Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Rugby fans wrong over Jared Payne red card

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Graham Luney

Am I the only proud supporter of the Ulster rugby team who's willing to admit that Jared Payne deserved to be sent off against Saracens?

I've been reading a lot about a burning sense of injustice Ulster fans are feeling but I'm not buying it.

In the fourth minute of the Heineken Cup quarter-final Payne clattered into Alex Goode when the Saracens full-back was in the air.

Payne was shown a red card by French referee Jerome Garces and despite some fierce resistance from the hosts, Mark McCall's side closed out a 17-15 win.

It was easy to feel sorry for Payne. There was nothing malicious or cynical about the challenge but that's irrelevant.

It was still dangerous and the fact neither player was seriously injured is a blessing.

Perhaps Payne's emotions got the better of him in the early stages of a highly charged game.

The consequences of the challenge were severe but the referee is there to enforce the game's laws.

We can look at these incidents with our Ulster goggles on or accept that the ref had no option but to send off Payne.

Of course, had a Saracens player taken out Payne when he was in the air and been dismissed, then most of us would be saying 'he had to go'.

Referee Jerome Garces is no cheat.

The only man who made a catastrophic error at Ravenhill was Payne.

Belfast Telegraph

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