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The Rugby Pod verdict on the 'horrendous' Freddie Steward red card

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

The Rugby Pod has given its verdict on the red card given to England full-back Freddie Steward in Dublin last Saturday. Steward will attend a video conference disciplinary hearing on Tuesday evening and he will head into that judiciary with the backing of Pod co-hosts Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode, who branded the decision taken by referee Jaco Peyper as a horrendous call.


Kicking off their review of the first-half incident in the England fixture that Ireland won to clinch the Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam, ex-Scotland lock Jim Hamilton took issue with Brian O’Driscoll’s support for the Steward sending-off.

“I was very surprised that Brian O’Driscoll said those comments that it is a red,” began Hamilton on the latest Rugby Pod episode. “I understand the safety element, we are all pushing in that direction. But having played the game and been in similar positions, that is a rugby incident. That is what it is.

“You have a play that has unfolded like that off the cuff… and Freddie Steward is braced for contact. The fact that was given a red card, I am just absolutely baffled. I would have been surprised by a yellow.

“To send him off, I looked at that and thought you have wrecked the game. I imagine a lot of people turned off when they saw that. That there was a rugby incident. What could Freddie Steward have done at that moment at high speed? Nothing.”

Fellow co-host Goode, the ex-England international, agreed. “He had 0.6 seconds from when the ball bounced to actually the contact that happened. Ireland win that game whether Freddie Steward is sent off or not. You feel for Freddie Steward. He is not a dirty player. I dived deep into my refereeing phonebook and many of them said it was not a red card.

“This is the problem with the head contact process, you go from one box to the next and the next. There needs to be empathy for certain things. This was an incident where he accelerated to try and get the ball and it went into Hugo Keenan’s hands, he tries to pull out, twists and it is an unfortunate accident.


“You could have found mitigation by the height of Hugo Keenan when he makes the contact with Freddie Steward. Horrendous call.”



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