As the summer tours approach, it’s not just the likes of England, Ireland and Wales that are trying to pick out the biggest and best players for the squad.
Down south the competition among Super Rugby players is equally high with each one out to impress not only with their try and penalty kicking prowess but also their ferocity and tackling skills.
The problem with the eagerness to impress is that sometimes it can spill over into the realms of recklessness. This is just what happened to All Black hot prospect Charlie Ngatai.
The Chiefs midfielder has been tearing up the Super Rugby series this season and looks set to become the All Blacks replacement for Ma’a Nonu. However he grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the Chiefs weekend clash with the Highlanders as he tackled flanker Elliot Dixon as the Highlander jumped for a high ball.
The result saw Dixon cartwheeling backwards and landing heavily on his back, a similar incident that saw Highlander Jason Emery being sent off for tipping up Sharks fullback Willie le Roux a fortnight ago.
Following consultation with his TMO, who recommended a straight red card, referee Angus Gardner over ruled the video ref and cautioned the Chiefs centre with a mere yellow card.
Here’s the incident, via HolyRuckRugby.com. Decide for yourself whether a yellow card was the right call.
After the game Highlanders No.10 Lima Sopoaga, another Kiwi chasing an All Blacks call up, suggested that while Ngatai showed remorse for the tackle, there appeared to be inconsistencies with the manner in which such incidents are refereed since his teammate was shown a straight red for a similar incident only two weeks ago.
Speaking the local media station Newstalk ZB, Sopoaga said,
“You saw the remorse…(but) there was similar one a few weeks back and (the Highlanders) got a red. Maybe there could have been a red. If you are judging it on Jason Emery maybe the consistency wasn’t there. It’s all good, Elliott wasn’t hurt.”
Take a look at the Emery incident here and compare for yourself. On review, they certainly do appear to be very similar incidents.
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