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Fans divided over 'beyond ridiculous' red card for accidental off the ball collision

By Kim Ekin
Guy Porter is red carded by referee Nika Amashukeli /Credit: BT Sport

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A decision to red card Leicester Tigers centre Guy Porter for what appeared to be an accidental collision with Clermont’s Fritz Lee has divided fans.

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The incident happened off the ball, when the advancing Porter appeared to jog into Lee who was waiting for a ball in a Clermont attacking play in the 60th minute.

Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli saw fit to send it for TMO review and after some deliberation, decided it warranted a red card.

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“I give him the benefit of the doubt. I think it is accidental,” said Lawrence Dallaglio after the game. “He’s not necessarily looking but it was excellently explained by the TMO and the referee. Even if it’s accidental, it’s still a red card. You’ve got a duty of care. You can’t just run into a player and hit him in the head. I think anyone will have any complaints about that.

Co-host Ugo Monye likened it to Charlie Ewels red card during the Guinness Six Nations. “It’s very similar to Charlie Ewels and James Ryan. That lead runner trying to check. As you can see his eyes are clearly focused on the ball, which makes it a reckless tackle or attempted tackle, as he’s then collided his head with the opposition.”

Yet why the panel were in agreement with the call, there were some dissenting opinions on social.

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EK Rugby Analysis observed: “Red card. Have a bit of sympathy for Porter there as I don’t think he has ‘a clear line of sight’ as the officials say – he’s looking at the passer at all times. Would have leaned towards a yellow.”

Mana Rugby wrote: “I really don’t like that decision, it was purely an accident. I understand the current laws but come on – is that really worthy of a red? If rugby continues to give red cards for incidents such as this which are totally accidental, I think it will seriously turn fans off the sport. There needs to be common sense applied to refereeing.”

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Others branded it a ‘rugby incident’. “That’s ridiculous! Clearly accidental, never a red! Rugby incident”.

Others defended the call: “Porter runs into him … takes a player out off the ball. Foul play,” wrote Kenneth Sharp. “Head on head with no mitigation. Red. Anyone arguing differently has their own entertainment more at heart than the player’s welfare. Players MUST stop going in upright.”

Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick played down the incident, insisting Porter had no intention to harm Lee.

“I didn’t look at it closely because I was more interested in what we needed to do, and what changes I needed to make,” said Borthwick. “I’ll have a good look at it. Guy will be very disappointed with it.

“He has a fantastic disciplinary record and is a real honest player. We don’t want any players getting hurt. That’s not why we play rugby. We just want to play good rugby.”

A disciplinary panel with decide Porter’s fate this week.

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