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Diamond calls on World Rugby to act after 'ridiculous' DVDM ban

By Chris Jones
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Steve Diamond is still furious over the three-game ban given to the red-carded Duhan van der Merwe earlier this month, the Worcester boss calling on World Rugby to stop matches getting constantly disfigured by red cards. The Warriors winger was sent off on March 5 in a Gallagher Premiership match at London Irish and the resulting ban ruled him out of Scotland’s closing two matches in this year’s Guinness Six Nations. 

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After using a handoff when attacking for Worcester, van der Merwe received a red card for “reckless or dangerous play” and at his disciplinary hearing, he accepted that foul play had occurred but questioned whether the red card threshold had been met.  

The panel upheld the red card decision and van der Merwe received a three-week ban which he failed to overturn on appeal. However, having since completed the World Rugby coaching intervention programme, he is free to return for Worcester in the league at local rivals Gloucester on Friday night after getting the final match of his three-game suspension scratched. 

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Harsher penalties have been introduced to protect players and lower the tackle height but Diamond is adamant more work needs to be done – with one option being making a red card for certain offences earn just a 20-minute period off the pitch rather than a complete exclusion.

 It comes after the Six Nations featured controversial incidents such as Charlie Ewels, the  England and Bath lock, being sent off after 82 seconds of the game with Ireland for head-on-head contact.

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Diamond also pointed to Worcester’s recent win over Exeter that saw Chiefs centre Tom Hendrickson sent off for a high tackle and Jannes Kirsten cited for a dangerous ruck clearout. Both received three-game bans and both were allowed to apply for tackle school. “There has to be some decisions (by Word Rugby) made moving forward,” reckoned the Worcester coach. 

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“When you think of what happened in our game against Exeter two weeks ago when there was a clear clash of heads and there was a citing and clear take-out of someone on the deck. The same punishment is dished out to Duhan for, let’s be honest, catching someone with a passive hand movement which is ridiculous. 

“World Rugby have to do something about it and while we all want the safety issues to be in place, something (must be done), whether that is a 20-minute period off the pitch (for an offence) and then they come back on, because it is ruined if the game goes down to 14 men. There are lots of them at the moment.

“If we went through with a fine toothcomb we would have someone sent off at every ruck. It could become an even bigger nightmare than it is. It is not the referees’ fault because the lawmakers make the laws and the referees have to input them and it is worrying for a contact sport.”

Meanwhile, Diamond confirmed that centre Ollie Lawrence was still “a couple of weeks” away from returning from a serious hamstring injury, adding that he doesn’t believe it would be sensible for the player to be rushed back for England’s summer tour to Australia.

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