Sharks V. Reds - Injury Crisis? What Injury Crisis? - Green and Gold Rugby

Sharks V. Reds – Injury Crisis? What Injury Crisis?

Sharks V. Reds – Injury Crisis? What Injury Crisis?

The Reds are counting the cost and crossing their fingers after a brutal encounter with the sharks in South Africa. In a game marred by injury to both sides the Reds seemed to suffer the most with both flyhalf options injured before the fifty minute mark. Despite the rain and wind streaming across the ground both teams played open, positive attacking Rugby. But for the injury worries and the result I’m very please with the way the reds went into this game and how they toughed out the second half with a major backline reshuffle.

There will be talk in Australia about refereeing inconsistencies but anyone would be able to pick out moments in any game where referees miss infringements and this game was no exception. The important thing to remember is that over all the refereeing was even handed and fair. The positives for the Reds was the return to form of many players with Digby Ioane and Will Genia ( until his enforced move to 5/8) at the top of the list. Some of the attacking flow has returned with Ben lucas’s inclusion at 5/8 and Mike Harris looked more comfortable at inside centre. Ioane’s sinbinning for a lifting tackle was not unique this season but to many old timers there seems to be over cautious reaction to any tackled players feet leaving the ground.

Both teams will take a lot from this game. The Reds forwards for the most part stood up well to their South Afriacn counter parts. Greg Holmes had a huge game in his first start for a while. Scott Higgenbotham continued his great form this season and it’s interesting to note the lack of winger jokes attached to his name. The sharks are now well aware that they are up with the front runners in this competition. Their backrow of Alberts. Coetzee and Daniels are a world class unit and wouldn’t look out of place in South African colours and 5/8 Lambe continues to impress.


Sharks 27 (Keegan Daniel, Jan Andre Marais, Riaan Viljoen tries Patrick Lambie 3 cons 2 pen)


Reds 22 (Nick Frisby, James Hanson, Scott Higginbotham tries Michael Harris, Ben Lucas cons Lucas pen)


The Reds will be nervously waiting on news from Mike Harris with a twisted knee and Ben Lucas with what looked like a hamstring problem. Although both players walked off the field.

The Sharks lost JP Pieterson in the warm up. Jannie Du Plessis went off at the 30 minute mark with an unknown injury and didn’t return. Stephen Sykes Did a knee and left on the golf cart. Never a good sign. And they lost Wiehahn Herbst late in the match.


While the 13 unanswered point the Sharks scored around the half time mark had an impact on the game my moment came about 10 minutes after half time when Ben Lucas limped off the field. With Lucas gone the Reds had no backline General and no goal kicker. They would struggle to stay in touch from that moment on.


Higginbothim had a good match. Riaan Viljoen showed class. Ioane was everywhere but, Marcell Coetzee was EVERYWHERE. Big, fast and a destructive ball runner. Where do they keep finding them.


Sharks V. Reds

Too High?

Digby Ioane penalized, sin binned and now cited for a lifting tackle. How far should we be going with what even a few years ago was simple considered a good hard tackle? What do you think the penalty for this particular tackle should be? And do you think we have gone too far with the lifting tackle laws or not far enough. Be aware I believe that any resulting injury should have no bearing on the penalty. In other words it doesn’t matter how much you like or dislike the tackled player or if he was injured or not. The penalties should be the same. I look forward to the discussion.


Harris lucas hurt

Reds try everything to win

A Shark cruises past.

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  • Matt

    nothing wrong with the tackle… sideline ref should have just left it

    • Old Weary

      Kaplan said to the touchie that he didn’t see it… looking at the video looks pretty obvious he did…

      • Old Weary

        6 weeks.. is the min but very tough.

        I agree the tackle was bad, and that SANZAR is right to take a very hard line on any tackles that may be dangerous, but what annoyed me the most was a note in the review, where they seem to take into account the ‘injury’ that was received. Coetzee was obviously acting to get the point across – his neck doesn’t even hit the ground? Maybe the bruise came from the celebrating in the showers after.

        “I note that the Sharks player received attention on the field and continued
        to play. The medical information I received indicated that the Sharks
        player received bruising to his neck, although I do not have further
        information as to the precise cause or seriousness of this.” Mike Heron, SANZAR Judical Officer

  • Skip

    Can’t believe he was cited. Clearly a card was enough punishment & that was harsh. A letter reminding him to be careful and that this will be considered if he does a bad one would surely be enough.

    • A sign of the times Skip. Lots of players with similar tackles are being cited.

  • Country Kid

    In defence of Kaplan, the ball was knocked forward when Digby started the tackle so Kaplan was probably looking at the ball to allow an advantage to the Reds – rather than watching the tackle.

    The first ‘half’ was the tackle was fine, i.e. the initial hit and drive. Only at the last instant did Digby lift the number 6’s left leg above the horizontal. All clear on the replay – but not too surprising if Kaplan missed it because he had his eyes on the ‘loose’ ball

  • redbull

    You would think he would get off with the citing. He lifted, which is the primary issue, but he put him down safely, if a little hard, which is why the issue of lifting is a penalty in the first place.

    So if you can lift someone and still put them down hard but safely, is it a penalty?

    But an outstanding tackle that most Saffas would appreciate I think.

  • The Mad Mailman

    Digby hits him fine but then he stands up and lifts the Sharks player’s legs above horizontal.

    That’s the dangerous thing; after he makes the hit he stands up and lifts Coetzee rather than drive him backwards.

    I think the citing is harsh and it probably will be dismissed, but I feel the card is justified because of the potential risks with lifting a player and then turning them beyond horizontal.

    • JezaCBHS

      I agree. Whether or not these tackles were ok in the past, this is a reckless tackle in my opinion. When you lift a player as opposed to driving him to the ground, you increase the chances of a bad injury. Im not a medical expert but I think its basic physics that when someone is driven downwards from that height, with their feet above them, injury to the chest, chest and arms increases.

      A powerful but safer hit still be made if you stay low and dont lift him or yourself up through the legs.

  • Muffy

    SA players love the Oscars don’t they, watch how he holds his head, with no contact at all from anything to the scone…Also remember that fine thespian Brussows outstanding effort from a push to the face…socceresque in its theatrical beauty.

  • Muffy

    Quote: “There will be talk in Australia about refereeing inconsistencies but anyone would be able to pick out moments in any game where referees miss infringements and this game was no exception. The important thing to remember is that over all the refereeing was even handed and fair.”

    Two things that irk me..

    1. Bismarks head coming up nearly every scrum (and at least one deliberate collapse)
    2. The Reds not being given the same freedom at the breakdown as the Sharks.

    Those two things IMO made a huge difference to the outcome of the game

    • Baldy

      refs must start penalising the sharks/springboks scrum – Bismark is always getting popped at scrum time. He is like a meerkat constantly poking his head up – that should be a penalty.

    • Davey

      Bismark in particular seemed to do as he wished at the breakdown in the second half, turning the ball over numerous times with moves that in the first half were being penalised for not releasing the tackled player.

      • bill

        I dunno, I thought Kaplan was fair on Bismark in general play, my only real query was that we got penalised on an occasion that I thought we’d made a fair steal. Think it was Saia F for allegedly not showing “daylight”.

    • BloodRed

      Amen. Wasn’t just Bismarck coming up. At least 2 scrums in a row the whole sharks front row was up and the reds all still down so no issue with them driving up. For Kaplan to miss one is careless but to miss two is pretty ordinary refereeing. It’s not often the Reds are clearly the dominant scrum but the last 2 games with Slipper and Holmes propping they have been very strong but have not received any pay off…..another case of perception winning out over reality?

  • Who Needs Melon

    I liked the look of Frisby. Had some real spark and pass seemed better than many Aussie halfbacks of recent years.

    • Muffy

      Agree, about 3/4 time I thought he might have been a better fly half choice than Will, and that would have kept Will at the scrum with Frisby making breaks and Taps and Digby creating come Link never phones me and asks my advice, the mans rude, just rude.

    • bill

      Frisby had that crap first touch to Taps but after that I agree he started to put the ball in front of the player, which we’d been pretty aweful at during the 2nd half. He did look good, needs a few kilos, but he’s got enough of a frame to hang them on.

      Still a couple of years of conditioning to go though.

      • Shatz actually threw the dodgy pass

  • bill

    I don’t think Digby has much of case to answer, yes he lifted, and maybe the only safe way to deal with lifting tackles in terms of apportioning intent is to get rid of them all, but watching that there was no intent to injure.

    If Cooper got banned during last year’s tri nations I can’t see Ioane getting off without a suspension.

    pretty hard to say what constitutes bringing some one down safely in that situation. He didn’t come down on a single shoulder, his head, or his neck or try to corkscrew him into the ground, to me that would be safe. Having got into that situation I can’t see may people being able to do better than that without doing their own back in.

  • Suzy Poison

    C’mon guys. If a Saffa had made that exact same tackle, on any Aussie player, you would have screamed red card? Some pretty good acting skills, but it was at least a yellow?

    Truth be told, and no matter which way, that Ewen spins it, the Reds haven’t been playing well, and have been pretty lucky to win games against fairly average opposition. By average Opposition, I am talking the Waratahs, Force and the Rebels. Any arguments there? Good on the Force for tuning up, but how about doing that at home against the Canes?

    Rod Kafer called it. The Reds won’t win in South Africa. They failed their first true test, and with away games against Bulls, Blues and Crusaders, to come, this was probably the easiest on the list. In my humble opinion, this simply aint the year of the Reds. But then which team?
    Well the comp is not won in March. That kilted rabble, the Highlanders, have played some pretty tough teams and come up with the goods. Baring in mind, that they have yet to face the easier teams, they are not travelling too badly, so they are my pick to go all the way.

    By the way, I am Stormers fan, and I don’t think we can win it either.

    • murph

      Kafer got lucky with Lucas and Harris going down injured. If that hadn’t happened the Shorks would be walking with a pronounced gait

      • Suzy Poison

        You mean the shorks would be swimming with a strange wiggle. Lucas ’twas a massive improvement, but why didn’t he start three weeks ago? We would be having this chat now, would we. Prediction: Those horrible jerseys will be a red rag to a bull this weekend?

    • Muffy

      Actually, I think you are wrong, there would be the same cross section of comment here if a Saffa had made the same tackle, about half for and half against… I think you are reading what you want to…

      • Suzy Poison

        You are probably right, a lot of folks thought it was a fair call.

  • murph

    The alibi is in from Growden: if the Tahs lose in SA, it’s the Reds’s fault…

  • murph

    I’m a massive fan of the Reds and Diggers but, from where I was sitting, Digby was lucky to not get a red and will probably get a two weeks now because he only got a yellow during the match.

    I don’t think it’s a red card offence, however if the refereeing of lifting tackles is to be consistent, Digby should have been given a red card.

    This nonsense about SA refs being biased really grates. Houguaard was handed a red for a similar offence by Joubert a couple of weeks back. Kaplan reffed the Reds v Shorks game really well. He made mistakes but both sides benefitted and the game flowed nicely given the appalling conditions.

    The Reds should hold their heads high after that. The injuries to Harris and Lucas were fatal and would have resulted in a 20 point loss for most sides. Maybe Link will baulk at putting a 5-2 split on the bench again soon but who could predict that would happen?

  • muffy

    Murph, I agree that digby will get suspended as that’s what happens. I personally don’t think there is bias, but refs feel the pressure from the crowd, and no one puts pressure on like the saffas. I strongly feel that SA refs in SA are not biased, but more ….weak ….especially at home and won’t make the unpopular decisions like pinging SA s favorite hooker for weak scrummaging

    • Robson

      I’m not sure what the exact ruling is about those potential spear tackles, but it’s the kind of tackle that just must be eradicated from the game.

      Ioane’s tackle wasn’t malicious and looked pretty borderline to me, but the truth is that ten minutes in the bin, a penalty and maybe a two week suspension is a pretty paltry penalty in comparasion to a lifetime sentence in a wheelchair – or worse.

      The problem is that if a player is off the ground in a horizontal position there can be no guarantee how he will come down. Even if the tackler realises he has gone through the horizontal and wants to lower him safely, but then gets a jolt from someone rushing in to assist, the tackled player can still end up on his neck or head.

      I thought the refereeing was actually pretty reasonable and the balance sheet looked about even to me at the end of the match; which is really all that you can ask of any ref.

      I agree that the Reds aren’t firing yet like they were at the end of the 2011 season. They weren’t helped on Saturday by their two playmakers (and goal kickers) being carted off the paddock, but there also seemed to be quite a bit of confusion about what Genia wanted his forwards to do. Just before the break he appeared to change the game plan (no doubt due to worsening weather conditions – which in turn might have caused some of the confusion) and was calling his forwards to assemble for a “pod” attack whereas just prior to that they had been attacking the ruck to achieve a fast delivery to keep putting it wide.

      The forwards, Van Humphries in particular, weren’t sure what he wanted and the resulting congestion produced an obstruction which was penalised. I felt that was a major turning point in the game because if Genia had continued to attack down the short side there was real potential to score. But instead he decided to “hatch” it (an increasingly irritating part of his game I find) and and an opportunity was lost.

  • Wallabies

    Digby wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that the tackled player reaches down for the ball that got popped loose putting him totally off-balance for Digby’s drive. Still, lifting tackle, needs to be penalized probably suspended.

  • muffy

    Five farkin weeks…can’t speak…will come back to comment….

    • murph

      absolutely ridiculous

    • Reds Fan 2012

      Fn bs, is this touch or rugby? Soccer season is over. Can’t think of any other clichés toooooo mad!

    • redbull

      Forgot about his rap sheet in this area. More players to get some experience. Can’t hurt in the long run.


Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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