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'If he's ended up with a broken nose, there's some force there'

By Ian Cameron
Jamison Gibson-Park /PA

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The decision by referee Karl Dickson not to show Leinster scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park a red card in yesterday’s Heineken Championship Cup Round of 16 match with Connacht in Galway has drawn significant criticism.


Leinster went on the win the first-leg match after the yellow card in the 56th minute, but many think that Leo Cullen’s side were lucky not to be playing with 14 men for last third of the game.

The home fans erupted in anger after an upright Gibson-Park collided with Kieran Marmion’s face, resulting in a bloodied nose.

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However Referee Dickson sin-binned the Leinster replacement after a lengthy TMO review, stopping short of giving the Ireland scrumhalf a straight red.

“He’s very lucky. There’s no doubt,” said former England lock Ben Kay, who was on comms. “If he’s ended up with a broken nose, there’s some force there.”

Leinster and Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll added: “It’s hard to see anything else but red here.”

“You can get a bloody nose and not have a huge level of force. You can. So I don’t think it should be dependent on whether there’s blood or not, but there’s a lot of blood,” said O’Driscoll. “He’s very lucky. There’s no doubt he’s very lucky. Another referee in the same position would give a red card.”


“How in hell has Dickson talked himself down to a yellow?,” Tweeted Iain Hay. “There is a high degree of danger when shoulder meets face, it’s happened because Gibson-Park didn’t bend, and Marmion’s had his nose burst.”

The Loose Head wrote: “Yes, Marmion is falling, but it’s the fact JGP doesn’t look to wrap. Negates any mitigation. Tucks the shoulder and makes the hit.”


Walesonline’s Simon Thomas wrote: “Accepts the tackle” is a new one in the head contact decision-making process. Looked like a nailed on red to me. Gibson-Park was indeed very lucky.

Others felt the yellow for the New Zealand-born halfback was fair. One account observed: “Twitter should let me auto block anyone that thinks Gibson-Park should’ve been red-carded last night. Already fed up reading bloody nose = lethal force”

Given the significant scale of the controversy around the decision, a citing for Gibson-Park will likely settle the matter.

Connacht head coach Andy Friend didn’t think it warranted a red card. “I thought it was a yellow,” he said afterwards. “I think there’s so much conjecture around these things at the moment.


“To me, there was one angle that made it look not good.”


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