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'Harsh' - Zander Fagerson red card has divided opinion, splitting pundits online

By Ian Cameron
Zander Fagerson. (Getty)

A red card for Scottish prop Zander Fagerson – which once again skewed a Six Nations match in favour of Wales – has split rugby opinion online.


Unlike Peter O’Mahony’s red last week, there is considerable sympathy for the tighthead, with many suggesting that it warranted a yellow and not a red card from referee Matthew Carley.

Matthew Carley brandished the card in the 54th minute after the Scot made contact with Wales prop Wyn Jones’ head at a ruck. It left Scotland with a mountain to climb to hold on to a game in which they had held the upper hand. It ultimately proved too much for Scotland. Within 60 seconds Welsh prop Wyn Jones crashed over from close-range try to make it 20-17 and although Scotland would score back through Hogg, a late try for Wunderkind Louis Rees-Zammit sealed the deal for Wayne Pivac’s side.

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The decision proved controversial online. “Tough call on Zander Fagerson as the Welsh player moves head into the collision …yellow for me,” noted Mike Friday.

“S*** I would’ve seen allot of reds if i played today,” wrote former Saracens flanker Jacques Burger, a player renowned for his brutally physical gameplay.

Former England centre Mike Tindall wrote: “Forwards need to learn to stop tucking their arms! Would make it look better and easier to mitigate down.”

“If Fagerson doesn’t tuck his arm, is this looked at as foul play? Or does it remain a rugby incident where contact was accidental and not really avoidable?” was one response.


Steph Brawn wrote: “Tough to take that. Ill discipline was ultimately what cost Scotland today. Along with a red which wasn’t a red. Yellow, yes. Red, nope.”

‘Harsh decision on the sending off. Last week the player was prone and couldn’t move. This week he was competing for the ball and moving about at the point of contact. Yellow at best. Think TMO was trying to push that way,’ Tweeted Pat Younge.

Others were less sympathetic to Fagerson’s cause. “Seen loads of pathetic comments saying red card for Zander Fagerson is harsh and the game has gone soft. Ask Michael Lipman or Steve Thompson if that’s the case. Bangs to the head cause life-changing health problems,” Tweeted The Rugby Paper’s Neil Fissler.


Former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton admitted he viewed it as a red, posting: “It is a red card. Not as bad as POM last week. Zander ran in from distance at speed and contact to the head with a closed arm.”

“Bizarre logic from the TMO suggesting sudden movement would have been a mitigating factor,” wrote Irish journalist Neil Treacy. “If anything the movement prevented the tackle from being even worse. Red all day.”

“You can pretty much read Fagerson for O’Mahony here. It seems very likely that Fagerson’s Six Nations will now be over. Expect a 3-week ban.”

The debate rages on, but with the result in the bag and a likely ban on the way for Fagerson, it’s become an academic one for Scottish fans.


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