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Folau suspension: Let's applaud, not sanction, skilful feats

Australian rugby is in serious trouble. (AAP Image/ David Rowland)
Roar Rookie
27th June, 2018
339

Following an enthralling Test series between the Wallabies and Ireland, why are we talking about a ban on Israel Folau when we should be applauding what was an extraordinary piece of skill and leaping ability?

It is not the first time we have seen Folau using this to his advantage, with the Waratahs and Wallabies making the tactic a key part of their attacking arsenal this season.

However, after Folau’s yellow card and suspension for a mid-air collision with Peter O’Mahoney, there are concerns that such a feat of skill could soon be eradicated from the game, which would result in much less contested ball in the air.

Replays of the incident show that Folau was making a contest for the ball from a kick-off, and while arguments can be made about the level of contact, a contest for the ball – which is commonplace on a rugby field – will always involve contact when two players are fighting for possession.

Also in this instance, some responsibility should have been taken by CJ Stander for the safety of O’Mahoney as the player who initially lifted him into the air.

On the other hand, many have seen the collision as another example of Folau’s ability to contest for possession at heights that arguably cannot be reached by any other player in the game – so why should a player be sanctioned for using one of their best skills to their advantage?

The Australian fullback has developed and honed this skill, and many others, through a professional career in the NRL, AFL and now in rugby union. He should have every right to use it as a means of giving himself, and his team a greater attacking advantage.

It is the skilful feats of professionals from around the globe that entice fans and aspiring players to watch and participate in not only rugby, but any sport for that matter. We must applaud these feats and not sanction them.