The Guinness PRO14 has faced a rollicking from fans this week after the starkly different punishments handed to Munster’s Peter O’Mahony and Cardiff Blues’ Josh Turnbull.
Ireland flanker O’Mahony was shown two yellow cards last weekend in the Irish province’s opening round PRO14 win over the Scarlets. The second was for an elbow to the head of Jake Ball on the ground, something that was widely deemed unnecessary and violent.
However, the back row was not handed a ban after a judicial review. A PRO14 statement read: “Judicial officer Kathrine Mackie found after referring to the methodology in the disciplinary rules and the application of mitigating and aggravating features that the sending off was sufficient. The player is available for selection on Saturday.”
In contrast, Wales’ Turnbull was given a three-week ban following his high tackle on Zebre’s Maxime Mbanda, for which he saw red last Friday in Parma.
There were clearly differences in the two offences, most noticeably that one was a red card and the other a yellow. However, that hasn’t stopped exasperated fans from comparing the two offences.
Bittersweet moment for @Munsterrugby ?@Farrell_C93 powers over to keep them in the game but Peter O’Mahony follows through for a second yellow ???#GuinnessPRO14 #SCAvMUN
?? Watch Live Now on @PremierSportsTV
?? Watch Live Now on @eirSport & @TG4TV pic.twitter.com/TSLkKOLBjh
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) October 3, 2020
A game-changing moment ?@JoshTurn6ull sees red, will @cardiff_blues be able to hold their lead still or can @ZebreRugby capitalise??#GuinnessPRO14 #ZEBvCBL
?? Watch Live Now on @PremierSportsTV pic.twitter.com/xDLCsrHuvd
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) October 2, 2020
The problem of consistency in the judicial process has arisen again, with many feeling Irish players are given preferential treatment. Moreover, it has frequently been mentioned online that there was clearly no ill intent in Turnbull’s poorly timed tackle, while O’Mahony’s challenge was full of malice. This has led to calls for the PRO 14 to justify their verdicts.
Erroneous tackles are part of the game while the Irishman’s act was not, so it is understandable why there has been such an impassioned response.
Given the standards of officiating these days, the decision to send Turnbull off was correct and his ban was also just. The trouble, however, is that it’s always dangerous territory to start comparing different offences, but when they happen over the same weekend it’s hard for fans not to.
You cannot do this and the O’Mahony decision and expect anyone sane not to draw the logical conclusion that you are favouring Irish players/teams. You have created inarguable proof here.
— MarcB (@555Husker) October 8, 2020
It’s easy to work out the league is setup for the Irish and no one else.
— Mathew D (@maff_1980) October 8, 2020
The Pro14 often gets accused of being biased towards the Irish. In most cases it’s unwarranted, but please tell me how O’Mahony has got away with this while Josh Turnbull has got a 3 week ban? Consistency is all that people ask for! https://t.co/fJBABMb5hD
— Andrew Forde (@ADF0110) October 8, 2020
Turnbull incident – no intent, opposite player dipping downwards, but end of the day a shoulder to the head = 3 match ban……fair enough
O'Mahony incident – off the ball, clear intent, dives into opposition head leading with the elbow = no ban
This league is a shambles https://t.co/qpPIL5cQ3j
— Rhys Granville (@rhysgranv) October 8, 2020
That’s a truly embarrassing response. The fact that a violent player who physically assaulted a prone player gets nothing and an actual rugby tackle gets a 3game ban points at nothing but bias. Unfortunately pro 14 has history with this kind of bias, very poor decision
— Lee Caluan (@leecaluan) October 8, 2020
And the pathetic hit on Jake Ball for his second yellow was 100% gratuitous after the try not in https://t.co/5k9F4505Or may not have been with heavy speed/force but it was to the head with bent arm . Some ban was needed surely !?
— David Rees (@reeslegal) October 8, 2020
This can’t be right. Seems like the POM & Turnbull decisions were mixed up? Needs statement from the Pro14 in order to explain, otherwise credibility severely compromised.
— Philip Morgan (@pjmorgan75) October 8, 2020
Yet another example of a totally ineffective and biased disciplinary process in the professional game. The more high profile the player, the more lenient the punishment. Total disgrace on all accounts
— Richard Rees-Davies (@Llandudnoref) October 8, 2020
So for consistency if Turnbull's was a red then o'mahony is a red.
Shouldnt be a yellow doubled. It should be a straight red
— Rob Hill (@3003Rob) October 3, 2020
Two decisions to be made, one on a Welsh player 3 weeks ban, one on an Irish player carry on as you were. What sort of example does that give.?
— Ann Mylott (@AnnMylott1) October 8, 2020
Accidentally, slightly high tackle gets 3 weeks. Elbow drop to the face of a prone player gets a yellow and no ban. This is a joke of an organisation.
— Nye Jayne (@nyejayne) October 9, 2020
The way it is, I'll be glad to see the back of this corrupt nonsense league.
— JDW (@daf1999) October 8, 2020
What a pathetic and disgraceful decision when Peter O Mahoney didn't even get a 1 week ban! Disgusting
— Josh Daniels (@JoshDaniels10) October 8, 2020
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