Fans have continued to question what players are supposed to do on the rugby field when they’re shown cards for split-second errors that go against the laws of the game.
Specifically, fans have been left confused after the final Tri Nations match of the year between the Wallabies and Pumas, as two players were shown yellow cards for similar incidents at the breakdown.
Marcos Kremer, who finishes the Tri Nations with the most tackles of any Argentinian player (69 tackles) with a 91% completion rate, was the first to be shown a card 16-minutes into the match.
The Pumas enforcer was sent from the field for a high tackle when he was attempting to cleanout Wallabies flyhalf James O’Connor at the breakdown. While there was potential for a red card, the initial contact from the cleanout was on O’Connor’s shoulder.
This led Fox Sports Australia commentator, Phil Kearns, to say that “I’d give it a penalty at worst.”
But 12-minutes later, and after Kremer had returned to the field, it was the Wallabies who went down a player with captain Michael Hooper shown a yellow for a similar incident.
Commentator Rod Kafer questioned the incident as the TMO was reviewing it, saying that “there’s not much else you can do when cleaning out a player who has got his hands on the ball. Contact with the head like that happens every second cleanout.”
After Angus Gardner had sent the Wallabies captain to the sin bin, Kearns added that “it’s just rubbish, both of those yellow cards are ridiculous.”
2 very soft yellow cards, that’s how players clean out in every ruck ????? #AUSvARG
— Josh Tatchell (@jdtatch) December 5, 2020
— Jacob Mills (@Jacob_P_Mills) December 5, 2020
This has aged incredibly well after those two yellow cards! The players at the ruck wouldn’t get into such an impossible position that we end up with the hits to the head! #TriNations #AUSvARG https://t.co/BuzE6SjPpG
— #rugbyaustralia (@RugbyAUS) December 5, 2020
I… if that’s a yellow card then about 20-30 rucks a game have to end in yellow cards. Feel for Arg there. #AUSvARG
— Elisha Pearce (@ElishaPearce) December 5, 2020
— Jan007 #wearyourmask (@Jan0077) December 5, 2020
Both yellow cards are soft but Hooper’s was a textbook clean out. Arms Wrapped and low body height just happened that Sanchez was low over the ball with head sticking in front. #AUSvARG
— Michael Cole ???? (@michaelcole87) December 5, 2020
What on earth are these yellow cards about! What a farce! #AUSvARG
— Oli Guy (@OliGuy1) December 5, 2020
Breakdown needs to be looked at massively… Ruining the game! Yellow card for Hooper #AUSvARG
— Christopher Logan (@CLCourtney82) December 5, 2020
Don’t agree with the decision that Hooper connected with shoulder first – looked like head to me. Yellow possibly still fair due to genuine clear out attempt? #AUSvARG
— Scott Brown (@killieboy87) December 5, 2020
— JMcDaid (@JMcDd) December 5, 2020
The old yellow card even up. That clean out was perfect. #AUSvARG
— Rugby Report Card (@rugby_podcast) December 5, 2020
Kremer gets a yellow card for that clear out while Poite didn’t even give a penalty last week for several similar incidents in the Wales game. Refs need to be consistent #AUSvARG
— Richy Boy (@richbarry_03) December 5, 2020
That's not even a penalty, let alone a yellow card… annnnd the precedent from that should result in a card at every breakdown.
Well done rugby, you've played yourself again. #AUSvARG
— Matt Findlay (@MRFindlay24) December 5, 2020
Shocker of a yellow card loads of them in every game. #AUSvARG
— Gary Williams (@gary_wils) December 5, 2020
Fans being unhappy with yellow card decisions has also sparked up overnight in the North Hemisphere, after Scotland centre Duncan Taylor was shown a card for a deliberate knock-on.
Just like the Hooper and Kremer incidents, fans questioned the merit of the card as against what a player can do to avoid that situation.
That was never a yellow card on Duncan Taylor , he’s come in with his arms stretched to tackle the player and he’s threw it at his arm what’s he supposed to do ? Well played Scotland we can still win this , same again.
— RepublicOfAlba (@LFCIndy1) December 5, 2020
Duncan Taylor’s yellow was very harsh. He was in the motion of tackling and didn’t have an outstretched arm hanging there, like Willemse’s “knock on” in the 6N
— Johnny Sim (@johnnysim5) December 5, 2020
Didn’t even go for the ball… what’s Duncan Taylor meant to do…. no yellow for me. #IREvSCO
— Jack Martin (@JackMartin2100) December 5, 2020
How can they say Duncan Taylor deliberately knocker that on? Think that’s harsh. Let alone a yellow card for it. #IREvSCO
— Gregg ??????? (@GreggC_CC) December 5, 2020
The Wallabies poor discipline continued later in the match, when replacement second-rower Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was red-carded for a high tackle.
Even with 14-men on the field, the Wallabies fell just short of stealing the win, with Reece Hodge missing a 45-metre penalty attempt in the rain.
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