Rugby is a contact sport and officials need to let some incidents go

It’s becoming a recurring theme, something like a stuck record that keeps playing the same old tune … week-in and week-out, match after match, there’s some major talking point about a refereeing decision or intervention by the television match official (TMO) that’s just mind-boggling. It’s not new, and the players, coaches and fans are aware of it and even expect it, but it doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it acceptable. Almost weekly now we are left shaking our heads thinking, ‘How is that possible? How is that a red card? How is it even a yellow?’ I…

It’s becoming a recurring theme, something like a stuck record that keeps playing the same old tune … week-in and week-out, match after match, there’s some major talking point about a refereeing decision or intervention by the television match official (TMO) that’s just mind-boggling.

It’s not new, and the players, coaches and fans are aware of it and even expect it, but it doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it acceptable.

Almost weekly now we are left shaking our heads thinking, ‘How is that possible? How is that a red card? How is it even a yellow?’

I sometimes watch rugby and see something happen and say to myself, ‘that’s nothing, it’s a rugby incident’ … but then a yellow or red card is shown to a player. How can one person see these things one way and another see it a completely different way?

Seeing red

On Saturday it happened again, and I was left completely dumbfounded by the decision.

Lions player Ruben Schoeman was red carded for jumping in the air with his arms up to try and charge down a kick by Dragons player Ashton Hewitt during their URC match at Ellis Park, and when coming down he clumsily fell into the advancing player who got knocked over.

There was nothing in it; there was no intention to cause harm or damage or hurt or pain. It was not an act of dirty or foul play.

After deliberation between the referee and the TMO it was decided Schoeman got it wrong in not trying to avoid contact with the advancing player, or for bracing incorrectly, or something along those lines, and was red carded.

Now I ask myself, what was Schoeman supposed to do to avoid making contact with the advancing player?

Come on, use common sense

I would like a rugby official or law maker to tell us all what is required by a player in that situation. Is there a certain way a player should jump? Is there a specific position or direction his arms should point, or be folded? And how should he position himself when coming down?

Educate us please World Rugby: What should Schoeman have done differently to avoid getting a red card?

It was a ridiculous and shocking decision and not only am I fed up with these “body contact” rules in the game; all rugby-watchers seem to have had enough, if all the comments on social media are anything to go by.

Common sense must prevail. Rugby is a contact sport, there is no avoiding that, and there will be incidents and clashes of bodies, and it’s time rugby’s rulers and lawmakers accepted it and dealt with it.