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'We do have a problem in rugby': Stormers coach weighs in on red cards

By Warren Fortune
(Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Stormers head coach John Dobson says rugby is facing problems with laws relating to safety and the number of red cards that are being dished out week in and week out.

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There were two red cards and two yellow cards shown in the Stormers’ 28-14 win over London Irish in a Champions Cup Round Three encounter in Brentford.

Both red cards were for the home team with Ben Loader getting his marching orders after 17 minutes for a high tackle (head-on-head collision) on Manie Libbok. Ciaran Parker got a red card early in the second half for a dangerous cleanout on Deon Fourie.

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Libbok had to be replaced and he failed his head injury assessment, which means he will not be involved in the Stormers’ clash against Clermont on Saturday.

“I would differentiate slightly between Ben Loader’s thing, which is at high speed, and Deon Fourie getting hit. We can control that [cleanout] to a large degree than Loader’s situation.

“Those are where all the dangerous breaks are – on the top of the head like that. That is where guys are really exposed.

“We do have a problem in rugby.

“It was a cracking game until the numbers went down and I felt we got poorer and London Irish played the only way they could play. I think they dominated possession.”

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A few other Champions Cup clashes this weekend also had red cards for high tackles and illegal cleanouts, which ruined the contest in some.

It has been a major talking point in rugby for a while now.

“It’s such a complex issue that is dominating the game. I do think strongly that the jacklers, when attempting turnovers, must be protected from leading shoulders. That is controllable,” Dobson explained.

“I do think we are in a grey area when it comes to rugby collisions. You can’t have the Springbok flyhalf going off concussed and I am sure that is a red card.

“However, it’s something where we as a game need to get better.

“The cards were cards. I respect them and understand them and I agree with them.

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“This rugby collision story is a tricky area.”

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