Poll: Did Jared Payne deserve to see red?


On Saturday night Ulster fullback Jared Payne was sent off for a reckless tackle in the air on Saracens’ Alex Goode. It undoubtedly changed the game, and there has been much debate about whether referee Jerome Garces was right to send him off or not.

Payne’s defenders claim his eyes were always on the ball and therefore he is not at fault, but his detractors argue that this does not matter – it was an illegal tackle, Goode could have been seriously injured, and therefore the red was completely justified.

Over to you now – do you think referee Garces got it right? Did Payne deserve red? Watch the video then vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Did Jared Payne deserve a red card for his dangerous tackle on Alex Goode?

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Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

59 thoughts on “Poll: Did Jared Payne deserve to see red?

  1. The “deserve” word is so harsh – I assume though that’s the deliberate angle you want on this poll?

    So – legally correct application of rules? YES.

  2. Good point on the wording Brighty.

    Can’t believe how close this poll is! (currently at 41:39 in favour of red).

    It had to be a red. No other option.

    No malicious intent, but intent has nothing to do with the rules.

    Goode is very lucky not to be severely injured.

  3. Had to be a red. The fact Goode got knocked out from the landing is irrelevant. If a player is in the air and you are going to challenge him for the ball, his saftey is your first priority. I’m sure the vote wouldn’t be this close if Goode had rotated a few more degree and snapped his neck. The argument wouldn’t go, “yeah, Goode will never play again but it sort of looked lik Payne was starring at the ball…”

  4. The fact that he has his eye on the ball the whole time is not really a reasonable excuse.

    “I had my eye on the bullseye the whole time, so it isn’t my fault that I failed to spot the man wander onto the firing range”

    My understanding is that players have a responsibility for the safety of everyone on the pitch. That includes those on the opposition team. That is why there are rules in place to prevent injury.

    Payne might not have intended the tackle, but he should have been aware of how dangerous and reckless it was to fail to check his run against a player in the air.

    Intentional? No
    Red card? Yes, on the grounds of reckless, albeit unintentional play

  5. For me the issue is consistency. If a player on the ground making contact with a player who is in the air constitutes a red, fine. That simply isn’t what is applied universally at this time.

    1. I’m torn in this. There clearly are inconsistencies.

      But, it’s the severity of the tackle that makes it a red. A player can be taken in the air in a less severe manner, and receive just a yellow. For me there shouldn’t be (and I can’t think of one) where it is only a pen.

      This one is clearly a red because he goes straight through him, leading to Goode being completely flipped onto his neck, seriously dangerous.

  6. So every high tackle, when a player is grabbed around the head, is a red card? Payne was watching the ball the whole time. Goode saw this and jumped to beat Payne to the ball. I was talking to Francois Pienaar after the game and he said it was definitelynot a red card.
    At the same time I am delighted that Alex Goode was fine about 15 mins later and was joking and laughing in the dug out. A very harsh decision as the ref was pulling out the yellow card and the TMO told him red. A difficult one arguments on both sides. It ruined a good game, but both players livr,to play another day.

    1. Don,
      “Payne was watching the ball the whole time. Goode saw this and jumped to beat Payne to the ball.”
      Does that imply that you believe Goode was watching Payne and the ball, but that Payne was watching only the ball? Despite running directly at each other.

      It is not proven of course, but I find it incredibly hard to believe that Payne was unaware of the opposition Full Back coming toward him and jumping to claim a high ball. In rugby today (especially top level rugby), it is the absolute exception that high balls are not claimed in this manner.

      I think that “reckless” sums it up perfectly well.

      I am not sure that my neutral viewing of the game saw it as “ruined”. I thought that it was a highly entertaining game.

  7. Does anybody know the wording of the rules?

    Seems to be a massive grey area of intent vs. outcome

    If Payne also jumps then they take each other out, but it suddenly becomes legal (well at least I think it does, as those types of mid air collision are seen a lot without penalty)

    1. Simply;
      “A player must not tackle nor tap, push or pull the foot or feet of an opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play.”

  8. Rob Cook on Joe Simpson 10’25” into the Wasps Vs Gloucester game demonstrates the perfect example of how to do it properly. Eyes on the ball, glancing to look at his man, eyes on the ball, etc. Times his arrival to perfection and pulverises Simpson.

    If running round looking at the sky becomes a legitimate excuse for taking guys out in the air then there’s no incentive to do it correctly. It clearly wasn’t intentional (i.e. he put himself at risk as well) but it was dangerous, far more dangerous than many of the 91 degree tip tackles that have resulted in reds, and easily avoidable (glance at the man). A fair red.

    1. “far more dangerous than many of the 91 degree tip tackles that have resulted in reds”

      Yep, with all of the furore about this red I can’t but help cast my mind back to a non-intentional and clear red card tackle in a world cup semi-final…

  9. For me it isn’t a red card. Yes you’re responsible for being aware of the players around you, which is what a yellow card is for. It is clumsy (very much for the want of a better word) reckless even, but if you make that the standard for a red card, you open everything that is dangerous (and as one of my friends often tells me, Rugby is a dangerous game!) to be a red card. Which is fine, but we all know that people will be complaining and calling a farce when you get a game of 13 v 12 or teams playing nearly the whole game a man down (yes they are extreme examples but I’m sure you get my point)

    Also the thing that annoys me is the ref has clearly taken into account the end result, which we’re told doesn’t come into it, but how can he then say it’s a red because Goode’s contact with the ground is with his head? Is he not saying ‘if he didn’t land on his head it is only a yellow’?

    1. I think people saying this is daft etc as we’ll have hardly any players on the pitch are a bit hysterical – because we do manage to get through most games without any incidences like this or red cards. So saying we shouldn’t card this because if we do we may ruin the future of the game is not backed up by what actually happens.

      “Also the thing that annoys me is the ref has clearly taken into account the end result, which we’re told doesn’t come into it, but how can he then say it’s a red because Goode’s contact with the ground is with his head? Is he not saying ‘if he didn’t land on his head it is only a yellow’?”

      But that happens all the time with tackles – if you tackle the man in such a way that his head hits the ground first then it’s red, if it doesn’t then it’s fine and/or yellow, depending on other factors. I see no inconsistency there.

      If I go to punch a guy (totally different from the Payne incident as that’s intent) and miss then that it’s probably not a red card. Connect and it’s instant red.

      So the outcome often comes into it.

  10. My issue with judging offences by the outcome, or at least the outcome having a factor in the severity of the punishment, is that it provides an opportunity for a player to exaggerate in order to influence a referee. I don’t believe there was exaggeration in this example, but it would present the opportunity.

    I don’t think you could even cite the honour in the sport as being a deterrent, there are plenty of examples of players exaggerating being blocked off the ball, and that’s normally just to win a penalty, or maybe a yellow. A red card is an enormous advantage, so it’s probably even more enticing.

    1. But if you tackle a guy in the air it could be:
      – You mistime it, get him slightly early but wrap the arms and tackle him safely (penalty)
      – You take his legs out but he comes down on his back, it’s reckless (yellow)
      – You take his legs out and he comes down on his head (red). If it’s intentional then you’ll get a longer ban.

      Giving a red for a player coming down on his head doesn’t mean that slightly mistimed but still safe tackles can’t still be a penalty. Don’t see there’s an issue with consistency or differing severities of punishment.

      Where I do have an issue is with players who jump into a tackle, they aren’t getting airborne to claim a ball, they are getting airborne to prevent themselves from being legally tackled. Too many of those result in yellows and reds as it’s not easy for the tackler to pull out, he hits legs where he’s expecting to find torso.

  11. Has anyone on here ever been in the heat of the moment in the first few minutes of a rugby match……a definite red??? I supposes those people also agree that Warburton deserved a red against France in the world cup.

    Yes it’s a bad challenge, yes regardless of the injury which shouldn’t factor into it it was dangerous. Payne almost knocks himself out going for the ball, he doesn’t tackle the guy in the air look at the way he falls. He runs into.

    Now I agree that it is wreckless and is dangerous and does put Goode’s health at risk, come on, a red card seriously!! Its the first four minutes, no intent, just pure adrenaline, don’t ruin the match with a red card. Yes Goode was injured, yes thats a shame, its rugby come on forwards get pulled down from that height in the lineouts and fall on their back god knows how many times with at most a penalty.

    Simply put this isn’t a red.

    1. “I supposes those people also agree that Warburton deserved a red against France in the world cup.”

      Well yeah, most people do. A lot of these arguments are also similar to those that arose around then e.g. it’s a big match, it’s early in the game, don’t ruin it, etc. Same things apply now as then – a red is a red for the full 80.

      The point of this card, as it is was with Warburton’s, is that intent is irrelevant and everyone has to realise that they need to play within certain boundaries as defined in rules. Tip tackles, while often not intentional, are dangerous. The player needs to stay in control of the tackle and put the man down safely. Taking a mans legs out in the air, while often not intentional, is dangerous so you have to avoid that situation.

      As for consistency – we can all cite occasions where this rule was not applied – doesn’t mean this one was wrong, means the other instances were.

      I was gutted beyond reason at that red card in the world cup semi so Ulster fans have my utmost sympathy. It did ruin their chances, as it did for us in the WC. To be brutal though, it doesn’t matter. It’s a red and no ref is going to get into trouble for giving it.

    2. Why does the time in the game have any bearing on it? It shouldn’t. Because it was so early in the game my first reaction was “he’s going to get away with a yellow”, but fair play to the ref for not copping out of a tough decision.

  12. To play devils advocate, around the 70 min mark a Saracens players deliberately tackled an ulster player in the air from a restart. Wasn’t a particularly big hit and the ulster man landed on his feet. For the sake of consistency should he not be carded as well. (Don’t remember the 2 players involved). Only a pen was awarded. My personal view is that every attempt should be made to keep the game 15v15 (ignore yellows). As it was an accidental collision I think yellow would have been enough.

  13. Oh I agree it is a little hysterical and don’t think it will be a common thing, as I said they were extreme examples, but for me this incident, is the harshest red card I’ve seen given the lack of intent involved and as such it would kinda of suggest that ever yellow given for dangerous play would know become a red.

    And where I said it annoys me I wasn’t just referring to this incident (sorry should have made that clear) but in general. And the reason it annoys me are that most people say this is a red card because he could of done this could have done that and intent and if it was malicious doesn’t come into it and neither should the out come, But in this case the ref has clearly cited the outcome as the reason for it being red and not yellow. If Goode lands any other way than on his head it’s a yellow, which is want causes the inconsistency, as the ref should judge the challenge not the result, which they don’t they judge the outcome. Your example of throwing a punch is a great one, if two players throw a punch (be it at each other or two different games or whatever) and one connects and the other doesn’t they should both receive the same punishment as it should be the challenge or the action and not the outcome which is judged.

    The reason I find this so harsh is because he has no control of Goode and by that I don’t mean he is out of control. This isn’t the same as a tip tackle when you have to make the decision to lift the player and therefore what happens afterwards doesn’t matter if it was meant or not. But with Payne the first he is going to know of it is the split second before his head makes contact with Goode’s hip! You can see by the way he gets throw onto his back that he doesn’t have time to stop.

    1. Are there any laws or guidance to refs to say don’t look at the outcome? Genuine question I have no idea.

    2. I agree generally with what you are saying, but not with a few points.

      Yes the outcome does matter. It is about being in control and aware of your surroundings. If you take a player out and they land on their head, red card. If you take a player out, but are aware enough of the player that you don’t flip him upside down, yellow card.

      Also, the comparison to the tip tackle assumes that tacklers intentionally tip a player.

      “This isn’t the same as a tip tackle when you have to make the decision to lift the player”

      Often, a player does not intentionally tip a player. It is often the speed and power of the hit. If you attempt to tackle someone driving up (very common) in order to really hit them hard, they can lift and due to the speed all this happens, players can fall unsafely (please see Warburton vs France). Whilst unlucky for the player putting in the hit, it’s a red card.

      1. I deliberately used the word lift and not tip as I was referring to the tackle and like you said if a player drives up and lifts a player, they have made that decision instead of maybe taking the player over their shoulder for example. So if you make that decision and then the player tips in the air intentionally or not, the argument of intent doesn’t matter can be used because he could of made the decision not to lift the player in the first place. (If that makes sense, I’m not very good at explain things, if I’m honest :P).

        As for the outcome and where I feel this incident differs from that of a tip tackle is, the only decision Payne has made is to chase a high kick and then he has run into Goode and the reason I feel the outcome shouldn’t count is because if Goode is ever so slightly lower in the air that he doesn’t flip over Paynes shoulders. You say it is being aware enough that you don’t flip him upside down then it’s only a yellow, but in most cases that isn’t because the player is being any more aware it is just luck. I mean you’ve still taken the player out in the air, so if the challenge is worth a red card then it is a red card, not only a red card if the player lands on his head or not. And the ref has clear said the contact is with the head, therefore sending him off for the outcome not the challenge. That is how I see it anyway.

        The other reason I don’t think the outcome shouldn’t be taken into account is because intent isn’t taken into account. If you can look at the outcome then you should look at the intent and balance the two together against each other. Or neither should come into it and only the challenge should be looked at. I’m not saying one is the right way and the other is the wrong way, it is just for me both get used depending on the ref and this leads to inconsistency, which is what annoys me.

  14. Payne did not challenge for the ball. He kept on running without a duty of care to the players around him. He caused an opposing player to be tipped horizontally and land head first without control, like a TIP TACKLE! It was dangerous play. Red card. The laws don’t require there to be intent.

    1. James, I think you (and anyone who agrees with red) misses a big point … JP din’t see AG (until it was too late) because of the angle AG came from – so what on earth could he do about it? this is very different from a tip-tackle when the player can see quite clearly what the situation is.

      bottomline is that AG simply timed the jump better. yes, safety is highly important but do we really want a game where players are red carded for complete accidents? if so, we might as well change the name to football!

      I’ve read what Brian Moore and some others have said and (just like some of the football pundits) he may be “technically right” but surely responsibility also lies with the referee (and the rule-makers) to keep 15v15 unless there is no doubt whatsoever that a red-card is 101% merited. I’m sure the players and fans would prefer it this way.

      Finally a disclosure, I’m an Ulster fan who was at the game but, I was with some mates who are Sarries fans and (once they had seen the replay) none of them thought it was a red card and they said it ruined the game for them as much as us Ulster fans.

  15. What does the law state?

    Personally, it seemed that the 2 ran into each other, but does the law mention intent or not? If not, then, recluctanly for me, it had to be a red?

    If it does on the other hand, did another ref eff up another game & dierctly influence the result… & in which case it should not have been red?

    The law is there to protect players & prevent injuries, so, whether the tackle was intentional or not it ought to have then been irrelevent. The law does need to be applied. Refs, IMO, often fudge the law, e.g. the crooked scrum feed seems to be creeping back in!

    Vickery said it was red because Payne didn’t jump for the ball. Presumably then, anyone who doesn’t jump into the air (for the ball) & collides with another player who does, should, by implication, automattically be redded. Wot tosh. Maybe Vics should stick to making cold cures.

    And wot if Alex Goode hadn’t been injured? And wot if Payne had stayed down & rolled on the deck in er, ‘pain’? Put a diff complexion on the sit? Likely & the ref would have had even more of a dilema to deal with then.

    Regds Warburton deserving red v France in the WC, well he took the Fr player beyond the horizontal & then also dropped the geezer on his bounce. Tough on W, but better a red than a potential broken gregory for the Fr’man?

    Which brings me back to para 4. (I presume) The law is there to prevent injuries to players.

    However, my belief is that it ought to have been yellow as both players went for the ball. The result was unfortunate.

    And why would Payne take Goode out? It had to be the dumbest (and immoral) thing to have been deliberate act, esp so early in the game.

    But, when time permits, I’ll have to check out that tackle law.

    1. Don, the tackle law is very straightforward. A player is not allowed to tackle, touch or push a player who is jumping to catch the ball. That is the law. It is called ‘Foul Play’ and the sanction for ‘Foul Play’ is a penalty. I know this much.

      I also know that Red and Yellow cards are used as sanctions for ‘Serious Foul Play’. These are the documented ‘Laws’ of the game. So far, so straightforward. To me, this is where it becomes a little ambiguous.

      Unless anyone can point out an actual law, guideline, official interpretation of this, the ‘seriousness’ then becomes subjective by the officials doesn’t it?

      Interestingly, Jonathan Kaplan appeared on Twitter today opining that it should not have been a red card, and again referenced the ‘intent’ argument. I think that ultimately it comes down to the interpretation of the officials, and whether we like it or not, and whether it should or should not, the fact is that the result is very likely to have an influence.

      For what it’s worth, I am naturally drawn to support the refs in situations like this, so position – unless it’s an absolute clanger – is if that what the ref thought interpreted right, then it must be right.

  16. As for Warburton’s WC red, did it utimately ‘ruin their chances’? Is this not opinion?

    It likely didn’t help Wales’ cause for sure, but what in fact did for Wales was those missed kicks @ goal. They were tangible.

  17. People say he was looking at the ball as if that negates the offence. By not looking at where he was travelling he did not take into account he was not going to win the ball.
    He hit Goode not because they were both challenging for the ball as Goode had it and was starting to come down from his leap. His contact was because he did not take care of where he was in relation to a man unable to protect himself who was in lawful possession of the ball.
    That regardless of intent is dangerous play and the red resulted because of that lack of care and because of how Goode came to ground.

    Simple red.

  18. JP din’t see AG (until it was too late) because of the angle AG came from – so what on earth could he do about it? this is very different from a tip-tackle when the player can see quite clearly what the situation is.

    bottomline is that AG simply timed the jump better. yes, safety is highly important but do we really want a game where players are red carded for complete accidents? if so, we might as well change the name to football!

    I’ve read what Brian Moore and some others have said and (just like some of the football pundits) he may be “technically right” but surely responsibility also lies with the referee (and the rule-makers) to keep 15v15 unless there is no doubt whatsoever that a red-card is 101% merited. I’m sure the players and fans would prefer it this way.

    Finally a disclosure, I’m an Ulster fan who was at the game but, I was with some mates who are Sarries fans and (once they had seen the replay) none of them thought it was a red card and they said it ruined the game for them as much as us Ulster fans.

    1. You might interpret that JP didn’t see AG until it was too late. I’d argue that he didn’t look at AG until it was too late. He should have done. He neglected to and it resulted in an opposition player landing on his head, which could have ended his career.

      I don’t see how it can be anything other than red card.

      I also disagree with this sentiment that the officials have a responsibility to keep 15v15. They absolutely do not. They have a responsibility to enforce the laws, the players are responsible for abiding by them.

      1. ever since I was a kid playing rugby or football or cricket or racket sports I was always told …. keep your eyes on the ball! This incident is the first time in my life (and I’m not a youngster) that I have heard that you should be also looking at “the man” at the same time.

        Have you ever seen 2 cricketers running into each other trying to catch the same ball? They don’t see each other until its too late, which is exactly what happened here.

        Asfar as the referees responsibility, if the refs job is just to “enforce the laws” (which are of course, like this incident, always open to interpretation) then why do they constantly ‘coach’ the players during the game??

        Your black & white approach is what kills games … if someone deserves (without any doubt) to get red then thats what should happen, otherwise a red card like last Saturday achieves little but spoiling the game for the 17,000+ spectators who pay good money (including my Sarries pals who paid to fly from England).

        These are hairline decisions which should be treated with as much ‘common sense’ as possible.

        1. Glenn, taking your cricketing analogy, two fielders should never clash when going for a catch. When they do, it is because of their poor communication, as they should absolutely be aware of where the others are, whether looking or talking.

          Surely, telling players to “keep their eyes on the ball”, to the exclusion of any awareness of other dynamics around you, is even more “black and white”?

          The point here is surely that they should keep their eyes on the ball in order to make a successful catch, BUT that there is more going on, and the players are responsible for the safety of others. It should not be a surprise that a high ball will be challenged in the air by a member of the opposing team. Particularly as JP is a full back.

        2. I am puzzled by the comment of Glenn, and of some others, who note that the game was “ruined”.

          Obviously the game was affected, and possibly the result was also affected, by the red card, but I cannot accepted that the game was ruined.

          Personally, a game that ends with a difference of 2 points, with the result literally in the balance until the last whistle, is not ruined.

        3. Couple of things on the cricket analogy.

          Firstly, in cricket you don’t jump into the air to catch the ball, or compete for it, so it is far less dangerous. Second, I’ve played a lot of cricket in the past, and I’d always be expected to be aware of what is around me as I make a catch, communication is key in cricket.

          In regards to the game being ruined, I can’t disagree more. It was a fantastic game. Two points in it with a 35 phase attack from Ulster towards the end. Great match.

          I also have no sympathy with you friends that flew from England to Ulster for a game with a red card. Reason being, I flew for London to Auckland for the WC in 2011 to see Warburton be sent off. Didn’t ruin that game either, it was still fantastic.

        4. I hope Payne will now learn his lesson and modify his technique …. look at the ball, glance at the man, look at the ball, glance at the man.

          Rob Cook gave a perfect example of how to do this against Wasps, timed his arrival perfectly and smashed his man legally. Running round with your head in the air oblivious to your surroundings is not an excuse. It’s poor technique and dangerous (to himself as well).

          Sometimes you do see to cricketers have a nasty collision … afterwards they aren’t happy that nobody had called for the ball.

          A different example to consider, Rugby League has taken a different, and more lenient, view on what is and isn’t a dangerous tackle to not take ‘physicality’ out of the game. Which the guy who has just had 3 vertebrae in his neck broken after being driven head first into the turf probably doesn’t appreciate. These are the risks when players come down head first and anything that results in players landing head first out of control has to be red, intentional or not. Intentional Vs Non-intentional influences the length of the ban.

  19. Generally I’m against most red and yellow cards issued but this time I actually agreed with the red because Payne was reckless to the point of idiocy.

    In most American sports players can be ejected from the game but replaced so the numbers stay the same.

    I’d like to see red cards in rugby mean that the player does not return but he can be replaced by a substitute after a 10 minute period has elapsed. This would give the wronged team a 10 minute advantage (as per a yellow card) and penalise the infringing player but not ruin the match.

    1. Interesting idea, and I do quite like the sound of it to be honest. I have wondered before if we should have another card in between yellow and red which is a 2o minute sin bin, but thought that it could be a bit farcical.

      Your idea is a better one, however the difference between Rugby and american sports (the only one I really know about is Ice Hockey, so that is what I’m going by) is that those sports have the players coming in and out of the game all the time (a bit like rolling subs), so playing with one less players means all the others have to play longer which by the end of the game can have a massive effect.

      I don’t feel this would be the case in Rugby until they started to make subs, which is most likely going to be around the 60 to 70 minute mark. So if we use Saturday as an example and take in the 10 minute sin bin the most it would have affected Ulster is for 30 minutes, which you could argue would have been little enough that they won the game, and some would then argue not fair for a team that was meant to be at a disadvantage.

      But I guess until you gave it a go, we wouldn’t really now. Or brought it rolling subs at the same time.

    2. I think that’s a terrible idea sorry Buzz. The point of a red card really is to penalise the team, not the player. Without it you could have pro fouls being made by players, to stop scores, so they “can take one for the team” get sent off and then the team just have to manage for 10 mins.

      There is no force more powerful for stopping you from being stupid on a rugby pitch than realising you may let your team mates down. Making the rest of them play with 14 because you messed up is a powerful motivator to avoid that. Taking that away just opens the door to sacrifices, we see enough of those already with yellow cards.

      1. But when does a professional (Pro?) foul ever result in a straight red card? The idea Buzz was suggesting is that when a players is reckless or dangerous that player is ejected. So are you suggesting that players are going to deliberately be reckless and dangerous in order to stop a try being scored?

        I think that is highly unlikely and would just lead to a lengthy ban and give the player a dirty reputation.

        I don’t see how changing the red card would lead to sacrifices or taking one for the team.

  20. People are saying that Payne did not take his eyes off the ball. I would suggest that he must have been aware that there would be a Saracens player challenging for it. I also find it hard to believe that he could not see Goode in his peripheral (sp?) vision as Goode was jumping up to catch the ball.

    Intent is irrelevant. It was a dangerous attempt at a tackle and a red card.

  21. Blub

    I think the wording of the law is important. If it includes ‘intent’ then Payne surely ought to given the benefit of no card at all. A yellow would have been a fudge?

    I understand, as in the lineout, a player cannot be played in the air. However, did Payne do this, or did he simply misjudge his attempt at catching the ball?

    Divides opinion 2 to 1 in favour of a red (yesterday at least). Interesting how some seem intent on a black & white view whilst others see it as a shade of grey (hopefully not 50).

    I guess only Payne knows the answer, but this interp biz by the ref leaves me feeling uneasy.

  22. For ‘misjudge’, I ought to have inserted ‘miss’… his attempt at catching the ball?

  23. I am at a loss to see why Jared Payne deserved to be penalised at all. Are the ‘law makers’ suggesting that where 2 opposing players, totally committed to contesting a ball in the air collide, the player jumping higher will always be awarded a penalty and the other player at least yellow carded!! In other words, lets penalise commitment and passion. Payne is an honest and fair player and there was no intent or malice in his actions. He could easily have injured himself very seriously due to his commitment but put his body on the line for his team. Perhaps the referees should remember that this is a contact sport which includes accidental contact.

    1. Payne didn’t contest the ball in the air, he just ran into Goode who won the ball. That’s not commitment or passion, it’s stupidity. Payne was better off letting Goode come to ground, make the tackle, and try to create a turnover.

      Again, the fact that Payne could have injured himself shows the degree of his recklessness.

  24. I felt the red card was completely justified because Payne was utterly reckless and dangerous. I like what someone said above, “reckless to the point of idiocy.” I think it sums it up perfectly. Challenging the ball in the air is one of the more dangerous aspects of the game. I think it’s good policy to eliminate these kind of reckless challenges because they are so dangerous that it could seriously injure or kill someone.

  25. What is reckless about watching the flight of a ball in the air and jumping to challenge for it? He never took his eyes of the ball. Will we encourage players to opt out of challenges? If Payne had jumped higher and both had collided then what would the ref have done, sent both off?

  26. Don’t know how badly injured Goode was, guess we will see when he’s next selected, however it was very fortuitous for Saracens to play almost the entire game with advantage of an extra man.
    It appears to be a tactic in the game to jump as high in the air and keep your legs in the air for as long as possible in order to draw the penalty. Alex Goode jumped so high and travelled so far forward that he collided with Payne’s chest and head. Surely there must be a degree of recklessness in leaping into the air, whilst traveling in a forward direction without regard to your own safety, how is an opposing player traveling at full speed supposed to stop. Surely it would be wise to make this leaping in the air whilst in travelling an offence, it would certainly cut down on injuries, as well as yellow, and when the referee falls for it red cards.

    1. The purpose of the law is to protect the player jumping for the ball because it’s extremely dangerous to be tackled in the air. Payne tackled Goode in the air.

      “how is an opposing player traveling at full speed supposed to stop.” Have the awareness to know they can’t win the ball that way. It would have been a lot easier if Payne let Goode come down with the ball and try to create a turnover after the tackle.

  27. Sy

    Don’t you like Payne? You seem to have it in for him.

    Does the guy have a history of ‘idiocy’ or foul play? And why would he deliberately run into Goode whilst the latter was in the air? To get a red card on purpose & put his side at, as it turned out, a losing disadvantage? I don’t think so. Besides Payne was honest enough not to make out that he was hurt (which he could easily have been) in the (likely accidental) collision.

    It isn’t as black & white as you want it to be.

  28. I agree with you totally Don P. What if the two players had collided without either jumping and both injured? Send both off? Perhaps we should expect both to opt out of attempting a catch for fear of accidentally colliding with an opponent!

    1. The difference is that Goode was in the air and Payne was not. If both had been in the air, I would imagine no card would be given, as it can be seen that both are looking to win the ball.

      As Payne did not jump, he cannot claim that he is competing against someone who has chosen to jump. As he is not competing, he is therefore liable for any contact he makes with the airborne player.

      Later in the game, Farrell and Marshall (I think) both “competed” for a high ball, by both jumping, no cards given.

      2 players both on the ground collide, when it is clear both are looking at the ball, no card.

  29. Eyes on the ball and reckless sum it up BUT which was the telling factor. Eyes on the ball only to that moment when he realised he was beaten for the ball but he went on anyway making it reckless with the player in the air. Perhaps he was hoping for the ball to be dropped – or was hoping to force that outcome – in that split second of taking the decision.

  30. Eugene Murphy, Jonny

    Gr8 article as far as this site is concerned. Getting more mileage than a Dunlop tyre.

    Interestingly Jonathan kaplan & Stuart Barnes disagreed with the red card.

    Whether they were both in the air, grounded or as in this case 1 or each, surely competeing for the ball is the whole pt of rugby innit? I believe both players competed for the ball (watch the replay c10 yds before contact & see that both players’ sets of eyes were on the ball) & the fact that Goode got there 1st, marginally before Payne, is purely incidental.

    Playing the Devil’s advocado here, it could be perversly argued that Goode recklessly jumped into & (altho inadvertinetly) ‘attacked’ Payne’s head area, therefore constituting dangerous play… warrenting a, er, red card?

    Again, I’ve been lax & still not read the tackle law, but as both playeres, IMO, were rightly competing for the ball, a red was likely down to the ref’s interp of an unfortunate injury?

    If we want the competative element taken out of rugby, then maybe we could all watch tidley winks… or soccer, & see players rolling about (as Payne easliy could have done) to sway a suspect ref?

    Nxt? Ah, I’m pooped.

  31. Cug

    I think you need Specsavers. If you watch the incident again, you ought to see that JP had eyes for the ball c10 yds before contact.

    As per my prev comments, why would he deliberately or ‘recklessly’ run into a competitor? Doesn’t make sense.

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