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'How often do you get hands on a five-eighth at the bottom of a ruck?' - Thorn

By Online Editors

Brad Thorn joined the list of the game’s luminaries to decry the decision to send off Sunwolf Ed Quirk, despite his team benefitting significantly from the decision.


The Sunwolves continued their Australian tour in Queensland against the Reds looking to pick up their first win away from home for the season, while the Reds were simply looking to finish their season on a high.

However, the game was marred by a red card decision that has widely been described as ‘farcical’.

Referee Ben O’Keeffe changed the complexion of the game when he handed Ed Quirk a red card after ruling the Sunwolves flanker punched Reds first-five Hamish Stewart in the face at the bottom of a ruck.

Thorn slammed the red card shown to Quirk, labelling the alleged “closed fist” action as nothing more than a love tap.

“I suspect I sound like an old guy that’s going, ‘back in the day, blah blah blah’, but seriously, that’s not good for footy.


“I’m sitting there, I’m the opposite coach and straight away, I’m up there just going, that’s no good. It just hurts the game.

“Far out, man. How hard did you have to work to find that?

The former All Blacks forward Thorn vehemently disagreed with the referee’s decision.

“For me, for a red card, it has to be something really big,” Thorn said.


“[Red cards] are for horrendous spear tackles, someone kicking someone on the ground, eye gouging horrendously or something – not love taps.”

“The five-eighth’s at the bottom of the ruck, the forward gives him a little facial. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?

“Seriously. Come on, man. Come on. My sons do that in the backyard. It’s beautiful. Good on them.”

All Blacks and Hurricanes first-five Beauden Barrett also weighed in.

“It was a joke in my opinion,” Barrett told Newstalk ZB.

“They’ve [the referees] got to use common sense and there was certainly no force in that.

“Where’s the game going when we award red cards for little things like that?”

O’Keeffe’s ruling is justified by the lawbook, with World Rugby Law 10.4 stating that players must not strike an opponent.

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