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Gilroy cited for 'the tackle everyone is trying to get away from'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Paul Devlin/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Former Ireland winger Craig Gilroy escaped with just a yellow card for a high tackle during last Friday night’s United Rugby Championship win by Ulster, but the controversy the incident ignited online following the game versus Scarlets has now resulted in the soon-to-be 31-year-old getting cited.

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Ulster won the match 27-15, with Gilroy going on to score their bonus-point earning fourth try, but many felt the home side should have been playing with 14-men following the ugly incident during which the neck of Scarlets’ Thomas Rogers snapped back violently due to the impact of Gilroy’s shoulder to the head on the visiting Welsh player.  

Ex-internationals Tom Shanklin and Rob Kearney, who were on Premier Sports punditry for the match, couldn’t fathom the lenient decision made by Jaco Peyper, the South African official who was on duty in Belfast as a warm-up ahead of refereeing next Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales in Dublin.

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“That is the tackle that I think everyone is trying to get away from,” said Shanklin. “Gilroy is not even looking where he is going. He has led with the shoulder, the arm is down. He is very lucky to get a yellow card as that is quite a bad tackle. It definitely should have been a red card.”

Ex-Ireland full-back Kearney agree with the former Wales midfielder. “There is so much force to the head there. You see the whiplash, the impact. If we’re talking about trying to make the game safer, protecting the opposition player… for force to the head with that much power and intent.

A URC statement read: “Craig Gilroy of Ulster has been cited for an incident that occurred in the 22nd minute of the United Rugby Championship round 11 fixture at Kingspan Stadium against Scarlets on Friday, January 28. The citing commissioner in charge has made a complaint about an act of foul play by Gilroy (No14) against opponent Thomas Rogers (No14).

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“The player has been cited under law 9.13 – A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. Arrangements for the disciplinary process are currently in progress and will be announced in due course.”

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