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'That is the reddest of red ca...
Rugby

'That is the reddest of red cards' | O'Driscoll & Warburton discuss Marchand's high tackle

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

18:04 1 May 2021

Former international captains Brian O'Driscoll and Sam Warburton believe that Toulouse were lucky to finish their Heineken Champions Cup semi-final with 15 men, after a controversial tackle from Julien Marchand.

Toulouse booked their place in the final with a 21-9 victory over French rivals Bordeaux, with Antoine Dupont scoring the winner late in the match.

However, it was still within reach for Bordeaux with 23 minutes left on the clock when Toulouse captain Marchand put in a potentially red-cardable tackle on Romain Buros.

Speaking in the BT Sports studio after the match, former Welsh captain Warburton went through why he felt Marchand should have seen a card.

"It is Julien Marchand," Warburton said. "They showed a replay, he is standing bolt upright and that is a right shoulder to the head.

"You look at that from a refereeing perspective, and I don't expect Wayne Barnes to see everything, he needs help, but that is a shoulder to the head. You say, 'right, is there force?' Yes. 'Is it to the head?' Yes. 'Is there mitigation?' No.

"So, I don't know how we could look at anything less than a yellow, and I am being kind.

"Another point worth mentioning is that there is no wrap at all," Warburton added. "There is nothing going in his favour."

For O'Driscoll, the moment could have been the momentum swing that could have seen a very different outcome to the match.

"I think that is the reddest of red cards," O'Driscoll said. "He almost has to spring to get the collision shoulder to the impact point.

"Marchand has hit high, and for me, would it have been the difference in changing the game? Potentially. It is still only a five point game.

"You think about the galvanising effect; 23 minutes in a semi-final is a huge amount of time. Toulouse could have tightened up and it could have just given that energy to Bordeaux."

O'Driscoll believes that there will be some examination of the incident in the coming days. "I am sure the citing commissioner will be having a look at it," O'Driscoll said.

"Sometimes when you don't see multiple replays you can miss them, and they are human like the rest of us, but it seems like a huge moment with lots still to play on the clock."

Tune into Off The Ball from 3pm on Sunday for live commentary of Leinster's semi-final against La Rochelle.

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Bordeaux-Begles Brian O'Driscoll Bt Sport Champions Cup Julien Marchand La Rochelle Leinster Romain Buros Sam Warburton Toulouse

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