I must state upfront, I am an old forward and see the world differently due to this. Bulls v Stormers 10mins second half. Bulls prop is over the ball and the Stormers player grabs him around the neck and tries to yank him out of the ruck by his head.
The prop retaliates and punches him in the stomach. Penalty to the Stormers for retaliation and another 3 points in a one sided match.
Everybody including the ref saw this piece of dangerous thuggery by the Stormers player, yet he gets off scot free.
Is this fair?
I was a ref for many years and hated the retaliation rule and would penalise the original offender, if I saw what went on and warn the retaliator, or send them both off, if it was a bad or dangerous situation.
Why is retaliation so bad?
If you are being strangled by a player at the bottom of a ruck, or they are gouging you in the eyes, then are you supposed to lay there and take it in the hope of the ref seeing what went on?
In the rules, there is an assumption of the first penalty, and in the case above, the first penalty was dangerous play by the Stormers player.
Why shouldn’t this principal apply?
When did we get to this ‘girly’ stage of playing rugby where psychopaths get protection and normal players get sent off or penalised?
I am not advocating the opportunity for the psychopaths to change sides, but the first principal should always be protection of the innocent and penalties for original guilt.
Jesus had a fine idea when he suggested turning the other cheek, and this principal may have influenced the laws. However, Jesus never played rugby. If he had, he may never have said this.
I see this sort of play every week and I think it is unfair and supports the guilty against the semi innocent. It is time for the rugby union to look at this situation and start to penalise original offenders first and retaliation second.