Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

Ferris treated harshly, say Ireland legends

Although it is unlikely to be of much comfort to Stephen Ferris, two fellow Ulstermen and ex-Ireland forwards are convinced he was the victim of an injustice at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Controversially, referee Wayne Barnes showed Ferris a yellow card in the 79th minute for a supposed 'spear tackle' on Welsh lock Ian Evans. Leigh Halfpenny kicked the resultant penalty to clinch a dramatic 23-21 victory.

But former Ireland captain Willie Anderson and Lions flanker Nigel Carr -- both Triple Crown winners -- rallied to Ferris' defence.

Anderson reckons Ferris picked up the tab for the match official's earlier decision to send Welsh lock Bradley Davies to the sin-bin.

"There's no doubt about that in my mind," Anderson said.

"What you saw was a bit of a domino effect with the referee probably thinking: 'I've given a yellow card to a Welsh player so I'd better do the same here.'

"But the two incidents weren't comparable and that's where I think the referee was wrong.

"Davies deserved to have been given a straight red. Warren Gatland admitted that after the match. And I think Ferris was very unlucky to have been carded."

But Anderson did see Ferris' tackle as meriting a penalty.

"As per the letter of the law, the referee's decision was right," he said. "I know it looked harsh, but I can understand why he gave a penalty. The card, though, was wrong. There was no intention on Ferris' part to injure his opponent and the fact that he then suffered the same fate as Davies made no sense to me.

"Davies' tackle clearly was dangerous. But Ferris? No. So while the penalty was fair enough in my eyes, I disagreed with the card. It didn't surprise me when he gave it, though."

And Carr also did not feel that Ferris had done anything wrong in tackling Evans. "What Davies did was dangerous; Ferris' tackle was not in the same category at all. There was no intention to cause injury, absolutely none," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph