Sam Warburton has called for wrestling-style suplexes to be completely taken out of rugby after an incident with Sharks winger Werner Kok.
During Bordeaux Begles’ Heineken Champions Cup encounter with the Sharks, Kok made the interesting decision to suplex Jean-Baptiste Dubie to prevent him from competing for the ball at a ruck.
Dubie was relatively unharmed, as he landed on his back, although lifting a player above the horizontal is considered to be dangerous play and Kok was shown a yellow card for his actions.
Former Wales captain Sam Warburton, who knows a thing or two about tip tackles, called for the admittedly rare incident to be eradicated from the game on BT Sport.
Sam Warburton on Werner Kok’s suplex.
“This is wild. Werner Kok is a really abrasive player and he hits everything at 100 miles per hour,” Warburton said.
“But this, when these sort of things happen they initiate a rule change, but to be honest I didn’t think a player would think of suplexing a player 180 degrees over his head to get rid of him.
“It ended up as a yellow card, it could have easily have been a red and you couldn’t argue. But you think moving forward that’s just got to be completely taken out of the game, because that could end up quite nasty. But luckily he was okay.”
Werner Kok? Or is it @TripleH? 🤔
“I didn’t think a player would think of suplexing a player 180° over his head to get rid of him.”
We’re still dumfounded by this! 🤯#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/T1tFMVXFKy
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 21, 2022
The breakdown continues to be a dangerous area of the game.
Rugby is naturally a dangerous sport with heavy collisions, although the breakdown in particular is a significant source of foul play and injury.
While it is rare for a player to be suplexed at the breakdown, contact with the head and injuries to limbs are more common as players put themselves in vulnerable positions when competing for the ball.
There is no easy answer on how to make the breakdown safer, although an increase in red cards being shown for dangerous play does not seem to have the desired effect thus far.
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