Keep foul play out the game

Daily Dispatch - - Opinion -

The Boks will face France on their end-of-year rugby tour on this week­end and if past bat­tles be­tween th­ese na­tions are any­thing to go by then South Africa stands a good chance of win­ning.

The stats may favour South Africa who have won 26 of the 43 Tests they have played against France - who only notched 11 vic­to­ries. Six of the games were played to a draw.

But rugby is not played based on statis­tics and the last time the sides met the Boks se­cured a nar­row 18-17 win. This may give a sign that it will not be an easy day at the of­fice in Paris.

No doubt the na­tions will be look­ing be­yond the out­come, with their their sights firmly set on the Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan next year.

Rassie Eras­mus would love to see his men up their game and not frit­ter their chances as they did against Eng­land in Twick­en­ham last week­end.

France, with their open run­ning play, will give the Bok camp a run for their money.

Rugby is also a con­tact sport and we should ex­pect some bonecrunch­ing tack­les in a clash which will be fu­ri­ously con­tested. Hope­fully, we will not wit­ness an­other sham­bolic ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions as we did in the dy­ing mo­ments of the Test against Eng­land.

Aus­tralian ref­eree An­gus Gard­ner was roundly con­demned for not act­ing harshly against Eng­land for­ward Owen Farrell af­ter he shoul­der-tack­led An­dre Ester­huizen. His tackle was not only il­le­gal but it was also dan­ger­ous.

Rugby law makes it clear that “a player must not charge or knock down an op­po­nent car­ry­ing the ball with­out at­tempt­ing to grasp that player”.

Farrell did not do so and de­served sanc­tion – most prob­a­bly a ban.

That a ref­eree of Gard­ner’s ex­pe­ri­ence failed to act ap­pro­pri­ately is shock­ing.

What is even more wor­ry­ing is the si­lence from World Rugby, the gov­ern­ing body. There have been in­con­sis­ten­cies in ap­ply­ing the tackle law, with some play­ers slapped with match bans while the likes of Farrell got off scot-free.

This week Eras­mus jokeds that if that tackle was “le­gal” then the Boks could try it against op­po­nents.

This should not be con­doned by any­one as it may pave the way for life-threat­en­ing tack­les.

Ref­er­ees should be the first line of de­fence to en­sure play­ers are pro­tected and the poor de­ci­sions such as that dis­played by Gard­ner should be cen­sured.

Now that the world’s at­ten­tion is on rough-house tack­les, the Boks should tread care­fully they do no fall foul of the rules.

Hope­fully, we should not wit­ness an­other sham­bolic ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sion as we did in the Test against Eng­land

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