One of the main talking points to come out of Ireland’s loss at Twickenham a week and a half ago was James Haskell’s late tackle on Conor Murray. To their credit, the officials probably were bang on the money in issuing the English backrow a yellow card.
However, while the several replays showed it up to be quite a gruesome challenge, Haskell has argued that such tackles look a lot worse in slow motion.
In an interview with The Independent today, Haskell stated that he felt the rules are beginning to be over-applied by the officials.
“I didn’t think it merited a yellow card.
“I admit I went higher than usual – probably because I was on the back foot and couldn’t go for the kind of leg-height tackle I always prefer – but I actually pulled out of the contact, while Conor eased into it and got up straight away.
“If I’d gone through with it, there really would have been trouble
“But more than that, I believe 100 per cent that such incidents should not be played on the big screen in slow motion. These things always look worse on slo-mo because you see the head flying back in close-up and all the rest of it.
“I think the crowd needs to be taken out of the equation: rather than make a huge spectacle of it, the officials should go to the side of the field and review it on their own, in real time. I don’t know who runs the system, but turning it into a circus is not constructive.”
While his tackle was undoubtedly late and high, he may have a point about the crowd being shown the replays of such incidents, and their reaction may have an impact on the referee’s decision.
However, the flip side of that argument is that incidents like the Mike Brown kick on Conor Murray need to be examined to determine if there was any malice involved. On that occasion, the officials were able to take a look and came to the conclusion that Brown was going for the ball.
James Haskell said that he will have to be more careful when facing Wales this weekend.
“Did I make a note after Ireland to give my tackling more consideration, to adjust my height going into contact? That’s what I took away from the game. I don’t want to do things that put the team under pressure.”