Contentious Manu Tuilagi tackle splits the rugby world
It was not a good weekend for England players and their tackle technique. First it was Owen Farrell on Friday against Gloucester with a high tackle that many felt should have been a red card, and on Sunday Manu Tuilagi’s tackle technique was also under fire against Harlequins.
But while Farrell’s tackle was not looked at during the match, referee Wayne Barnes did look at Tuilagi’s high shot on Tommaso Allan during the match and concluded that there was no foul play. That has caused a social media meltdown.
There is no denying that Tuilagi made contact was the Quins fly-half’s head in the second half in Sale Sharks’ match, but there is no denying that Allan had dipped significantly just before contact after dropping a high ball to the point where he was basically on his knees when the tackle was made. That is what has caused the division amongst fans.
Ben Kay highlighted in commentary that there was not actually much effort for Tuilagi to wrap his arm in the tackle either, which is why many online think it was a red card, or at least yellow. Plenty of conspiracy theorists have also come out of the woodwork as well suggesting that England players are getting away with illegal tackles at the moment because the Six Nations is upcoming (although Farrell has been cited, which kind of goes against that point).
Though he was taken off at the time, Allan took to Instagram after the match to say that he is “all good”.
Take a look at the tackle:
Here are some of the comments for Tuilagi being red carded:
“So Owen Farrell (repeat offender) and Tuilagi both escape red cards with the 6 Nations looming? Waiting for the excuses from those NH “fans” who constantly troll about NZ players only avoiding sanctions for dangerous play… which is a myth when you review the stats.”
“Direct contact to the head is Foul Play. You start at red and mitigate down. The fact that both players were so low would be enough to mitigate to yellow. Wayne Barnes was plain wrong.”
“Seen it in multiple games where the falling of the player hit is not used as mitigation, Manu was not pulling out of that tackle, arms not showing any sign of wrapping and direct contact of shoulder to head, should have been red.”
“To all those trying to defend Tuilagi: he’s not “committed to the tackle” or “trying to pull out of the tackle” (seriously?), he goes in shoulder first not looking in front of him, even if Allan dips. That’s reckless. And that’s a red.”
“That’s a yellow at least… head contact can he mitigated down but it’s still direct head contact. Odd decision. I wonder if the ‘celebrity’ of rugby is in play here or the relationships of refs to players. All the top refs know the lads personally, does it sway decisions?”
Here are some comments defending Tuilagi:
“Because it was unintentional…
Allan was falling and dipping…
Tuilagi was actually pulling out…
There was clearly, no malicious intent…
I think the referee looked at this carefully and made the absolutely correct decision!!!”
“Probably because he’s literally on his knees when the contact occurs?”
“Allan is on he is knees when contact is made. If he catches the ball and lands on his feet the tackle is in the midriff.”
“Because if Allan lands normally Tuilagi executes a perfect tackle. It’s a rugby collision as there is mitigation that Allan has dropped drastically. Manu is not high.”
“The head contact was caused by, unfortunately, Tommy Allan falling over…not by a high tackle…Manu was bent at the waist…so no foul play…play on…correct call.”
“You want to punish a man who was fully committed to the tackle well before the attacking player dropped the ball. How did you want him to get out of that?”