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Thread: Chiefs No 8 Pita Gus Sowakula's hurdle try was illegal, refs tell Highlanders

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Chiefs No 8 Pita Gus Sowakula's hurdle try was illegal, refs tell Highlanders

    Paul Cully
    17:00, Feb 23 2022

    Pita Gus Sowakula hurdled Aaron Smith to score in the Chiefs v Highlanders Super Rugby Pacific match.
    The hurdling career of Chiefs No 8 Pita Gus Sowakula is over – at least on the rugby field.

    The big Fijian produced one of the highlights of round 1 in Super Rugby Pacific, jumping over All Blacks No 9 Aaron Smith on the way to the try line, but the try should never have been allowed in the first place.

    “We got an email from the referees saying that is now illegal,” Highlanders head coach Tony Brown said on Wednesday.

    “Dangerous play I think is the ruling. Even though it is not a law it is being deemed as dangerous now.”

    They sought clarity from World Rugby, and rugby officials are clearly worried about the consequences for the tackling player, despite Sowakula’s admirable athleticism.

    Had Smith not missed Sowakula entirely, he could have felt the full force of the 110kg loose forward around the head or neck area.

    Brown, however, was not bitter that referee Paul Williams did not penalise Sowakula, instead light-heartedly pinning the blame on his captain Smith.

    “I am more disappointed with Aaron Smith really,” he said. “I am not disappointed with what happened at the weekend, I just want to make sure Aaron does his job.”

    Meanwhile, the Highlanders could exit the Queenstown bubble and remain in Dunedin after the game against the Crusaders on Friday.

    Stuff revealed earlier this week that NZ Rugby was discussing an early end to the bubble and for the Highlanders that could come as early as this week.

    “Potentially we stay at home after we play the game at Forsyth Barr [Stadium],” Highlanders loose forward and vice-captain James Lentjes said on Wednesday.

    “But, everything is changing all the time, so we just take it day by day.”

    The Highlanders will be told one way or the other before their game on Friday but even if they do go home they will be required to follow guidelines designed to lessen the risk of contracting Covid-19 as it spreads throughout the community.

    It is a distraction they could do without before facing the Crusaders and Lentjes indicated the players were trying to put it to the back of their minds for now.

    “We are just focusing on the Crusaders and we will sort that stuff out if we stay home,” he said. “We will know what that looks like before we go home.”

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    "Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!" - Rocky Balboa

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    That's not a hurdle - that was moving one leg out of Aaron Smith's way.

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    At the time, I thought - Uh Oh I bet there will be some discussion on this. I wonder if, in general play we have a tackler committing a "grass tackle" and the ball carrier evading such a tackle by hurdling the tackler. Will they both get cautioned, maybe yellow carded for dangerous play?

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  5. #5
    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    I mean, they had to make a call since it was referred to them.

    They need to consider the various risks it generates if they say this action is legal, because you can bet if it's legal that we'll see more and more examples in the future.

    Things that could go wrong
    High Contact on the defender, which would be a problem because the videos on World Rugby's website showing legal high contact are all examples of a defender getting hit high. This would be a concussion worry that isn't currently sanctioned under law
    It would set up an argument whether the player can be legally tackled as they are in the air. Is jumping into or over a tackle the perfect attacking play because the tackler can't make contact if you're in the air?

    I'm not at all surprised that they've called it dangerous play, because they had to rule it out and that's the only law that has a chance of being applied. To allow it is to open a pandora's box of impacts

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