NZ vs IRL Test 3 - Andrew Porter‘s “absorbing tackle” on Brodie Retallick

Volun-selected


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Foul play - yes.
Direct contact to head - yes.
Any mitigation - no.
So red then? Nope.

Interested on the thoughts of others on this as often this scenario ends with a straight red. According to one site the chat went:
“Green number 1 makes direct head-to-head contact” [TMO] Foley advised Barnes before showing him the replay.

“Number one is upright, so we have got foul play,” he began. “It is an absorbing tackle, not a dominant tackle, there is no mitigation, I have a yellow card, do you agree?”

When the TMO concurred, Ireland’s prop was sent to the bin for ten minutes.

Feels like he’s seeing this as passive/accidental so but the guidelines have direct contact under the RC section. NZ fans are incensed, IRL fans are relieved, and I’m confused— but WB is also arguably one of, if not the best ref, currently at that level and his choice of wording - absorbing tackle - has to be deliberate.

Thoughts? Is this how we’re going to see a reduction in the Red cards in the pro game? Are my teams down in the weeds going to ask for the same? New guidance coming down the pipe?

 

Balones

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I asked a non-rugby player/supporter what they thought.
They said the green player was just standing there when the black player came running in and head-butted him! Context and perspective is everything.:)
 

Decorily

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Personally I think it's a fair call, "no mitigation" from WB doesn't imply that the starting point is Red.
 

Jarrod Burton


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Mitagating factor is Green not driving into the tackle. The High Contact framework states that the starting point is PK/YC when there is no leading head/shoulder/forearm and the tackler is passive as it is low/medium risk.
 

Balones

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Would anyone have penalised Retallick if he’d hit Porter in the chest/ribs with his head and broke a couple? I must admit to getting fed up with seeing games with fewer than 15v15. I personally would have been happy with a penalty on this occasion, and only because it would continue to encourage tacklers to tackle lower. This was a rugby incident which happened because like most ball carriers he was leading with his head. Porter just put himself in the way to ‘absorb’ the player and did not really do anything dangerous apart from stand there. Was this really ‘foul play’ as we would reasonably understand it?
How about protecting ball carriers from injury by penalising them if they lead with their heads going into a tackle? Ball carriers must lead with their shoulder?
I know my frustration at seeing games spoilt by 15v12 is showing!:)
 

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i infer that an 'absorbing tackle' is now a thing - elite refs must have received some guidance that includes this term..

Coaches will now presumably teach players how to do an 'absorbing tackle' - the sort of tackle that means you can take down an opponent, but are not risking a RC.
 

Balones

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i infer that an 'absorbing tackle' is now a thing - elite refs must have received some guidance that includes this term..

Coaches will now presumably teach players how to do an 'absorbing tackle' - the sort of tackle that means you can take down an opponent, but are not risking a RC.
The elite refs do tend to talk amongst themselves and trial things before cascading down to the rest of us. The word used prior to this was ‘passive’ but this really was a misnomer since it is difficult to be totally passive if you are really trying to tackle and stop a ball carrier. Would you be penalised for a no arms tackle if you became a ‘sleeping policeman’ and merely allowed them to trip over you?:) That is perhaps the true meaning of a passive tackle.
Perhaps the RFU pre-season meetings will enlighten us.
 

crossref


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It does seem that WR are retreating from their determination to stamp out head contact using RCs.
Suddenly there are types of head contact that don't merit a RC ?

(I do feel for them, though, it is complicated)
 

Jarrod Burton


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It does seem that WR are retreating from their determination to stamp out head contact using RCs.
Suddenly there are types of head contact that don't merit a RC ?

(I do feel for them, though, it is complicated)
The head contact framework always included the ability for the referee to determine whether it was foul play or incidental contact.
 

crossref


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The head contact framework always included the ability for the referee to determine whether it was foul play or incidental contact.
yes, I am talking about foul play (obviously).

This one
- was foul play
- no mitigation
but only a YC because it was absorbing
 

Marc Wakeham


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It does seem that WR are retreating from their determination to stamp out head contact using RCs.
Suddenly there are types of head contact that don't merit a RC ?

(I do feel for them, though, it is complicated)
There always were!
 

Balones

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Head contact - yes.
I fully understand the process.
I’m not entirely sure there was foul play. What did Porter do that could be constituted as foul play really? He was at fault? For just standing up and letting a player run into him? I would have been satisfied with a penalty at most.
 

Marc Wakeham


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that was for when there is no foul play.

He the decision was
- there was foul play
- it was head contact
- there was no mitigation

but it's only YC

Becaue it's 'absorbing' and this is what is new
You need to read it properly!
LAW APPLICATION GUIDELINES
Head Contact Process
March 20211.

1 Has head contact occurred?
IF YES

2. Was there any foul play?

IF YES

3. What was the degree of danger?

Three possible outcomes : PK PK &C PK & RC

Then

4. Is there any mitigation?
Yes
PK RC
Mitigation will not apply for intentional
or highly reckless acts of foul play
YC
PK YC
LOW HI
 

Balones

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I wonder if he has been cited so that a discussion about ‘absorbing’ can take place?
 

Jarrod Burton


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Porter now cited!
I really don't like that this tackle has been cited. It doesn't feel like RC foul play for mine. How does it compare to tackling a player in the air, tip tackles with a drop/drive, eye gouging, or even the two handed strike by Hill to Swains face in the first Aus Eng test (given that was not considered RC or citation worthy). A stand-up tackle, not driving through, with Retalick leading with his head into the contact - why is the ball carrier not responsible for preventing head contact too?
 

Dixpat

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I really don't like that this tackle has been cited. It doesn't feel like RC foul play for mine. How does it compare to tackling a player in the air, tip tackles with a drop/drive, eye gouging, or even the two handed strike by Hill to Swains face in the first Aus Eng test (given that was not considered RC or citation worthy). A stand-up tackle, not driving through, with Retalick leading with his head into the contact - why is the ball carrier not responsible for preventing head contact too?
Just because the head is forward of the torso in no way constitutes "leading with the head" (IMO)
 
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