World Rugby Has Some Serious Explaining To Do Following These Four November Incidents

Consistency and clarity.

The November window is officially over and what a window it was. Ireland defeated the All Blacks, England got back on track, Fiji stunned France and Wales completed their first ever Autumn clean sweep.

As far as the rugby itself goes it was a hugely successful and entertaining month, but we can’t help but have a bit of a bitter taste in our mouth as a result of a number of controversial incidents that were not handled correctly.

I’m sure there was plenty of more (unfortunately) before people start highlighting any other ones, but in this article I’m going to focus in on the four most contentious ones.

And just to clear up the citing process before I go any further and we get some ignorant comments. If a player escapes a ban it does not mean they have been cleared. All it means is the incident does not warrant a red card. Please understand this. It does not mean it wasn’t a penalty or yellow card offence.

Owen Farrell’s tackle on Andre Esterhuizen.
Perhaps the biggest and most talked about incident this month, Farrell is a very lucky man and without doubt should have been penalised. Referee on the day Angus Gardner has since come out and stated he got it wrong, but I’m sorry – that’s simply not good enough. To most people it was pretty clear and obvious. It was a penalty. Whether or not it was something more is irrelevant. It was a penalty, and it cost South Africa a very kickable shot at goal that would have won them the game. Officials have to get these decisions right. Especially when it’s a game decider. Imagine this happened in a Rugby World Cup knockout game? We need clarity and consistency in the tackle area before Japan comes around.

Samuel Kerevi hit on Leigh Halfpenny.
Another tackle that World Rugby has clearly previously stated is not permitted in the modern game somehow goes unpunished. Referee Ben O’Keefe on the day said that because it was not deliberate, Kerevi should not be punished.

But World Rugby have already explained this and laid the directives out? You are responsible as the tackler, whether it is deliberate or not. If the challenge is reckless and makes contact with the head, which is clearly was and did – you must be punished. Halfpenny suffered a severe concussion as a result of this hit and missed the rest of Wales’ Autumn series. Once again – it’s just not good enough.

Siya Kolisi headbutt on Peter Horne.
This is another crazy one. Not only was this not picked up on the day, but the Springboks captain was cleared by the citing committee. World Rugby said the incident “falls just short of a red card.”

A clear headbutt to the face falls short of a red card? Are you serious? Have we all gone mad or something? If this falls short we want an explanation from the governing body as to how they reached this decision. And don’t give me any of this “he shouldn’t have held him” nonsense.

Farrell tackle on Izack Rodda.
They say you learn from your mistakes. Not World Rugby. After completely bottling the Farrell tackle in the Springboks game, they somehow let him get away with an even worse one in the Australia Test. A blatant no-arms shoulder high hit that prevents a certain try. Penalty try and yellow card. It’s very simple, and pretty much everyone has agreed that should have been the outcome.

Jaco Peyper’s explanation to Wallabies captain Michael Hooper as to why he got away with it? Rodda led and dipped his shoulder in the carry… Sorry what? Are you serious? What at load of complete and utter bollox. Once again, please explain this World Rugby. We’re itching to know.

These are just four incidents that completely lack consistency and are void of any clarity. It’s frustrating, it’s confusing and it is hurting our game. We’re approaching a Rugby World Cup year and it feels like rugby is going backwards in terms of officiating.

Get it sorted World Rugby. Before Japan becomes an embarrassment.