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'Very surprised with the process of Wayne Barnes... but in France you don't get all the pictures'

By Liam Heagney

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The Rugby Pod hosts Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton believe Finn Russell was hard done by with last Friday’s Guinness Six Nations red card, suggesting that French TV didn’t help referee Wayne Barnes by not showing the official footage of the controversial France versus Scotland incident that was shot from the other side of the pitch.

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Scottish out-half Russell was red-carded for his collision with French full-back Brice Dulin during the re-arranged round three championship match that had been postponed in February. The loss of Russell didn’t prevent Scotland from going on to defeat France and give the Six Nations title to Wales.   

However, Pod duo Goode and Hamilton don’t believe the red card brandished by Barnes and the subsequent three-match ban handed down to Scotland star Russell were merited. 

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Reflecting on the Stade de France sending off that heightened the anxiety during the closing stages of the 27-23 Scotland win, ex-England out-half Goode said: “We talk weekly about where the game of rugby is going and there have been debates about having your arm close to your body, having your arm outstretched. 

“For me, Finn Russell has got his hand open, he is trying to fend him [Dulin] off with a handoff to the shoulder. Then the contact is the forearm. If you still it, you see where the contact is made and it is on his shoulder. 

I was very surprised with the process of Wayne Barnes, the best referee in the world, but he can only go off the pictures they were showing and again in France you don’t get all the pictures. I believe there is a picture from the other side – and I have seen a replay of it now – of the actual way Finn Russell is attacking.

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“From face on, his hand is out trying to fend someone and it’s an accidental rugby incident where he has landed and the contact has risen up to Brice Dulin’s neck. I’m glad it didn’t change the course of the game and I’m glad Scotland won. For me, it’s not a red card. When he lands on Dulin it looks a lot worse than it is but the first point of contact I thought was his elbow just around the shoulder.”

Ex-Scotland lock Hamilton added: “There’s no point talking about it now because there are at least two or three (sendings off) a week that we can speak about but in my opinion, it’s not a red card. There is not a huge amount of force. It’s not head-on-head, it’s not shoulder-on-head. It’s a rugby incident, without sounding like a fuddy-duddy. 

“Maybe it is my fault, I texted Wayne during the week and my last message was whatever you do have a good game but do not send any Scots off – and then he sent our best player off. It didn’t have much effect. France had a yellow card as well in the last few minutes of the game and we won so it doesn’t matter. It’s history. I don’t mind, I don’t care.”

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'Very surprised with the process of Wayne Barnes... but in France you don't get all the pictures'

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