Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: Tackling the rules

Quite rightly the rugby authorities want to stamp out the sort of dangerous spear tackle that left Brian O'Driscoll seriously injured during the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005.

But their interpretation of what is deemed dangerous now seems flawed in the wake of the ridiculous four-week ban imposed on Ulster forward John Afoa for a tackle he made during the match against Munster.

A player who has never even received a yellow card in his career is now banned from the crunch Heineken Cup semi-final against Edinburgh. Munster did not complain about his tackle and video evidence does not seem to indicate any malicious intent. A sensible rule now appears to have been hijacked by officials whose sense of self-importance outstrips their common sense.