Russia and Samoa are currently going head-to-head in Pool A at the Rugby World Cup and the game has been as physical as the fixture would suggest.
Samoa took an early lead with a try from Alapati Leiu, however, their lack of discipline has been the story of the half and Russia soon replied with a penalty from fly-half Yury Kushnarev before he added another minutes later.
The major talking point in the first half came in the 27th minute when Samoa’s Rey Lee-Lo collided with Russia full-back Vasily Artemyev. Lee-Lo clearly caught the Russian livewire in the head with his shoulder which is a red card offence as outlined by referee, Romain Poite.
However, during the consultation with his TMO Graham Hughes, mitigating circumstances came to light that Artemyev dipped his head into the tackle by a couple of inches and Lee-Lo escaped with a yellow card.
28 Yellow Card!
Is Rey Lee-Lo lucky that it is not red? The ball carrier dipping slightly is the big mitigating factor.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) September 24, 2019
Less than two minutes later, another incident occurred and it was Artemyev who was on the receiving end of a big hit once again.
This time, it was the Samoan hooker Motu Matu’u who caught the Russian’s head with his shoulder but Matu’u appeared to knock himself out in the process. Poite again sought out his TMO and eventually decided on the same mitigating circumstances and dished out another yellow to the hooker.
Issues of high tackles have been prominent during the opening games in this Rugby World Cup. During the meeting of Australia and Fiji, Reece Hodge appeared to hit Peceli Yato in the head in a ‘no arms’ tackle but the officials on the day saw no problems with the clash. Hodge has since been cited and will face a disciplinary panel later this week.
Earlier today, World Rugby issued a statement criticizing the inconsistencies during the opening round of the tournament but promised a higher standard from now on.