Rugby’s new tackle laws appear to be taking their toll, as players struggle to adapt to their interpretation.
On Friday night Ulster’s Sean Reidy was sent to the sin bin following a high challenge on Scarlets’ scrum half Aled Davis. While the referee was right to sanction the Irish flanker, it was hard not to feel a degree of sympathy for him as Davis had lowered his body position before going into contact.
Indeed, if anything Andrew Trimble’s flailing arm in the same exchange was arguably more dangerous than Reidy’s arm wrap.
The game between Saracens and the Exeter Chiefs has also seen a similar incident, where two players made contact with an opponents head/neck.
In this instance, it was Geoff Parling who lowered his body position as he carried the ball into contact where he was met by Saracens captain Brad Barritt.
Like with Trimble, it was a flailing arm that made the initial contact, but Barritt likewise survived. Instead it was Richard Barrington who received his marching orders after Parling’s angle of descension took him into contact with the prop’s shoulder.
Like Reidy for Ulster, Barrington was unlucky as Parling’s body position made it difficult for him to make any other form of challenge. Indeed, if anything, there was probably more intent in Barritt’s original tackle.
In any event, it looks like chaos will reign until either players get accustomed to the new laws, or World Rugby relaxes them somewhat.
Despite being forced off on a stretcher, Parling returned to the bench later in the game.
Barrington red carded, Barritt avoids sanction. pic.twitter.com/HtSJwe9Y7n
— The Pen (@thepenGW) January 7, 2017
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s Oval Office Podcast we look at Leicester Tigers’ options and discuss Johnny Sexton’s potential Lions tour.