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Reaction to Bledisloe Cup red...
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Reaction to Bledisloe Cup red cards "a disgrace" says Quinlan

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

12:13 9 Nov 2020

Former Irish international Alan Quinlan says the reaction from some Australian and New Zealand legends to the pair of Bledisloe Cup red cards on Saturday has been "a disgrace."

Both New Zealand and Australia saw players sent off in the opening half for head-high tackles, with All-Blacks' prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi seeing red for his hit on Tom Wright, before Lachie Swinton was shown the line on his debut for a similar tackle on Sam Whitelock.

The prevailing comments in both Australia and New Zealand were that referee Nic Berry was harsh to deem the incidents as red-card worthy, despite the him correctly applying World Rugby's decision-making framework.

Bledisloe Cup red-cards

A number of ex-internationals from both sides of the Tazman criticised the red cards on tv, and speaking on OTB AM this morning with Ger and Eoin, Alan Quinlan says this type of reaction can only harm the future of the game.

"What really bemuses me and frustrates me is the reaction of some of the legends of the game.

"You have John Kirwan, Christian Cullen, two former All-Black greats, two great fellas as well, it has to be said. And then you have Tim Horan and Phil Kearns - two Australian legends. You have four stalwarts of the game who have achieved so much in the game, and the four of them were saying neither was a red card. And I'm just bemused looking at this. It's getting to the point where people are looking for mitigating factors, saying it's going to ruin the game...

"What's going to ruin the game for me is one of these injuries is going to really seriously hurt somebody, the force that they're putting into it.

"Every time I watch a rugby game I think there's possibly going to be a red card for someone going high. Of course there's going to be accidental stuff. But I judge this stuff by the force the player puts into the tackle. You've got to reduce the level of force, to not put yourself in a position to potentially get a card and hurt your team."

Quinlan highlighted an example from 2018 also involving Ofa Tu'ungafasi which led to rugby officials clamping down on dangerous tackling. The prop was just cautioned for his part in a collision which left French winger Remy Grosso with a facial fracture.

Pointing out the consistency with which dangerous tackling has been policed since that incident, Quinny says he's losing his patience seeing ex-players talk about what it was like in the good-old-days, when tackles didn't carry a fraction of the force and power with which they do now.

"When John Kirwan, Christian Cullen, Phil Kearns, Tim Horan are talking about this stuff, it's not just in their own countries where people are looking at this. It's kids all over the world. This is on Sky Sports on Saturday morning. People can go onto YouTube and see it.

"I just think it's a disgrace, and I'm really sick of these type of tackles and people making excuses, saying it's going to ruin the game. What's going to ruin the game is someone getting seriously injures.

"I would say to any professional players throughout the world, take the force out of the tackle. Shoulders can slip up a chest, players can dip, all that stuff, but if the force is taken out of it, that will be looked at as a mitigating factor.

North v South

Quinny finished by acknowledging the difference in opinion to this type of tackle from broadcasters in the northern hemisphere, with Will Greenwood and Michael Lynagh (albeit an Aussie) recognising the danger of the tackles while working for Sky Sports.

"Michael Lynagh and Will Greenwood in the Sky Sports studio - and this is a contrast to the opinions of people - both of them said that both were red cards. How can we go from Justin Marshall saying on commentary that it's just a penalty? Well if there's nothing wrong, then it shouldn't be a penalty?

"I think they're two red cards, and the reaction afterwards is disgraceful from the four players (Horan, Kearns, Cullen, Kirwan) who I have great time for."

 

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Alan Quinlan Bledisloe Cup Christian Cullen Concussion Lachie Swinton Ofa Tuungafasi Phil Kearns Tim Horan

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