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'We've lost empathy' - Ackermann

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Ackermann: Rugby Union has 'lost empathy'

Gloucester headcoach Johan Ackermann said he believes the rugby union has lost empathy in the wake of the sport’s latest controversial red card decision.

Gloucester flyhalf Danny Cipriani was shown a red card for a high tackle on Rory Scannell in Gloucester’s European Champions Cup meeting with Munster on Saturday and could be facing a lengthy ban.

He was given his marching orders in the 29th minute at Thomond Park for a clumsy tackle on Scannell that saw his shoulder connect with the Munster centre’s head.

The 30-year-old offered an apologetic thumbs up to his opponent as he made his way off the pitch.

While Gloucester battled on bravely, they ultimately fell to a 36 – 22 loss.

Ackerman told Gloucester Rugby TV that “I don’t want to get involved in that debate. I’ve said my opinion – I don’t know about red cards. It’s one of those decisions that we have to live by.

“Obviously that’s the way forward for rugby in the future, that unfortunately, games are going to be win [sic] and be lost on decisions.

“I think we’ve lost empathy and intention in rugby at the moment” said Ackermann.

“If you play with a red card it is a mountain to climb, especially against a quality team like Munster.”

England Number Eight Vunipola clearly wasn’t impressed with the decision, tweeting: “Another game ruined! Unlucky everyone who bought tickets.”

The red card capped off what was a dire week for Danny Cipriani, who was left out of England’s November Test squad by Eddie Jones.

“We’ve gone with two fly-halves. We think Owen and George are the two best fly-halves and they’ve been consistently in the team since I came in 2016,” Jones told reporters this week.

“We think they are the two guys to lead England forward. Danny is the third choice. There are some areas of the game we think he needs to work on. He understands that and now it’s up to him.”

But there could yet be further opportunities for Cipriani, who made his first start for England since 2008 against South Africa in June.

Discussing Cipriani, James Haskell and Don Armand, Jones added: “They are guys who could come back into the mix. No door is closed.

“We’re just looking at every player and seeing what they can contribute. But we think the players we’ve got in the squad at the moment are the best players.”

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Ackermann: Rugby Union has 'lost empathy'