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Thread: World Rugby to appeal Farrell's disciplinary decision

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    World Rugby to appeal Farrell's disciplinary decision

    Staff Writers
    Reuters
    August 17, 2023 8:40PM


    England captain Owen Farrell's Rugby World Cup future is hanging in the balance once more after World Rugby said it will appeal a Six Nations Rugby independent Judicial Committee decision to overturn his red card against Wales.

    Farrell, who has had several suspensions related to tackle technique in his career, was expected to receive a minimum four-game suspension for the act of foul play.

    The appeal will be heard early next week, Six Nations Rugby said, with Farrell left out of England's matchday squad for their World Cup warm-up Test in Ireland on Saturday.


    He was surprisingly let off the hook by the Judicial Committee on Wednesday, who agreed with the flyhalf that the offence warranted a yellow card only.

    Farrell was sent off - a yellow card upgraded to red via the new review system - after smashing his shoulder into the face of Wales forward Taine Basham in the sort of no-arms tackle that got him a four-game ban this season playing for Saracens.

    The Judicial Committee decision caused uproar on social media, with ex-players and player welfare advocates almost unanimous in agreeing it set a bad example at a time when the long-term effect of head injuries is in the spotlight.

    "World Rugby has today confirmed to the Rugby Football Union and Six Nations Rugby that it will exercise its right to appeal in regard to the Owen Farrell disciplinary decision following a careful review of the independent Judicial Committee's full written decision received on 16 August," World Rugby said.

    "Having considered the full written decision, World Rugby considers an appeal to be warranted. In line with provisions set out under Regulation 17, an independent Appeal Committee will be appointed to determine the matter at the earliest possible opportunity."

    The statement added that while World Rugby "fully supports the important role that an independent disciplinary process plays in upholding the integrity and values of the sport", it is clear they too believe the judgement sends the wrong message. "Player welfare is the sport's number one priority, and the Head Contact Process is central to that mission at the elite level of the sport," it continued.

    Any suspension Farrell receives could potentially see him miss a number of England's World Cup pool matches.

    They have two more warm-ups against Ireland and Fiji, with their first two World Cup games against Argentina and Japan crucial for Steve Borthwick's side.

    Samoa and Chile are also in their group.

    https://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/ru...ion-c-11624066

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    I am not sure how or if we can load up a pdf document on the site, so I have copy and pasted the a text version of the full Disciplinary Decision below, for those that are interested in understanding the process.

    Apologies for the lack of formatting.

    DISCIPLINARY DECISION
    Match England v Wales
    Player's union Rugby Football Union Competition 2023 Summer Nations
    Series
    Date of match 12 August 2023 Match venue Twickenham
    Applicable rules World Rugby’s regulations (WRR) 17, 18 and 20, as supplemented by the
    2023 Summer Nations Series Disciplinary Rules (DR)
    PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
    Player’s surname Farrell
    Player’s forename(s) Owen
    Player’s date of birth 24 September 1991
    Referee’s name Nika Amashukeli
    Foul play ☒ Admitted ☐ Not admitted
    Red card warranted ☐ Admitted ☒ Not admitted
    Offence Breach of Law 9.13
    A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes but is not limited to tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.
    SELECT: Red card ☒ Citing ☐ Other ☐
    If “Other” selected, please specify:
    Summary of sanction
    Not applicable. Red Card dismissed.

    HEARING DETAILS
    Hearing date 15 August 2023 Hearing venue Zoom call
    Chairman/JO Adam Casselden SC
    Other members of Disciplinary Committee
    David Croft (ex-Australian player)
    John Langford (ex-Australian player)
    Appearance Player Yes ☒ No ☐ Appearance
    Player’s union Yes ☒ No ☐
    Player’s representative(s) Richard Smith KC Disciplinary Officer
    and/or other attendees Belinda Armstrong Alice O’Callaghan
    List of documents/ materials provided to Player in advance of hearing
    Referee Report
    TMO Report
    FPRO Report
    Video footage of the incident captured from different angles and at different speeds
    Statement - Taine Basham, Wales #20
    Statement - Dr Geoff Davies, Wales Team Doctor
    Emails 14.08.2023 Martyn Williams, Wales Team Manager
    Player’s response to standing directions

    SNS23 Disciplinary Decision Page 2 of 7
    SUMMARY OF ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF CITING/REFEREE’S REPORT/INCIDENT FOOTAGE
    Introduction
    The Judicial Committee convened a hearing to consider the Red Card issued to the Player in a match
    played between England and Wales on Saturday, 12 August 2023 at Twickenham, England.
    The Player (E10) received a Yellow Card in the 63rd minute of the match for an alleged offence under Law
    9.13 for a high tackle on Wales #20 (W20) which made direct contact with W20’s head. The Referee gave
    the Player a Yellow Card and referred the incident to the Foul Play Review Officer (FPRO) under the FPRO
    Protocol.
    The FPRO upgraded the Yellow Card to a Red Card on the basis that the incident gave rise to a “High
    degree of danger, no mitigation”. In the FPRO’s opinion, the Player effected a dangerous upright tackle
    on the ball carrier (W20) resulting in direct contact with the head whilst making no attempt to wrap with
    the arm that comes into contact with W20’s head. The FPRO when applying World Rugby’s Head Contact
    Process (HCP) deemed this to be a high level of danger without any mitigation and, therefore, determined
    that the Player’s actions should be upgraded to a Red Card.
    At the hearing the Player accepted that his conduct was contrary to Law 9.13 and, therefore, amounted
    to an act of Foul Play. The Player, however, did not accept that his act of Foul Play met the Red Card Test
    and contended that the decision by the FPRO to upgrade the Yellow Card to a Red Card was, on the
    balance of probabilities, wrong.
    When applying the HCP to his actions the Player accepted the first three questions of the HCP as follows:
    First, that head contact occurred between his right shoulder and W20’s head; Secondly, his actions
    amounted to an act of Foul Play in breach of Law 9.13; and Thirdly, the degree of danger was high
    warranting a red card.
    The Player advanced a case that when considering question 4 of the HCP that mitigating features were
    available to merit a reduction in the sanction from a red card to a yellow card. In support of that
    contention the player argued that there was a late change in the dynamics of the tackle resulting from
    contact between W20 and Jamie George (E2), which in turn resulted in a sudden and significant
    movement, a sudden and significant drop in W20’s head height, and a change in direction from W20.
    It was submitted by the Player that the availability of those factors, either individually or collectively,
    should have resulted in the reduction of the red card to a yellow card and that, therefore, on the balance
    of probabilities, the issuing of the Red Card to the Player was wrong.
    Given the Player’s concessions, the central issue for determination by the Judicial Committee was
    whether, on the balance of probabilities, the FPRO was wrong, by not applying any mitigation under the
    HCP to reduce the high degree of danger to a level below the Red Card Test. This was a difficult question
    to resolve in the circumstances of this case and the evidence was finely balanced as to the correct
    outcome.
    SNS23 Disciplinary Decision Page 3 of 7
    For reasons that follow, the Judicial Committee concluded that the FPRO was wrong, on the balance of
    probabilities, to upgrade the yellow card issued to the player to a red card. The Judicial Committee
    determined, when applying the HCP, that mitigation should be applied to the high degree of danger
    found by the FPRO. The Judicial Committee found that there was a late change in the dynamics due
    to E2’s interactions in the contact area with the W20 (ball carrier) which brought about a sudden and
    significant change in direction from W20. In the Judicial Committee’s opinion, this mitigation was
    sufficient to bring the Player’s act of foul play below the Red Card Test.
    FPRO Report
    The FPRO’s decision to upgrade the Yellow Card to a Red Card was recorded on the FPRO Report as “High
    degree of danger, no mitigation”. The basis of that decision was recorded in the following terms:
    “The player goes into the tackle upright. He makes direct contact with the head whilst making no attempt
    to wrap with the arm that he makes contact with. I deemed this to be a high level of danger and did not see
    any mitigation.”
    Evidence of other Match Officials
    The Referee provided a short Referee Report for the Yellow Card he issued to the Player as follows:
    “England N10 made a high tackle on his opponent, the action was deemed a foul play because he was
    upright and made direct contact with the head. I gave him a yellow card and sent incident for the off field
    review.”
    The TMO provided a short report in the following terms:
    “I alerted the referee to a possible head contact in tackle by E10. The player goes into the tackle upright.
    He makes direct contact with the head. After on field review the player was issued with a YC as the
    minimum threshold for YC was met and it was referred to the TMO Bunker for further review.”
    Video Footage
    The video footage shows that immediately before contact between the Player and W20, there is contact
    between E2 and W20. That clear contact is W20 pushing off against E2 with his left hand (a fend) and E2
    pushing W20 with his right hand, and to a lesser extent his left hand (to attempt a tackle), which results
    in W20 stumbling and losing his balance. This dynamic interaction causes a sudden and significant change
    in direction from W20 as his initial running line is altered as he is now propelled on a pronounced angle
    to his right as he approaches the Player: see NL Touch c2.34 mins; NL Corner c3.34 mins; and Try Line
    Right c8.05 (all in Hawkeye (HE) full speed video). Note the angled deviation by W20 from one side of the
    5m line to the other in the video footage. As W20 comes into contact with the Player there is some
    lowering of his body. However, we do not consider this to be a sudden and significant drop in W20’s body
    height for the purpose of applying mitigation under the HCP.
    Prior to contact between W20 and E2, the Player is seen to take up a position consistent with him
    preparing to cover W11 on the wing should W20 off load the ball to him. When W20 throws a successful
    dummy pass to his right to deceive E18, whilst at the same time stepping off his right foot, the Player is
    seen to quickly adjust back to his right by stepping off his left foot.
    SNS23 Disciplinary Decision Page 4 of 7
    Before W20’s contact with E2, the Player is positioned to make a legal tackle on W20 on his initial running
    line. That tackle would be on the right side of W20 and also on the Player’s right side. The Player’s knees
    and hips are bent: see NR Corner (HE 50% speed) c0.49; and Lower Tight (HE full speed) c1.34 mins.
    From our observations of the video footage as a result of W20’s contact with E2, W20’s initial running line
    is suddenly and significantly altered (with very little notice to the Player) which results in W20 arriving
    into the contact with the Player at an angle (moving from W20’s left to right). This is demonstrated by
    W20 spinning to his right out of the tackle and is consistent with the changed angle of approach by reason
    of E2’s interactions. This late change in the dynamics denied the Player both the time and space to adjust
    to avoid head contact with W20. What we have described above took place in less than a second.
    ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF OTHER EVIDENCE (e.g. medical reports)
    Evidence of Dr Davies
    The Wales Team Doctor, Dr Geoff Davies provided a medical report confirming that initially W20 seemed
    fine on the field with no obvious symptoms or signs of concussion or any facial fractures. However, due
    to the mechanism of injury as seen during video replays it was deemed appropriate (in consultation with
    the Match Day Doctor) to remove W20 from the field of play for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA). W20
    failed this assessment and was therefore unable to return to the field of play. W20 underwent a further
    HIA on Monday, 14 August 2023 and was cleared to play this coming weekend.
    Evidence of Taine Basham (W20)
    Taine Basham, W20 provided a short statement to the effect that he carried the ball into contact down
    the right hand side of the pitch and as he got tackled he took a shoulder to the head from the Player, E10.
    SUMMARY OF PLAYER’S EVIDENCE
    The Player’s oral evidence was broadly consistent with the video footage. He said that after W20 turned
    E18 around with his dummy pass he set himself for contact that would give himself enough space to his
    right to effect a good (legal) tackle on W20’s right hand side. He did not anticipate or foresee that W20
    and E2 would get involved with each other whereby W20 would be propelled sideways (across/diagonally)
    and towards him. He said when W20 was propelled across and towards him he did not have enough time
    and space to try and get his head out of the way. He said the position of his head was a subconscious
    reaction to W20’s body being propelled across him. The Player gave his evidence in a measured and
    thoughtful manner. He was a matter of fact witness. We accept his account as it accords with our
    observations of the video footage.
    FINDINGS OF FACT
    Regulation 17
    Set out below are the applicable regulations relevant to this matter.
    Regulation 17.15.1 provides that “the standard of proof for all matters under Regulation 17 shall be on
    the balance of probabilities.”
    SNS23 Disciplinary Decision Page 5 of 7
    Regulation 17.15.3 provides that “At first instance disciplinary hearings, in the event that the Player does
    not accept that the act(s) of Foul Play which is the subject of the disciplinary hearing warranted the Player
    being Ordered Off or cited, the burden of proof rests on the Player to show that the referee/citing
    commissioner was wrong.”
    Regulation 17.16.1 relevantly provides that “The Disciplinary Committee shall first determine whether or
    not the relevant act(s) of Foul Play warranted the Player being Ordered Off or should have resulted in the
    Player being Ordered Off.”
    Under Regulation 17.16.1(b) the Player may “deny that the act(s) of Foul Play warranted the Player being
    Ordered Off or cited in which case, the Player may seek to show that the decision of the referee or Citing
    Commissioner was wrong. The Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer may review the decision of the
    referee or Citing Commissioner and the circumstances surrounding it. In any such case, the Disciplinary
    Committee or Judicial Officer shall not make a finding contrary to the decision of the referee or Citing
    Commissioner unless they are satisfied, on the balance of probabilities that the decision of the referee or
    Citing Commissioner was wrong. In a case where a Player has been cited, the Disciplinary Committee or
    Judicial Officer may take account of any action taken during the Match in respect of the alleged Foul Play
    by the Match Officials and may review the referee’s decision and the circumstances surrounding it and
    may make a finding contrary to the referee’s decision.”
    Decision
    Did the Player’s act of Foul Play meet the Red Card Test?
    To answer that question the Judicial Committee applied the HCP. The HCP is a Law Application Guideline
    designed to aid consistency in the application of sanctions by providing guidance on how contact with the
    head should be approached by match officials and disciplinary personnel. When applying the HCP it is to
    be borne in mind that match officials and disciplinary personnel are required to consider a number of
    questions to determine the most appropriate sanction for the alleged Foul Play involving head contact.
    Coming now to the application of the HCP to the facts of this case. When applying the HCP to his actions
    the Player, to his credit, accepted the first three questions of the HCP as follows: First, that head contact
    occurred between his right shoulder and W20’s head; Secondly, his actions amounted to an act of Foul
    Play in breach of Law 9.13; and Thirdly, the degree of danger was high warranting a red card.
    In the Judicial Committee’s opinion, the Player was wise to make those concessions. There was
    undoubtedly direct contact between the Player’s right shoulder to the head of W20. The Player was
    clearly in breach of Law 9.13 by performing a dangerous upright tackle on W20. The Player was at fault as
    he performed a reckless tackle on W20 resulting in direct contact with his right shoulder and the head of
    W20. The Judicial Committee agrees with the FPRO and the Player that the degree of danger was high as
    there was direct contact with the head of W20 with a sufficient degree of force.
    SNS23 Disciplinary Decision Page 6 of 7
    Having found that the degree of danger was high the Judicial Committee was then required, under the
    HCP, to consider whether there was any mitigation to reduce the high degree of danger which warrants a
    red card to a level below the Red Card Test.
    The HCP provides guidance as to what may be considered as mitigation. Pursuant to the HCP “Process
    questions and considerations” a “sudden and significant drop or movement” may be considered as
    mitigation. Further, the HCP “Trigger words for match officials” provides a non-exhaustive list of trigger
    words for match officials to help them identify whether any mitigation should be applied. Under the
    section headed “Mitigation” the following, relevant to this incident, appears:
     Sudden/significant drop in height or change in direction from ball carrier
     A late change in dynamics due to another player in the contact area
     No time to adjust
    After careful analysis the Judicial Committee determined that there was, in this case, mitigating features
    present to reduce the degree of danger down to a point below the Red Card Test. Contrary to the
    assessment by the FPRO we found, on balance, that there was mitigation present in this case.
    In our respectful opinion the FPRO was in error by omitting to consider the late change in dynamics due
    to E2’s interactions in the contact area with W20 which, in our opinion, brought about a sudden and
    significant change in direction of W20 (the ball carrier). This late change in the dynamics denied the Player
    both the time and space to adjust to avoid head contact with W20. In our opinion, it would be placing an
    unreasonable burden on the Player to expect him to anticipate, foresee or predict, in the limited time
    available to him, this late change in dynamics. But for the interactions between W20 and E2 we are of
    the opinion that the Player had enough time and space to execute a legal tackle on W20. This, in our
    opinion, is a sufficient mitigating feature in the Player’s offending to bring the level of danger down to a
    point below the Red Card Test. The Player’s act of Foul Play was not intentional or always illegal to deny
    him the benefit of this mitigation.
    Therefore, having regard to the totality of the evidence before us we are satisfied, on the balance of
    probabilities, that the decision of the FPRO to upgrade the Yellow Card to a Red Card was wrong.
    Accordingly, the Red Card is dismissed and the Player is free to resume playing rugby immediately.
    In reaching the above conclusion, it is important to record, that no criticism is made of the FPRO nor, in
    our opinion, would any be warranted. Unlike the FPRO we had the luxury of time to deliberate and
    consider, in private, the incident and the proper application of the HCP. In contrast, the FPRO was
    required to make his decision in a matter of minutes without the benefit of all the relevant material
    including, importantly, hearing from the Player and his legal representative.
    DECISION
    Foul play Admitted ☒ Determined ☐ Not determined ☐ Other disposal (please
    state) ☐
    SNS23 Disciplinary Decision Page 7 of 7
    Red card warranted Admitted ☐ Determined ☐ Not determined ☒ Other disposal (please
    state) ☐
    Signature
    (JO or Chairman)
    Adam Casselden SC
    ________________________________
    Date 16 August 2023
    __________________

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    Last edited by Tazzmania; 18-08-23 at 08:41.
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  3. #3
    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    World Rugby had to appeal, firstly because if this decision stands it bins everything they've done about player safety in the past 3 or 4 years.

    Secondly if the decision stands it would be used as a precedent at every tribunal until the end of time.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    World Rugby had to appeal, firstly because if this decision stands it bins everything they've done about player safety in the past 3 or 4 years.

    Secondly if the decision stands it would be used as a precedent at every tribunal until the end of time.
    True. But the biggest reason may be the legal one. If they don't appeal this it will be harder to fight damages suits. It could even encourage past players who've stated they don't blame anyone to change their stance. OTOH they could present this as evidence in defence.

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    I do not want to get into a debate about whether he should be banned or not, all I want to do is raise something that concerns me.

    We appear to have some very "ängry" people involved in our game that weaponise social media to get their view points across. When did we get so many ängry" people involved in our game?

    Our game is intrinsically a 20th century game trying to exist in the 21st century with its different expecations.

    The decision whether right or wrong to appeal seems to smacks of mob justice, where the loudest voices in the room are being heard irrespective of whether they are right or wrong.

    Imagine if the ruling party of a country was swayed by the angry social media "mob" to appeal any courts ruling that they did not like, how would that sit.

    Just my concern that in too many instances in the world today the loudest voices seem to have more sway than the silent majority.

    Thats my rant over about the state of the world.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Every sport, government, corporation, citizen organisation or religion now lives in that reality and it is just going to become ever more invasive. Sadly, that is a reason I'm not totally depressed about being 70 rather than 7

    That's not to say that this pressure is the main motivator for the appeal.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    So what happens now to Billy Vunipola? There was a significant drop by the ball carrier. Maybe hire the same lawyer - can Tonga afford him to appeal Moala's penalty?

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    England dealt World Cup blow as Farrell red card upheld
    Staff Writers
    Reuters
    August 23, 2023 4:09AM


    Owen Farrell will miss the first two matches of the Rugby World Cup after an independent disciplinary hearing upheld his red card, handing the England captain a four-match suspension.

    England's 29-10 loss to Ireland on Saturday served as the first match of his suspension, and he will also sit out the final warm-up fixture against Fiji this coming weekend.

    He will then miss the Pool D fixtures against Argentina and Japan.

    Farrell faced a second disciplinary panel after World Rugby appealed against the decision to downgrade the his red card to yellow for a dangerous tackle on Wales loose-forward Taine Basham during England's 19-17 warm-up win on August 12.

    Last week, the judicial committee verdict that there were mitigating circumstances in the collision, in which his shoulder struck the head of Basham, caused an uproar among pundits and former players, as well as player welfare advocates.

    The hearing panel on Tuesday said the committee was "manifestly wrong" in its verdict as they did not consider that Farrell had not attempted to wrap his arms in the tackle, and therefore it was always illegal.

    No mitigating circumstances could therefore be applied.

    England face another anxious wait over the fate of the only specialist No.8 in the World Cup squad, Billy Vunipola, who received a red card against Ireland.

    https://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/ru...eld-c-11674779

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Interesting outcome:

    "The hearing panel on Tuesday said the committee was "manifestly wrong" in its verdict as they did not consider that Farrell had not attempted to wrap his arms in the tackle, and therefore it was always illegal.

    No mitigating circumstances could therefore be applied."

    Just my thought not my view point below:

    Plenty red cards coming if an illegal tackle can no longer have mitigating cirumstances, takes away a lot of escape routes. Time to accelerate the amount of training with thirteen and fourteen against fifteen.

    You get it wrong you are gone, no time for mistakes

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    From another article I read this morning:

    Name:  IMG_2157.jpg
Views: 731
Size:  60.8 KB

    "Good character" sees his suspension watered down from 6 weeks to 4 weeks.

    Awfully convenient that there's a World Cup starting in 2 weeks.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzmania View Post

    No mitigating circumstances could therefore be applied."

    Just my thought not my view point below:

    Plenty red cards coming if an illegal tackle can no longer have mitigating cirumstances, takes away a lot of escape routes.
    That's not exactly how I read it. They put it down to not attempting to wrap arms. I was under the impression that applies to judging a shoulder charge. Seems like they were scrambling for an out and just chucked that one up. I thought they could have just said Farrell was upright in the tackle and made not enough effort to lower to a safer position. End of story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    From another article I read this morning:

    Name:  IMG_2157.jpg
Views: 731
Size:  60.8 KB

    "Good character" sees his suspension watered down from 6 weeks to 4 weeks.

    Awfully convenient that there's a World Cup starting in 2 weeks.
    Good character??? What a crock - the guy is a _____. well, I don't l like to use that sort of language in mixed company.

    His tackling technique has always been questionable. And would be a serious problem if he had a bigger build.

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    Good character??? What a crock - the guy is a _____. well, I don't l like to use that sort of language in mixed company.

    His tackling technique has always been questionable. And would be a serious problem if he had a bigger build.
    "Good character" obviously includes players who repeatedly fail to lower their tackle height and has liberal use of shoulder-charging.

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    https://youtu.be/6gDtmZEpJxA

    Is Owen Farrell a Protected Species?

    Right at the end the Referee says - Well your player dropped his shoulder, Hooper responded with he is allowed to - he is the ball carrier.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

    Exile
    Sydney


    "Pain heels. Chicks dig scars and Glory lasts forever." Shane Falco

  15. #15
    Player
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    perth
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    All English rugby players are of good character…..? Surely

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!

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