The Ref Review: Six Nations Yellow Card Controversey

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Cody Kuxmann is a Referee at the London Society Of Rugby Football Union Referees, while studying International Relations at RichmondThe American International University in London. He lives in Richmond Upon Thames but hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin.

UPDATE: Stephen Ferris was given no ban for the tackle, whereas Bradley Davies has received a 10 week ban.

DUBLIN, IRELAND – If you watched any of the games, Ireland vs Wales was the game of the weekend.  Apparently, there was a Super Bowl last weekend as well. I went to a party for the free food… thought it was just another university party. Whoops.  Anyway, the controversy surrounding this weekend with the Ireland/Wales match will be my biggest focus this week in… The Ref Review.

Looking at the game, I thought Wayne Barnes had an amazing game. He was fair to both sides, consistent and decent overall.  Two things that stand out are Bradley Davies’ tackle and the Stephen Ferris tackle.  Let’s tackle the Ferris’ tackle first.

http://youtu.be/aUm9Whlaydc

The Ferris’ tackle is interesting in the aspect that had it happened before the World Cup, I highly doubt that we would have seen any outcome from the tackle, other than a roar from the crowd.  However, the World Cup happened and to say every tackle now doesn’t take it into account would be naive.  With the Warburton tackle, the emphasis on spear and tip tackles has become intense.  In Ferris-gate,  we see a red player get lifted up off the ground and get taken past the horizontal, tip tackle by definition.  The directive to referee’s has been to start at Red and work your way down.  In this tackle, the first question is… was it dangerous?  No. Look where his head lands, look at the first contact with the ground.  There is no way I can see a Red card here.  Next thing to look at  – was there any other factor behind it.  Well, Ferris did continue his drive after the tackle and no, he didn’t do anything else that would be seen as “wrong” in this situation.  I see a penalty at worst coming out of this.

Now let’s go back to the Davies penalty.  Was it a Yellow card?  The Irish player was lifted past the horizontal and then dropped from a fairly good height – about 2 feet – onto his upper-back and neck.  Further, the ball was a good 15 meters away at the time of the foul.  Considering Warburton’s tackle as precedent, was it not almost exactly the same?  You bet! I see no other option than a Red card for this.

As for the other matches, the officials did a good job in the FranceItaly and the EnglandScotland game.  The IrelandWales game… Not so much.

How do you feel about the Six Nations’ referees?

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About the Author ()

Cody Kuxmann is a Referee at London Society Of Rugby Football Union deciple... When not sending innocents to the Sin Bin, The American International University in London grad splits time between England and... Green Bay, WI! And like all referees, is Blind, Deaf and Dumb.

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