The Rugby World Cup has seen its fair share of high-tackle controversies, and England’s coach, Steve Borthwick, isn’t shying away from voicing his concerns about World Rugby’s handling of these incidents. In a tournament already rife with drama, Borthwick has raised questions about the consistency and transparency of World Rugby’s approach to high tackles.
One of the most talked-about incidents was the red card shown to England’s captain, Owen Farrell, during a warm-up match against Wales on August 12. Initially, referee Nika Amashukeli gave Farrell a yellow card, but this decision was later reviewed and escalated to a red card by the foul play review official, part of the ‘bunker’ system. This contentious decision led to a four-match ban for Farrell, and World Rugby was notably vocal about it.
However, since then, several other players from different teams have found themselves embroiled in high-tackle controversies. France’s Romain Taofifenua, New Zealand’s Ethan de Groot, Chile’s Martin Sigren, and South Africa’s Jesse Kriel have all had their moments in the spotlight, raising questions about the consistency of officiating.
Borthwick pointed out the disparity in World Rugby’s response to these incidents compared to the prolonged commentary surrounding Farrell’s case. He stated, “I have noted the large amount of commentary from different sources about what appears to be a lack of consistency and a lack of transparency around the decision-making process.”
It’s worth noting that Farrell has yet to play in the World Cup due to his suspension, while other players involved in similar incidents have faced different outcomes. This discrepancy in sanctions has ignited a debate in the rugby community.
One notable instance was France’s Taofifenua, who received only a yellow card for a high tackle against Uruguay. This decision left many questioning whether there were enough mitigating factors to avoid a red card, and whether mitigation should even apply in such cases.
The issue at the heart of these debates is the interpretation of high tackles. Officials are mandated to send off players who make high tackles without making a legitimate attempt to wrap their arms around the opponent. In Farrell’s case, the decision was made that he didn’t attempt to ‘wrap’ his arms around his opponent, leading to his suspension.
Other instances, such as New Zealand’s De Groot being shown red against Namibia, Chile’s Sigren receiving a yellow card against Japan, and South Africa’s Kriel going unpunished for a tackle on Scotland’s Jack Dempsey, have raised further scrutiny.
England, in particular, has had its share of red cards in recent games, though one of these, Freddie Steward’s dismissal against Ireland, was later rescinded. Borthwick, however, is keen to stress that these red cards are isolated incidents and not indicative of a lack of discipline within the team.
“If you are talking about discipline, we gave seven penalties away last week [against Argentina], so this is a disciplined team,” he emphasized. “What we have had are incidents that have meant cards have been issued against our team, and we want 15 players on the pitch. That is very important.”
Despite the challenges and controversies, Borthwick expressed his gratitude for the unwavering support of England’s fans, particularly during the recent red card incident involving Tom Curry against Argentina. He praised the fans for stepping up and becoming the team’s “15th player.”
Borthwick also has a special connection with Japan, having served as the forwards coach for their national team between 2012 and 2015. He acknowledges Japan as a unique and formidable team, highlighting their exceptional ball movement and their ability to test opponents in unconventional ways.
As the Rugby World Cup continues to unfold, the debate over high tackles and their consequences is sure to keep fans and experts engaged. World Rugby’s approach to these incidents will undoubtedly be under the microscope, and coaches like Steve Borthwick will continue to question and scrutinize the decisions made on the field. Rugby enthusiasts can only hope for a fair and consistent application of the rules as the tournament progresses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup high tackles
Q: What led to Owen Farrell’s suspension during the Rugby World Cup?
A: Owen Farrell’s suspension during the Rugby World Cup stemmed from a high tackle incident during a warm-up match against Wales. Initially, he was shown a yellow card by referee Nika Amashukeli, but this decision was reviewed and escalated to a red card by the foul play review official. The controversy surrounding this incident resulted in Farrell receiving a four-match ban.
Q: How has England coach Steve Borthwick reacted to the high-tackle controversies in the tournament?
A: Steve Borthwick, the coach of the England rugby team, has raised concerns about the consistency and transparency of World Rugby’s approach to high tackles during the Rugby World Cup. He noted that while there was significant commentary and discussion around Owen Farrell’s red card, other high-tackle incidents involving different players received less attention from World Rugby.
Q: What is the key issue in the debate over high tackles in rugby?
A: The central issue in the debate over high tackles in rugby revolves around the interpretation of the rules regarding high tackles. Officials are obliged to send off players who make high tackles without a legitimate attempt to wrap their arms around the opponent. The level of consistency in applying this rule and the presence of mitigating factors in certain incidents have been points of contention.
Q: How has England’s team discipline been during the Rugby World Cup?
A: England’s team discipline during the Rugby World Cup has been a subject of discussion. While they have faced several red cards in recent games, including one that was later rescinded, coach Steve Borthwick emphasizes that these red cards are isolated incidents and should not be taken as indicative of a lack of discipline within the team. He points out that the team aims to have 15 players on the pitch at all times.
Q: What role have England’s fans played in supporting the team during challenging moments?
A: England’s fans have played a crucial role in supporting the team during challenging moments, such as red card incidents. Coach Steve Borthwick praised the fans for their unwavering support, referring to them as the team’s “15th player.” Their vocal support has been instrumental in boosting team morale during difficult situations.
Q: What is Steve Borthwick’s connection to Japan and how does he view their team?
A: Steve Borthwick has a special connection to Japan, having served as the forwards coach for their national team between 2012 and 2015. He holds Japan in high regard, describing them as a unique and formidable team. He acknowledges their exceptional ball movement and their ability to test opponents in unconventional ways, making them a challenging opponent in the Rugby World Cup.
More about Rugby World Cup high tackles
- [Owen Farrell’s Red Card Incident](Link to relevant news article)
- [Steve Borthwick’s Comments on High Tackles](Link to relevant news article)
- [World Rugby’s High Tackle Rules](Link to official World Rugby rules)
- [England’s Recent Red Card Incidents](Link to relevant news article)
- [Role of England’s Fans in Supporting the Team](Link to relevant news article)
- [Steve Borthwick’s Connection to Japan](Link to relevant news article)