The opening round of the Top 14 saw one of the most puzzling red cards in history over the weekend.

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Italian Sergio Parisse was sent off for an ‘elbow to the face’ of an opponent during a match between Stade Francais and Perpignan. The catch? Parisse had the ball, after just fielding a kickoff.

Bracing for impact, Parisse shielded himself from the defender who took a very poor angle – flying in at the Number 8 with very questionable technique before his head collided with Parisse’s shoulder.

The referees reportedly followed protocol as there was contact between the Parisian’s elbow and the defender’s head, but the circumstances are very harsh on a player protecting himself from the oncoming kickoff defence.

Parisse, the captain of his side, protested in vain as the referees consulted with the third match official. The referees described the red card as ‘severe’ which raises questions as to why common sense didn’t prevail. The captain left the field in visible confusion, almost throwing his mouthguard away in a display of disgust.

Is this the worst red card decision ever?

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