World Rugby Clarify Their Stance On Challenges In The Air Following France Red Card

Correct call.

World Rugby has clarified its stance on challenges in the air following a controversial red card to France fullback Benjamin Fall during Les Blues’ 26-14 loss to the All Blacks in Wellington last Saturday.

The red card has since been rescinded by an independent judicial committee, but World Rugby says the correct protocol was followed by referee Angus Garnder on the day.

All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett landed heavily and on his head following a challenge by Fall, resulting in him being unable to continue. But upon closer inspection, it was determined Fall was pushed off balance by an All Black in the lead up to the challenge – something Gardner would have perhaps been unable to see.

“The match official team followed the guidelines correctly and made a decision based on the available camera angles,” the statement read.

“Only during the subsequent review by an independent judicial panel, when additional camera angles were made available, was it determined that Benjamin Fall was knocked off balance immediately prior to the challenge and therefore the red card was dismissed.”

World Rugby also reaffirmed it stance in dealing with instances when two players are challenging for a ball in the air:

– If a player is not in a realistic position to gather the ball, there is contact and their opponent lands on their back or side – yellow card.

– If a player is not in a realistic position to gather the ball, there is reckless or deliberate foul play and the player lands in a dangerous position – red card.

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