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Watch: 'A serious act of foul play here, we are on a red card'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Sale Sharks)

Saturday’s massive Heineken Champions Cup battle in Manchester between Sale and Toulouse was marred by an early red card after Sharks lock Cobus Wiese was sent off for a dangerous 19th-minute clear-out on Dorian Aldegheri.

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With the clock stopped on 18:17 minutes, referee Mike Adamson reviewed breakdown footage with his TMO Ben Blain and the outcome was to give the Sale second row Wiese his marching orders for tucking his arm and colliding with the head of Aldegheri.

Adamson said: “We have got a tucked arm, do we? So he is coming from distance, we have got a tucked arm… we have got a serious act of foul play here. We are on a red card. The player has come from distance, high level of danger, direct contact with the head.”

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With his mind made up, the referee explained the sanction to Sale skipper Ben Curry. “I have a decision, Ben. We have got direct contact with the head with a tucked shoulder. It’s a red card.”

Former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton, who was commentating on the match live on BT Sport, felt it was the correct decision. “It is actually a great height for Wiese to come in… he has got a legitimate clean-out of he targets the ribs and leg but because he is tucked, that is the issue. He is tucked and there is head contact.

“You just can’t tuck and clean out… I always say when you go there you have to go at it like a sort of 45 (degree) angle and you have got to target the leg and you have got to pull his leg, get him off his feet, You can’t go head with a shoulder. You have just got to try and stay away from that, try and come in at just a slightly more gentle angle.”

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It was just four weeks ago when Sale were beaten 19-45 by Toulouse in France, indiscipline leaving them down to 14 men for 30 minutes of that game after hooker Akker van der Merwe, full-back Byron McGuigan and wing Tom O’Flaherty were shown yellow cards. However, they initially coped much better with the Wiese red card in Manchester.

Ahead 5-0 thanks to a van der Merwe try when their second row was sent off, they reached the interval still ahead on a 5-3 scoreline having quickly decided to sacrifice a back for an extra body up front with sub flanker Sam Dugdale replacing winger Arron Reed. Their efforts became unstuck, though, in the second half as Sale fell to a 27-5 defeat.

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