Video: are these yellow card tackles? - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Video: are these yellow card tackles?

Video: are these yellow card tackles?

Check out these yellow card tackles from last weekend. As you’ll hear, the commentators have a good bluster about them. By pushing video technology to its limits, we’ve added in a horizontal line for you to judge for yourself whether they breach the key criterion by tipping the player beyond the horizontal.

Seeing them like this, in my opinion all but Reinach’s tackle on Phipps were yellows. I also don’t think any of the perps can argue the ‘accidental’ defence – the techniques used in those tackles were only going to result in one outcome.

But then, maybe I’m soft. Which tackles did you think warranted a yellow?


  • BigD

    My question is how do you bring a player down safely? I think more emphasis should be on how the player lands e.g. flat on there back is not dangerous, if they land past horizontal, OK, yellow card, but I though all these players were brought down safely.

    • Not sure I agree there – note how many of these players have to stick their arms out to break their falls – really dangerous for shoulders

      • Scotty

        Sticking their arms out (thus changing the weight balance) sometimes contributes to the going past horizontal. See the last of your compilation for an example of this. The one thing that is of most concern to me with this crackdown is that it takes away some of the ability of the small man to dominate the bigger man (by getting them off the ground). Now players will be reluctant to tackle with an upwards force at all, let alone a lifting technique. Plays into the hands of the bigger guys.

        • And then they end up like Dagg and completely smashed into the turf.

    • Duckman

      There should definitely be some consideration of the way the tackler brings the ball carrier to ground. Although Phipps wasn’t beyond horizontal, he’s dropped from a height and risks injury. Conversely, Lance realises his opponent is at risk and modifies his tackle to prevent injury. O’Connor drives through into the ground, the worst of the 4. Agree with other comments that Slipper gets himself into a bad position by (an attempt at) vaulting the tackler.

  • Scott Allen

    As you say, three of the four are past the horizontal and accordingly qualify for a yellow card.

    But rugby is going soft by adopting the horizontal measure – I think 45 degrees would be more appropriate unless the player drives down on top of the ball carrier.

  • D-Box

    The second one is a bit harsh on the tackler as Slipper jumped into the tackle. That changed the point of contact from the stomach to the thigh. The Mapoe also had to try and control the upward momentum generated by Slipper. I don’t actually know what Slipper was planning as it looks like he is trying to dive over the tackle.

    I don’t care if “precedent” had be set by the earlier tackle, but in my mind this one was Slippers fault, not Mapoe’s.

    • Rex Munday

      It wasn’t Slipper’s fault. It was nobody’s fault. It was an accident.

    • Dimo

      Yeah it was really weird, Slipper definitely just jumped in to the tackle.

      I have a hard time buying that last one as well, as Mvovo twists himself mid-tackle to allow the ball to be played quickly. I remember a couple tackles on SBW getting carded last season for the same reason.

      As mentioned in the article, the tackle on Phipps just doesn’t qualify as a yellow by any measure.

  • Who?

    First off… Well done to the refs for, if nothing else, being reasonably consistent. That’s a step forward, at least.

    The tackle on Phipps was completely legal – didn’t go beyond 90º, landed feet first. Bad call.

    The other three tackles, it’s worth pointing out that the tacklers are all backs, in two of the three cases taking down forwards. It’s also worth pointing out that, apart from Slipper, the tackled player looked to get to the ground. Slipper went to ground with momentum, it wasn’t a bad tackle, it was just odd body height from Slipper. The other two, both players twisted as the tackler held them and took themselves beyond horizontal. There’s no question both tackles involved lifting, however, the landing might have been more controlled by the tackler if the ball carrier weren’t looking to get down (which is, admittedly, human instinct), get the ball back, or chase the knock on.
    I do think that calling them as cards is soft. Especially when you think the first tackle, the ball carrier would hit the ground harder in a lineout. But that’s the law now….

  • Andy Law


    1, 3 and 4 – Yellow
    2 – nothing, not even a penalty

    For me, 2 is caused by ball carrier leaping into the tackle. His momentum up and over is the reason that he ends upside down.

    The telling thing, again in my opinion, is not the position of the ball carrier’s hips/shoulders but rather the tacklers elbow/shoulder. In tackles 1, 3 and 4, we see the tackler make an apparently deliberate lifting movement with one arm, raising elbow high and rotating the ball carrier. After that, we get into red/yellow territory. I would gauge rotation to be yellow and follow up driving downwards to tip the balance into red. None of these had that latter aggravation so stick yellow, although 3 is late and off the ball.

    I know they’re not supposed to referee on “intent”, but any decent referee with any measure of empathy (I know, I know) does so.

  • Scoey

    The tackle involving Mvovo I think would’ve been ok until the point where Mvovo twisted to present the ball. I have no idea what would’ve happened if he didn’t twist, but I do feel confident that this action worsened the angle that he reached. Up until this point it was a good front on hit that would’ve resulted in Mvovo being driven back.

  • Harps

    If it’s with malicious intent (eg. O’Connor’s hit where the head in heading to ground first) then it should be a yellow. In all the other tackles there is little concern for the person getting tackled and it should be play on. It should be based on where the first contact with the ground is made; not where their body is in mid-air.

Melbourne Rebels

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

More in Melbourne Rebels