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Rainier Wolfcastle
16 Apr 13 17:28
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Date Joined: 26 Dec 06
| Topic/replies: 1,359 | Blogger: Rainier Wolfcastle's blog
http://www.independent.ie/incoming/schmidt-fears-for-rugby-following-oconnell-citing-decision-29200934.html

Leinster boss Joe Schmidt feels the game is entering "dangerous territory" after Paul O'Connell avoids citing for kicking Dave Kearney.

The incident occurred in the 62nd minute of the clash in Limerick, when O'Connell attempted to kick the ball from Kearney's grasp and caught the winger's head with his leg as he attempted to do so.

Kearney was left motionless on the turf following the incident and had to be stretchered from the field of play.

The winger spent Saturday night in hospital with concussion, having been technically knocked out, and was said to be in serious discomfort.

He was discharged on Sunday and will be put through the concussion protocols to determine whether or not he will be fit to feature for Leinster against Zebre in the PRO12 this Sunday.

When asked about the decision not to cite O'Connell, Scmidt said: "I think it was more of a case that Dave Kearney's head had every right to be where it was.

"He was the player in possession of the ball. He was totally lucid at the time and his head was stable, and he placed the ball beside it.

"He had every right to be where he was. I'm just surprised. I think all of us understand the quality of Paul O'Connell. I think he's a superb player. I think he's a top-quality bloke.

"It's impossible for us to rule on intent. What we can see is an action that has had 90,000 hits on YouTube. That mothers of kids that we want to play the game are watching.

"And effectively what the citing commissioner has deemed that what happened is acceptable on a rugby field. That it didn't constitute a red card. I just think we're getting into dangerous territory when that's our baseline.

"Post-game: that's not my domain. It was left to Eddie Walsh, the citing commissioner, to determine whether or not it was a citing offence.

"In 12 years of professional coaching, I don't think I've ever seen a contact like that.

"I think there was some discussion about Leinster players not reacting. At the time they were looking to the referee. They felt maybe Dave had been taken out in the air.

"If you needed to look at a reaction, have a look at Felix Jones' face, and have a look at Felix Jones' first actions when he sees what happens."
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Report Ozymandius April 16, 2013 9:19 PM BST
He is unquestionably spot on.

The silence from the Munster faithful on this is deafening and demeans our game.
Report big_dunc April 16, 2013 10:09 PM BST
We're told POC wasn't cited because he made contact with the ball, but that was only after he'd gone through Kearney's head and knocked him out with a swinging leg. It is absolutely staggering that they've decided there is no case to answer.
Report Ozymandius April 16, 2013 10:55 PM BST
He wouldn't want to show his mug in D4 anytime soon.  The locals are spitting feathers.
Report Murphys Stroke April 17, 2013 12:30 PM BST
Im guessing POC is really worried about the D4 locals and what they think.
Report big_dunc April 17, 2013 2:05 PM BST
Fans on the airwaves complaining that Leo Cullen has spoken out, voicing his disapproval, but is it any wonder he's speaking up when he all we hear in the media is how POC didn't mean it and therefore shouldn't be banned? Here's the opening paragraph from Quinlan in the Irish Times:

I was glad to see that Paul O’Connell wasn’t cited after the Leinster game the other night. At the time, I thought the ball was there to be kicked and it was only when you slowed it down that it looked like there might have been a problem.

The timing was split-second and I don’t honestly think there was much he could have done differently. To suspend him for it afterwards, you would be saying that he had time to think through the outcome of kicking the ball. You would have been saying that it was a red-card offence.


It looked bad real time and of course there is no mention of the fact that he made contact with Kearney's head before the ball. All these experts passing comment when they either don't know the rules or are conveniently ignoring them to suit their own agenda. It's clearly Dangerous Play for kicking an opponent as defined under Foul Play.
Report northanlite April 17, 2013 4:01 PM BST
i just watched that for the first time. much worse than i assumed from comments on here.
he had no chance of making contact with ball without going directly through kearneys head first.

is that allowed from now on then that as long as the ball is in line with your boot you can kick at it regardless of what body part is in front of it????
a dangerous precedent has been set here imo.
Report RugbyMan April 17, 2013 7:52 PM BST
A case of bringing the game into disrepute?

That's the relevant authorities i'm talking about, not O'Connell. From what I can see O'Connell has gone for the ball, he does in fact hoof it, but he shows absolutely no regard for Kearney's head and therefore his wellbeing as his size 15 clangs through whatever is in it's way. There's a lot of terms that can describe this ranging from 'clumsy' to 'bloody stupid', depending on personal feelings, but one thing that can not be denied was that it was extremely dangerous. In fact, there are not many things on the rugby pitch that could be considered more dangerous: spear tackling can seriously risk head and spine and I would be very surprised indeed if any player ever means to spear tackle - carelessness on the moment of impact can potentially cause serious injury and there has been a clamp down on this in order for the likelihood to be reduced. So what is different about O'Connell's boot smashing into Kearney's skull? There is no more dangerous place to hit a player than the small bit of bone protecting the brain so it certainly isn't the level of danger, while intent, as we know, can be impossible to fathom but is somewhat irrelevant anyhow (to it being a crime at least, but very relevant to the length of ban maybe).

I imagine O'Connell himself would not kick out if he had his time again, mistakes are mistakes and he acted in a split second, BUT, so did the last X number of players I saw who picked up a card and/or ban for spear tackling or other dangerous play. I honestly have no idea how this is different in any way. It's ludicrously dangerous and if this had caused brain damage where would we be then?

A very minimum 4 week ban I would have thought, bearing in mind other bans we have seen recently. Yet again you have to wonder, with a big international tour coming up, if a certain high profile player hasn't got off very lightly. If not that then the citing commissioner is simply a moron.
Report Kelly April 22, 2013 12:45 PM BST
Did not see this incident , but reading an article about it in yesterdays ST made me notice this thread .  POC is a stellar contributor to Irish ( and world ) rugby , not as dominant as Martin Johnson was in his playing days , but few anywhere were .

Given the physicality involved in modern game , borderline "over the top " reactions in a game are inevitable , sometimes it comes from frustration at your own game , other times it is the result of opponents activity .  In the old days some guys cut lumps out of one another , but patched up their differences on field over a pint afterwards , and largely there was a spirit of you win some you lose some .

However with 17 stoners able to run fairly fast occasionally , the possibility of mis matches physically about the pitch have grown , so seen on the  increasing number of players injured regularly .  Rugby used not be a kicking game essentially , but has become one week in and week out , what would have been regarded as pointless kicking in the old days is prevalent in every match every week , so the incidence of "chasing" up and unders has grown to epidemic proportions .  And apart from illegal scrummaging , it is possibly now the most likely culprit in visually horrific collisions and "incidents" .

Until the game reverts to being a fast handling game essentially , with the opportunity ( and space ) to try and beat the opposition with skill , the incessant kicking and the rucks will continue to dominate the game  , particularly if  the  current scrum mess is sorted out sensibly .

Have no view on the POC incident , seems there are divided opinions on it  and it looks like status and previous "good conduct" may have been influential factors .  Dont think it will happen again , thats the good thing about the debate and publicity involved .  Dangerous play no one wants , particularly the players , they are the ones with their bodies ( and lives ) on the line , no monetary reward is worth a lifestyle changing incident however blameworthy anyone involved is .

Rugby is a tough game , always was , and the Corintian spirit of Webb Ellis's day has changed a lot . Just hope everyone treats it still as a game , not life or death , and unfortunately some issues are not black and white , sometimes not even grey . The desire to win still has to be near the top of every coaches wish list  , and they get paid / get re-engaged on the basis of results .  Fair play should be a factor , but increasingly its hard to monitor or instil in players / coaches  , and  nobody is going to drop their best player because of an alleged or "unproven " incident .  Presumably thats where the authorities come into the big picture  , in this case ( as in the Tiger "fudge" in golf recently ) hopefully the decision process outcome is not as contentious as this one . Its never dead simple though !

And there is a good case for everyone to wear protective head gear on the rugby field , provided it does not assist tackling etc and is safe  . Mandatory in a lot of other games nowadays , and few are any worse for it . And if it eliminated cauliflower ears so much the better !
Report Desmond Orchard April 22, 2013 2:09 PM BST
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6z_7GgT1RM

Somebodies not happy about it.......
Report Ozymandius April 22, 2013 10:30 PM BST
Jaysus, kelly, u haven't seen the incident and u still pen a 100 odd words Laugh

If you had watched it, your post would have been of 'War and Peace' proportionsWink
Report Ozymandius April 22, 2013 10:31 PM BST
* 1000
Report Ozymandius April 22, 2013 10:51 PM BST
This is a good one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzNMhlHCWT8
Report Rainier Wolfcastle April 23, 2013 12:11 AM BST
Kelly, have a read of the link below for a commentary on the lack of citing. It sums up the situation quite well. Also, click on the image on that page for a zoom-in still shot of the incident:

http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,25883,16016_8665672,00.html
Report Rainier Wolfcastle April 23, 2013 12:15 AM BST
Lol Desmond, two of those made me genuinely lol:

"It's dangerous f#*king play, even Clancy knows that!" and "Thank God it wasn't Rob, he's the handsome one..."
Report Desmond Orchard April 23, 2013 9:17 AM BST
"Even Ronan O'Gara got done for kicking that Scottish bloke..................AND THAT WAS ON THE ARSE!!!"
Report Barksdalefamilybusiness April 23, 2013 3:30 PM BST
I,m guessing if that had been Courtney Lawes kicking BOD like that in the 6 nations Quinlan would feel exactly the same? Hard to keep a straight face writing that.
Report yummy April 23, 2013 5:43 PM BST
For what it is worth here is my opinion

I was surprised that POC wasn't cited for dangerous play yet when I read the commissioner's reason for not citing him I understood .

A citing commissioner can only cite a player when he feels a red car offence has taken place whether or not the referee has dealt with the issue.
In my opinion and probably the citing commissioner's the abscence of any intent on POC's meant the incident did not warrant a red card.
Three recent suspensions involving Irish players (Healy v Eng, BOD v Italy and ROG v Edinburgh) were all a result of intended kicks and stamps and all were rightly cited and suspended

On another thread I made a rather crass comment re the incident and for that I apologise. In my defence the comment was made in the knowledge that although suffering a concussion DK was okay and on the road to a full recovery. Indeed he was conscious leaving the field but I do regret my juvenile comment at the time.
Report yummy April 23, 2013 5:43 PM BST
For what it is worth here is my opinion

I was surprised that POC wasn't cited for dangerous play yet when I read the commissioner's reason for not citing him I understood .

A citing commissioner can only cite a player when he feels a red car offence has taken place whether or not the referee has dealt with the issue.
In my opinion and probably the citing commissioner's the abscence of any intent on POC's meant the incident did not warrant a red card.
Three recent suspensions involving Irish players (Healy v Eng, BOD v Italy and ROG v Edinburgh) were all a result of intended kicks and stamps and all were rightly cited and suspended

On another thread I made a rather crass comment re the incident and for that I apologise. In my defence the comment was made in the knowledge that although suffering a concussion DK was okay and on the road to a full recovery. Indeed he was conscious leaving the field but I do regret my juvenile comment at the time.
Report RugbyMan April 23, 2013 9:09 PM BST
I understand the intent part, and that's clearly O'Connell's saving grace here, the other 3 mentioned were less likely to cause damage but, more than likely, intended to cause more damage than O'Connell had in mind. The problem is that players can pick up red cards and bans for tackles that go wrong (Warburton's in the world cup is the obvious one to look at here) and it's very difficult to assess intent in those cases, but they are dangerous and so the mandate is RED. It is also very possible to get a red card for a tackle in the air where the intent is questionable or indeed a high tackle. An error of judgement can cost a team a player on the day and not being able to select him in following weeks. O'Connell's extremely clumsy kick is at least as dangerous as these instances, but in his case lack of intent has saved him whereas that hasn't always been the case with other red cards and bans.

I think he has been extremely lucky to have found 2 individuals (Owens and the citing commissioner) who didn't think a red was warranted in a situation where a red certainly could have been given and would have been difficult to argue against if it had been. NOT that I want people red carded and banned for everything that is at all dangerous, that would be ludicrous, but I can not think of a single more potentially harmful action that I have seen on a rugby pitch and exceptional incidences should at least be looked at by more than one man.

You can get a 6 month ban for smoking pot, but no ban at all for something that could bust a man's skull. Some things in rugby really do confuse me.
Report yummy April 23, 2013 10:23 PM BST
To Owens and Walsh you can add the assistant who was only 2 yards away. 

Joe Schmidt  in the opening post states that Kearney was totally lucid at the time he placed the ball.
Am I the only one that thinks Kearney showed signs of distress when he landed and that his actions were more instinctive than lucid. I was pretty close to the incident and certainly I thought Owens might have blown up on seeing kearney's condition on the ground. He was not held surely his lucid mind would have seen him attempt to get back to his feet.

I haven't really seen this angle commented  on anywhere . Anyone else feel that he landed in a distressed state?
Report Kelly April 23, 2013 10:43 PM BST
Ozy , my comments were designed to highlight some of the problems facing the rugby authorites nowadays .  The physical element of rugby nowadays means it is a different game to what was envisaged when the game evolved .

Willy nilly kicking needs to be curtailed , involving as it does bodies hurtling into one another in an attempt to upset a successful catch . That the authorities do not sit down and evolve safer rugby rules and play styles is a big minus to the game .

The other aspect of rugby which none of the afficionados will address is the bulk / size of modern players . Is everyone convinced they all have corn flakes for breakfast ?
Report yummy April 23, 2013 11:13 PM BST
10.4 Dangerous play and misconduct

(c) Kicking. A player must not kick an opponent.
Sanction: Penalty kick

10.5 Sanctions
(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.
   Above is  the law regarding foul play and specifically kicking an opponent.
By the letter of the law POC should have received a card but not necessarily the red card so many are baying for. 

For all those who have recently discovered their are laws in rugby have a study of the following acts all classed as foul play and all of  which should be sanctioned by a penalty and a card of some sort

10.4 Dangerous play and misconduct
(a) Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).


(b) Stamping or trampling. A player must not stamp or trample on an opponent.


(c) Kicking. A player must not kick an opponent.


(d) Tripping. A player must not trip an opponent with the leg or foot.


(e) Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.

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.


A ‘stiff-arm tackle’ is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff-arm to strike an opponent.


Playing a player without the ball is dangerous play.


A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground

(f) Playing an opponent without the ball. Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball.

(g) Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.


(h)
A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player.
(i) Tackling the jumper in the air. A player must not tackle nor tap, push or pull the foot or feet of an opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play.


(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.


(k) Dangerous play in a scrum, ruck or maul. The front row of a scrum must not rush against its opponents.


Front row players must not intentionally lift opponents off their feet or force them upwards out of the scrum.


Players must not charge into a ruck or maul without binding onto a player in the ruck or maul.

Players must not intentionally collapse a scrum, ruck or maul.


(l) Retaliation. A player must not retaliate. Even if an opponent is infringing the Laws, a player must not do anything that is dangerous to the opponent.

(m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.


(n) Misconduct while the ball is out of play. A player, must not, while the ball is out of play, commit any misconduct, or obstruct or in any way interfere with an

Basically the sanction for all the above is a penalty and a card red or yellow depending on the seriousness of the offence
Report Kelly April 23, 2013 11:51 PM BST
Yummy , we see infringements as listed above every minute of most matches , all attempts to intimidate or disposses or nullify opponents . Seldom see cards though .  The laws are obviously written to eliminate foul play , but more and more it is the DEGREE to which the letter of the law is tested ( or broken ) which makes it difficult to referee a match without upsetting a lot of people .

The way professionalism , paid coaches , paid psychologists , paid players have changed the "sporting" aspect of the game is open to debate . Winning at all costs is the mantra , sailing as close as you can to the wind is encouraged , and plotted .  All contact sports nowadays face new challenges if degrees of physicality continue to increase . Jonah Lomu , who was amazingly big and fast when he bestrode the game ( notably in one game against England ) , would probably not get a second glance nowadays on emerging from the tunnel !
Report big_dunc April 24, 2013 6:50 PM BST
For all those who have recently discovered their are laws in rugby have a study of the following acts all classed as foul play and all of  which should be sanctioned by a penalty and a card of some sort

I presume this is directed at me given I'm the only person on this thread to have mentioned the laws of the game. I don't need a lesson from you to explain to me what they are, but I'll draw your attention to the below clarifcation from 2006.

Request
Situation:

A tackle is made, or attempted, where the initial contact is made below the line of the shoulder, but the arm(s) of the tackler subsequently make contact with the head or neck of the tackled player.
Question:
Even if the subsequent contact with the head or neck is not intentional, but the contact is dangerous, should the referee rule on the intent (initial tackle) ie. No sanction; or should the referee rule on the consequence ie. Sanction?

If the ruling is sanction, would the referee be correct in considering the dangerous aspect as accidental, and consider cards only if he deemed the tackling action to be careless?

Ruling in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
The referee should not rule on intent, but on the outcome. In this situation the outcome was a dangerous tackle in that the tackler made contact with the head or neck of the ball carrier. For this type of tackle the referee has three options available: penalty only, penalty and yellow card, penalty and red card.


All this chat about intent is irrelevant. There's no doubt that POC did was dangerous and I don't see how anyone can argue that it didn't warrant a red card.
Report yummy April 24, 2013 8:44 PM BST
Dunc

How would you ref this scenario.
Player A  on the ground , ball loose , player B tries to kick the ball but unfortunately in the act of kicking the ball his shin connects with player A's head , rendering him unconscious.
A and B are teammates

Your decision
Report ballaman68 April 28, 2013 8:01 PM BST
Big Dunc in todays game Burger and Armitage had a clearly accidental clash of heads. Now if we were to take the ruling that you quote and apply it then should we red card both players for headbutting each other? or for wanton disregard to an opponents safety.

I realise that this is an extreme example but if we go down this route of citing accidental incidents where do we stop?

For me and a straw poll of our refs at a recent meeting was that it was an accident, these things happen,try to avoid them where possible.
Report yummy April 29, 2013 10:19 AM BST
Dunc

As I'm sure you know, no punishment should be meted out in this scenario as it is only illegal to kick an opponent
Report BJG April 29, 2013 12:21 PM BST
Joe Schmidt confirmed as the new Ireland rugby coach.
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