 4:53am | ! Report

      Spiro, that’s a study in impertinence that betrays either a complete lack of knowledge of the laws of the game and an ignorance of how it has been played since time immemorial, or alternatively a compulsion to wind up supporters of any team outside of Australia. Congratulations! You’ve succeeded on the second count.

      First off, “shoulder charging” is NOT the issue. There is no law against shoulder charging in the 2009 IRB Law Book. (available for perusal or download here http://www.irblaws.com/downloads/EN/irb_law_book_2009_en.pdf)

      On the contrary, it is expressly permitted in the very first item under the section Foul Play (law 10) To quote:
      “Charging or Pushing
      When a player and an opponent are running for the ball, either player must not charge or push the other EXCEPT SHOULDER TO SHOULDER”

      (My emphasis).

      And to suggest that a ball carrier leading with his shoulder is an offence is just plain ridiculous. Any tight forward who ever lived and who ever took the ball in his hands has dropped his shoulder to try and make up with bulk and momentum what he lacks in twinkle toed running skills. There is nothing at all wrong with that and the laws permit it.

      What IS prohibited under the laws is DANGEROUS tackling, in as many words. To quote again:

      “Law 10 e Dangerous Tackling.
      A Player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously
      Penalty: Penalty Kick”

      There follows some examples of what constitutes dangerous tackling, such as:

      “A Player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.
      Penalty: Penalty Kick”

      or later

      “Law 10 g Dangerous charging.
      A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.
      Penalty: Penalty Kick”

      There are various other clauses in this section covering such things as stiff arm tackles and playing a man whose feet are off the ground but it seems to me, not being a lawyer, that the key statement is the first one: a dangerous tackle is not allowed and it is up to the referee, guided by the explicit examples in the laws, to determine whether a tackle is dangerous or not.

      Palu hit Kearney high and without using his arms. It is debatable whether he TRIED to use his arms or not, which is all that he is required to do under the laws. But he had hardly crouched at all and appeared to connect with Kearney under the chin. That IS an offence, as Law 10e makes clear, whether or not he intended to hit him that high. Kaplan was entirely within his rights to adjudge that as a dangerous tackle.

      As to whether the later failed attempt by Kearney to tackle Elsom as he scored his try: that wasn’t a charge, it was a good old fashioned push and it was qualified by the presence of another defender (I think O’Leary) coming up to tackle Elsom from behind. I don’t think that could be interpreted as “dangerous charging” because he was clearly not trying to knock Elsom down but rather to shove him into touch.

      These were two fifty fifty calls (to be generous) that went Ireland’s way. The referee wasn’t wrong in either of them.

      Can we stop the whinging please?

      • November 18th 2009 @ 7:11am
        CraigB said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:11am | ! Report

        “without trying to grasp that player” watch the replay and watch Palu try to graso the player. No card no penalty.

        “failed attempt by Kearney to tackle Elsom as he scored his try: that wasn’t a charge, it was a good old fashioned push” – wrong it was a charge with his shoulder. did he try to grasp the player?? no he tried to knock him down without doing so. Penalty as you’ve pointed out.

        The Palu decision did alter the game and needs to be correct. Its not whinging its a fact. The wallabies played with14 men for 10 minutes when they should not have been. They also missed out on a counter attcking opportunity that was coming from the Palu tackle.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 7:29am
        fox said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        The laws were incorrectly applied in this circumstance, as is the point of the story. But thank you for googling the laws and giving us all a needless refresher course that reminds us of this.

        • November 18th 2009 @ 1:19pm
          Dublin Dave said | November 18th 2009 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          I didn’t “Google it” Fox. I referee at schools level and have a permanent copy of the law book on my system. I even read it from time to time. Clearly many people here haven’t, so I don’t think it’s all that “needless” to point out what the laws actually say.

          Incidentally, if you listen to Kaplan as he brandishes the card, all he says is “dangerous tackle”, which is all he need do to brand it a foul. He doesn’t say whether it was because he considered it high or because Palu didn’t use his arms. The fact is, Kearney was hit on the chin and that is illegal, regardless of what Palu might have tried to do with his arms.

          • November 18th 2009 @ 2:09pm
            Jerry said | November 18th 2009 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            Er, no. He did say “No arms”.

            Check this video at the 34/35 second mark. He also signalled ‘no arms’ rather than ‘high tackle’.

            • November 19th 2009 @ 7:00am
              fox said | November 19th 2009 @ 7:00am | ! Report

              Yes Jerry you are correct, Kaplan made that stupid wrapping motion with his arms like he was limbering up for the next opportunity to blow his whistle and command centre stage.

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2009 @ 8:17am
        stillmissit said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        Dave – this is absolute bull. The primary charge you make is false and that is that Palu hit him above the line of the shoulders. I watched Pothale’s video replay that he linked to, about 10 times. Kearney lowers himself to set himself for the hit. Palu does likewise and hits him below the shoulders with his arms around his shoulders that Kearney then breaks away from.

        You are correct about a shoulder charge being legitimate and I had no issue with the Kearney one against Elsom. The impact of this stupid decision has played itself out and as you say all is speculation. All of these ref decisions have a serious impact on a game and I wonder if the ref’s are taking their responsibility as seriously as others are doing. They also seem to work in a information vacuum nobody knows what their MO is or what bloody stupid hobby horse they have jumped on this year.

        If it was more transparent and there was penalties for getting it wrong, when it affects the outcome of a game, then fair enough but these guys seem to wander on regardless picking up a solid salary for little risk to the $’s or the position. This is all wrong to my mind.

        • Roar Guru

          November 18th 2009 @ 2:44pm
          stillmissit said | November 18th 2009 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          Dave sorry I got it wrong. You cannot charge a player carrying the ball without using your arms. Penalty 10.4(g) same as the ruling he gave on the Palu incident. I got mixed up with 10.1(a) charging or pushing shoulder to shoulder.

          I should read the rule book before making comments, it is now 2 years since I blew the whistle and it is obviously disappearing fast!

          • November 18th 2009 @ 5:34pm
            Cattledog said | November 18th 2009 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

            And therefore you should agree that Kearney’s charge on Elsom was illegal.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 8:23am
        Tim said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        The penalty was given for a shoulder charge as indicated by Kaplan after the incident, not a high takle. That was not a shoulder charge.

        I say Australia should wear black arm bands against Scotland to protest 😉

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2009 @ 8:25am
        stillmissit said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        One other piece of clarification if you shoulder charge a player as a substitute for a tackle that can also be misconstrued as a tackle with no arms. I have seen penalties awarded for fullbacks doing just what Kearney did on Elsom many times. It is not correct but it happens a lot and the ref can just call it a dangerous tackle regardless of how it happens.

      • November 18th 2009 @ 2:03pm
        AC said | November 18th 2009 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        No, he was wrong on the yellow card. I’d suggest all the hoo-ha from the Dan Carter incident was at the forefront of Kaplan’s mind as he was preparing for his whistle show, that 80k Irish packed Croke Park to see to be sure!

      • November 18th 2009 @ 4:33pm
        Cattledog said | November 18th 2009 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

        Sorry Dave, not 50/50 calls at all, Kaplan got it wrong on both occasions. By the way, how are the sisters?

    • November 18th 2009 @ 5:53am
      katzilla said | November 18th 2009 @ 5:53am | ! Report

      It was a great hit. Palu was unlucky that Kearney went down like a rag doll. Had Kearney not been off balance and fallen so quickly then Palu would have wrapped him up (you see in the videos Palu’s hands touch the back of Kearney as he hits him)
      Just as the Irish commentators noted an attempt was made to use the arms, at worst a penalty.

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2009 @ 5:59am
        Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 5:59am | ! Report

        Kearney wasn’t off-balance – he was going forward and moving around Palu when he was hit. His arms came after his shoulder hit him.

        • November 18th 2009 @ 6:09am
          katzilla said | November 18th 2009 @ 6:09am | ! Report

          You watch the video with only one eye open and i watch it differently………all there is to it.

          • Roar Guru

            November 18th 2009 @ 6:16am
            Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 6:16am | ! Report

            Of course.

            And I’m right as well obviously. 🙂

            • November 18th 2009 @ 7:12am
              CraigB said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:12am | ! Report

              nothing in the rules state the order in which the arms need to come into play. They just have to try and grasp which he was doing

              • November 18th 2009 @ 8:11am
                Bill said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:11am | ! Report

                Exactly!!! In a “text book” tackle the first contact the defender will make will always be with the shoulder and not the arms!

        • November 18th 2009 @ 8:03am
          Matt0931 said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:03am | ! Report

          Thats a pretty standard tackle then. When you tackle someone front on you often make body contact before you close your arms around them (if that makes sense).

          • November 18th 2009 @ 8:22am
            BennO said | November 18th 2009 @ 8:22am | ! Report

            It does mate, how else can you make a tackle? You’re not going to gently wrap your arms around them and then go in with the shoulder are you? It’s just not possible to tackle any other way. Palu’s arms are around the back of the blokes body at the moment of the hit.

            If someone looks at that on video and thinks it’s a shoulder charge it just tells me they’ve never actually made a tackle themselves.

    • November 18th 2009 @ 5:56am
      Davo said | November 18th 2009 @ 5:56am | ! Report

      It was a great tackle plain and simple….and a legal one too. The fact Kearney dropped quicker than a Guiness on a Friday night and the fact that Palu is a giant Islander deceived Kaplan into making one of the many bewildering calls he came up with in this match.

      For me the worst part is that this monster hit will likely further discourage fullbacks from running back the ball….something we dont see enough of in this age of hoisting high balls.

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2009 @ 6:06am
        Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 6:06am | ! Report

        It was an illegal tackle plain and simple. The fact Kearney dropped and held onto the ball despite being illegally tackled by a player showed his presence of mind despite the cheap shot.

        Luckily enough – eagle-eyed Kaplan made a brilliant refereeing decision in spotting the infringement and sending the SH thug from the pitch.

        It’s difficult enough for NH teams to beat SH opposition without having to put up with that kind of behaviour.

        • November 18th 2009 @ 6:13am
          katzilla said | November 18th 2009 @ 6:13am | ! Report

          Do you think if Keaney hadn’t of stayed on the ground like a wendyballer, Kaplan would have sent Palu off?
          Surprised he didn’t grab his shin and start rolling around.

          • Roar Guru

            November 18th 2009 @ 6:21am
            Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 6:21am | ! Report

            What’s a wendyballer?

            You mean when you’re hit by an overweight wrecking ball who couldn’t be arsed to use his arms, you would have stayed standing? Or you would have stayed on the ground and held onto the ball for long enough so that your team would get it?

            Tough choices.

            Shin-grabbing is preserved for soccer matches only. It’s in the rules.

            • November 18th 2009 @ 7:26am
              katzilla said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:26am | ! Report

              ‘You mean when you’re hit by an overweight wrecking ball who couldn’t be arsed to use his arms’

              Overweight? I think thats a bit harsh, sure his BMI says Obese no doubt but the Body Mass Index wasn’t designed for Polynesian body structure.

              • November 18th 2009 @ 7:34am
                fox said | November 18th 2009 @ 7:34am | ! Report

                Kat, there is no point arguing this. He’ll defend his position until the end of time. If Palu had been Irish and made that hit they would be singing about it in the streets of Dublin and it would make all the highlight packages. He’d probably get a Guiness sponsorship. But no the picture of Kearney flying backwards is just too much for fragile Irish egos and so they will hold on with a white knuckle grip to the Kaplan ruling, as if his decision is divine. We are talking about Kaplan here for chrissakes……

              • Roar Guru

                November 18th 2009 @ 9:23am
                Poth Ale said | November 18th 2009 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                Guinness must be the best cited brand in the world. Mention Ireland and within 5 minutes someone can’t resist throwing it in.

                But you’re right there’s no point in arguing with an article that claims that Kearney shoulder-charged Palu and Australia should have been awarded a penalty.

                And that Kearney shoulder charged Elsom and Australia should have been awarded a penalty after they scored their try.

                It must be right.

              • November 18th 2009 @ 10:12am
                fox said | November 18th 2009 @ 10:12am | ! Report

                I do like guiness. I like the Irish as well. I respect the way the Irish play rugby and I have the utmost affection for O’Driscoll and various past players such as Keith Wood etc. I do rather suspect though on this issue that your judgement is clouded, regardless of what Spiro has written above – and I do not agree that Kearney had any cause for a case either for or against him. He definitely did not warrant a penalty for shoulder charging while carrying the ball, that’s just hard running (and everyone lowers shoulders to tacklers when running), albeit met with a harder (and fair) tackle. But that is all from me on the issue. I won’t nit-pick, as it doesn’t change the result.

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