Tougher sanctions needed to eradicate tip tackles?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 2 Apr 2012 at 09:00
Tagged with : , , , , ,

Hot off the SANZAR presses this weekend comes the news that two more players have been cited for tip tackles, with the Rebels’ Cooper Vuna copping a 2-week ban and the Force’s Phoenix Battye summoned to attend a disciplinary hearing today. With five players already having copped bans for tip tackles in just six weeks of Super Rugby – assuming Battye does indeed get time off for his hit on Will Genia – I’m starting to wonder whether SANZAR needs a stronger deterrent.

The issue here doesn’t appear to be the actual citing process, since players do appear to be somewhat ruthlessly cited for any incident that looks anything like a tip tackle. The problem, as far as I can tell, is the over-lenient sentencing process that gives far too much leeway to players who plead guilty and have a clean track record; we’ve seen the majority of players cited pick up a ban of no more than two weeks, with Francois Hougaard going even better than that by getting only one.

It’s only been “bad boy” Digby Ioane that’s received anything like a proper ban for his cynical hit on Marcell Coetzee; but again his 8-week ban was reduced to just 5. The bleating that followed from the player warrants adding those three weeks straight back on, if you ask me, but perhaps others aren’t quite as keen to eradicate this nonsense from the game.

Another issue is the collective failure of on-field officials to get their calls right during the match; Hougaard (who ironically got the shortest ban) is the only player to date to have been shown straight red for his tackle, this despite the fact that the IRB’s directive clearly dictates a red card as the starting point for a tip tackle offence. Where, I wonder, was the mitigating factor in Ioane’s hit that somehow reduced it to a yellow-card offence? in both of this weekend’s incidents, no card was shown at all, making one wonder exactly what the refs and linesmen are watching, since it’s clearly not the tackles players are putting in. Players must surely know that they are far less likely to be carded for a tip tackle than they are for committing a technical breakdown offence – just ask Ross Skeate how much warning gets applied in those cases!

We don’t know yet what sort of penalty Battye is going to face, but the fact that he’s been summoned to appear in front of the judiciary is a good sign that perhaps his case, at least, will be taken more seriously. SANZAR needs to grow some balls here and show their teeth. Tip tackles have to stop and there should be no further sentence reduction for any reason whatsoever. Furthermore, referees should be censured if they fail to spot and adequately punish these offences on-field. That’s the only way we’re going to get this message into the players’ heads.


  • Let’s be honest. The refs are ruining the game with inconsistent calls.

    Like Keith Brown telling Keegan Daniel they couldn’t kick the ball straight out on Saturday at full-time. Yes, it was a restart but if a restart goes out it’s either:
    a) a lineout
    b) a scrum at halfway or
    c) the team has to retake the restart
    At the discretion of the opposition team. But as time was over, and it’s not a penalisable offence, technically there was nothing stopping Keegan instructing Riaan to put it in the grand stand. Unless Keith Brown decided to invent a law on the spot to help the Brumbies with a penalty.

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.04.12 09:04:54 by Butchie34 Reply
  • Phoenix Battye? Surely with a name like that the player has already suffered enough and needs to further punishment? His parents must have been BIG soap opera fans… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.04.12 09:06:28 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • and here I was hoping for a clean S15 weekend….oh well, I can still dream 😛

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.04.12 10:28:24 by Scott B Reply
    The Hobbit
  • I don’t think its so much the sanctions as it is the inconsistent officiating. A straight red hurts a team immediately and won’t be forgotten.

    Pathetic that these tackles are generally being missed or censured with just a YC.

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.04.12 11:03:25 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Phoenix Battye has been found not guilty

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.04.12 12:09:16 by lostfish Reply
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