191 thoughts on “RWC 2011: Wales v France Post-Match Reaction

  1. Wales were robbed. Absolutely robbed.

    Brave performance though. Very disappointed for them.

    The big jug wil surely remain in the Southern Hemisphere.

    1. Alain Rolland you just destroyed the World Cup. Wales were robbed alright..what a knee jerk reaction..would’ve expected more of a Ref at a game of this calibre…not only are Wales out but as far as I am concerned the RWC is over. No Ref should be able to single handedly ruin a World Cup Semifinal like that…should HAVE to be reserved decision & only Red Card on agreement withTMO Judges. Unbelievable!!! This RWC will go down in history for its shocking Ref decisions that have skewed the results..Wales you will always be the winners in my eyes as were the Boks against the Wallabies!!!

      1. The difference between Wales and South Africa is that Wales stepped up after losing a player 20 mins in. Yes they missed a few chances, but put in a brave performance.

        South Africa had all the possession and played stupid rugby.

        Here’s a tip, every RWC has controversial ref decisions. Just ask the kiwis.

    2. It’s all gone quite in Wales, Yes its all gone quite in Wales…………

      In all fairness Wales played well and it is a shame they did not make the final against New Zealand as the two best teams should but Allain Roland got the call right.

      Malicious or not the player was lifted and turned 180 degrees, had Clerc landed on his head in could of resulted in horrific injuries and that is the most important thing the referee focussed on.

      Wales should take the positives out of this great attacking Rugby and only were edged out by a point in there two losses, as an Englishman I hate to say it but they are the team to beat in the 2012 6 Nations.

      In the end Warburton got what he deserved and in the context of the game tank god Clerc got up and walked away.

  2. Warburton and poor kicking cost Wales the game not the ref. Though the tackle was not a spear tackle under the ref guidelines it was dangerous and must receive a red card. The ref had no option. Once a player is lifted past the horizontal and either thrown or dropped then the punishment must be red.

      1. Go back and read the guidelines and I think you will find the ref had no choice. Zero tolerance is in, intent does not matter. The ref does not really have discretion. Would you be saying the same if the french player had a broken neck. That type of play must be driven out of the game at all levels

        1. Actually I suggest you go back and read the guidelines. Two facts for you

          1) the letter of the law states with regards the offence ‘with no regards for player safety’. Sam Warburton, obviously realising his poor body position and the danger about to happen to the opposing player, releases him rather than drives him into teh floor. The opposite of not having regards for the player safety.

          2) The IRB directive before the RWC for such tackles were to ‘start at red and work back from there’. This means they recognise that there are instances that you can work back form red from, and I would say a player releasing a player rather than driving him into the ground, so as to avoid causing injury, is pretty much what ‘working back from there’ was designed for. An unintentional but dangerous tackle he did his best to pull out of. Yellow card.

  3. Disagree entirely with Gluv51. It was not a red card. You and Alain Rolland are the only ones to see it like that. Millions of other people cant be wrong.

    1. Oh yes they can. Read the ref guidelines they are crystal clear. However Alain is a French name and he should never have been chosen as he has a french parent. Poor kicking still cost Wales the game and why did they not go for the drop goal near the end. I am gutted but it is not all the refs fault.

      1. In a semi-final, a decision of that magnitude should have been referred.

        I don’t believe the ref was biased. I think he showed poor judgement.

        Wales had their chances in the second half because of their brave performance despite playing with the odds significantly stacked against them.

      2. Of course the ref can be wrong. Guidlines are guidlines -look up the meaning.
        See the final and see how many hard hits there are which would be questioned over here. No consistency!

  4. The ref has a french name. He wouldn’t be a french canadian by any chance!!!
    If so he should never have been chosen.

  5. Wales 100% deserved to win. Even though there was the red card which personally i think was a bit unfair, the ref had to do what the rules state but the ref was completely blind of the forward pass, incorrect joining of the ruck, the list goes on, so i think the game was very bias. They put their heart and soul into the game and really deserved a win especially with the great try.

  6. i completely agree with lori, the ref was irish, with a french name and seeing as we just beat ireland and are playing france, he should never have been chosen

    1. Not just french name, his dad his french, so he is half french. Which if you think about it means he would have less national bias if Ireland were playing France in a semi!

  7. edge of the seat game. Thanks to both teams for a great spectacle. Oh yeh the ref is Irish so no conflict there.

  8. Its a sad day for the game of rugby when a tackle like that results in a red card – irrespective of irb directives, it was clear there was no malice or intent to injure, which is the key difference between a red and yellow card, and why the ref is given the ability to use their judgement on the field.

    Sure wales could have won if they had got their kicks, but they should never have been put in the position they were

  9. Yes, Ive just found out he was supposed to be Irish, but does’nt sound it. We know from experience the ref has too much power. Why couldn’t captain ask for video clip with something so serious as a sending off. Also an appeal at half time with officials rewatching game….such a shame one man can ruin tournament.

    1. You really talk nonsense the referee does not have too much power, I know lets encourage the players to crowd the referee, question his every decision and intimidate him………. oh wait thats football!

  10. As an English supporter I have to say the Welsh team showed us what real Rugby is about.

    The refs decision was one of the worst I’ve seen. The authorities have to act to prevent this type of injustice. It wrecks the event and the sport.

    Wish I was Welsh today!

  11. Awful reffing decision against a player with no record of malice or intent, Sam even let go of the player when he realised the tackle was going wrong. Having said that it’s a great pity that we didn’t have kicking boots on – you can’t afford to throw away 8 points at this level. 25 phases at the end and we couldn’t set up the drop goal, and the ref couldn’t see any penalty infringements.
    Not overly worried about the third place match, I assume Sam will have to miss it anyway. Does anyone know if the card carries over to the Six Nations, or to the next world cup?

    1. Are you actually serious? This bulls*** about him being a clean player..same c*** said about umaga. Definite red. Can’t let players away with it. You’re obviously hurting but get real. Doesn’t matter if he hasn’t done it before..he’s only himself to blame. Feel terrible for the welsh. France reminiscent of England 07. Hope they get stuffed in the final by allblacks. But If nz lose to Australia have to support French

  12. The referee’s decision has to be queried with the question “why did he make a decision which has unanimously been critisised as an appallingly wrong decision”

    Whilst I am not making any accusations;

    There are only only three options

    I. It was a fair decision – universally ruled out of the equasion by the pundits.
    2. It was incompetance – the referee’s C.V. makes this unlikely
    3. Bias – that raises two questions

    1 is he a francophile ? 2. has Rugby Union joined all of the other sports which has been tainted with fraud and match fixing ?

    If I were the MD of William Hill I would meticulously examine the betting profile and if anything unusual shows up I would cancell all bets on the match and on the French team.

    If any major irregularities showed up I would refuse to take bets on any future match in which that referee takes part.

    I am not a particular fan of the Welsh just have a suspicious nature.

  13. I do not think it is over for us yet though for next week as we have such a great team especially with george north, hook and stephen jones, i think the team is the best its ever been

  14. Hi everybody from France.
    Yes, Wales was better and beautiful. Even me I wanted kick the ass of my team…Really
    I see lot of criticise bout the referee decision.
    During the competition, several players had red card, even one french player, named estebanez, against Tonga and it’s was too hard decision ( see the difference between Warburton and Estebanez, see video)
    I’m not stonnish about commentary about french. For examples, François Pienaar a a South African, who stolen the victory in 1995 against french team..( the Benazi try was refused against south Africa) tell that we are the worst team of the competition.
    So, the newspaper , the TV, the world are english language….It’s always fight against the latin world in fact…against us.

    1. BONSOIR
      VOTRE EQUIPE DE FRANCE est tres mal parce que Monsieur Liveremont est un homme tres arrogant est aussi tres stupid .

      En le finale la France ne peut pas gagner !!!!!

    2. Marc

      first, i was at the SA France game in 95 and Benazi was well short

      second, welsh lad shouldn’t have dropped the french lad on his head, we all know the rules on this.
      besides wales had more than enough chances to put the game away.

  15. Wales were robbed although they were the better team. S Rugby is a hard sport but to have a referee who is not up to it makes it more difficult.
    Francois Pienaar was so annoyed thought he was going to jump through my TV screen.

    For those interested From Wikipedia
    Alain ‘Colm Pierre’ Rolland (born 22 August 1966) is a former Irish rugby union footballer and current international referee. Rolland, whose father is French, speaks fluent French!! He did not stop throughout the game and you could hear more French than English!! The IRB referee selectors should be sacked!! They have totally mishandles the entire event!!

  16. I backed Wales all the way – they are the complete team. I respect Alain Rolland more now than ever before. Youngsters need to realise that spear tackles result in people lying in bed for the rest of their lives. Do you give a yellow or red card to a player that has broken a players neck?

    I’m disappointed because i believe Wales would’ve hammered France but Warburton will be a better captain and I look forward to a great Welsh team….

  17. Thank you Csquared for that info and proving my suspicions. I cannot understand the selectors being so blind! There should be an inquiry. We don’t want this happening again.

  18. Rolland is Irish but nobody in Ireland could possibly begrudge Wales beating us last week..only ourselves to blame. Definite red card..Wales once again looked caught in the headlights over the final part of the match with victory in their sights..just like the south africa pool game. Feel terrible for them as it would probably have been a much better final with them there. Warburton deserved to go..foolish to make any excuses. Shows how important 7 and 10 are to the team. Left a lot of points out there. Jones was too cold going into the game

    1. Did you watch the same game!? Never a Red card and the Wales team clearly would have beaten a shockingly unfit and unimaginative French team.

  19. I’ve contacted the key sponsors to help them understand the need to get the RWC to do something to prevent this type of injustice.

  20. The exact wording od a spear tackle as directed by the IRB’s Paddy O’Brien, IRB Referee Manager and Tim Gresson, IRB Judicial Panel Chairman

    The player is lifted and then forced or “speared” into the ground. A red card
    should be issued for this type of tackle.
     The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the
    player’s safety. A red card should be issued for this type of tackle.
     For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles, it may be considered a penalty
    or yellow card is sufficient.

    In my opinion neaither point 1 or 2 were infringed by Warburton but therefore point 3 of this memorandum should have been used. At no time was the player forced or speared or was it from a height with no regard for the French players safety. Yoy could see warbutyon making sure by leaving him go when his head was no more than 4 feet off the ground. Totally incomeptant refereeing. I am on my way out to assess to officials in another team sport. If they umpire like that they will be removed from the appropriate panel for a period until they understand what is required. So sorry Mr de Leeuw you are wrong with your interpreation of the directive!!!!.

    1. Csquared, dropping someone when their head is four feet off the ground is what I condider to be ‘ a height’ . After tipping the player so his legs and hips were above his head. letting him go to drop to the ground head first is a spear.

    1. I am absolutely smarting about the decision of a half french ref to red card our beloved and so disciplined Sam Warburton. Why did they use a ref who had so much french in him the decision he took to red card Sam in effect ruined the game for Wales in that it took the heart out of the team and that heart was Sam.

      having read about Alain Rollaind, even his french name should never have been used in a game between Wales and France. How do we know what was really going on in the ref’s head – afterall he could have favoured france due to his own roots. The decision should have been a yellow card and sin bin. i am tamping mad over this as i am sure most of our beloeved Welsh fans are.

      Wales is now known as the fittest, most hard working, disciplied, exciting rugby team in the world by all the experts over at the world cup, and i do not think anyone can believe that this half French ref ruined the semi-final in such a banal unthoughtout manner. He should never have been chosen for the matach given his french family roots.


      1. shut up u buffoon ref was spot on with decision . must stamp this out of game or kids will copy it . highly dangerous stuff . what about late penalty to win it . not a pen as ball was clearly out but u not mention dat atall . warburton only himself to blame , he knew the rules . ref could have chickened out but he took unpopular but correct decision . welsh nation disgracing its self with it carry on over this . ref applied the rules of game plain and fair . what about wales try v ireland in cardiff last march . u very quiet now . france would have won anyway they have better players so shut up and stop disgracing welsh rugby . we need more ref with courage like rolland . to clean up the game .

    2. Cairb. There was no sinister agenda, simply an overreaction by a referee who has the option to consultant his assistants. Warburton released the player when he realised he was tipped, he did not maliciously drive him in the ground, Clerc miked it, yellow card. Rolland has a reputation for enjoying the world stage in big matches, unfortunately he will forever be remembered for ruining the 2011 RWC.

    1. It’s a huge disappointment. You have to ask yourself – would you sacrifice one youngster with a broken neck to be in the WC final? As a father i’d be shocked if you would…

      Alain Rolland is probably a father or witnessed a player breaking his neck – I broke a leg in a game – I’m sure I’m one of many who’ve broken limbs in rugby games.

  21. Ben I think a player almost having his neck broken is a little more serious than bad language. Course I was watching the game and I appreciate you are all upset..just be a little objective here

  22. France V Wales
    With a world wide audience of half a billion people, you need to be certain regarding any decisions. The sending off after 20 minutes meant effectively you handed the game over to the French team. The referee had time to think and make a decision which was balanced and fair. (He did not).

    The only connclusions , the Referee was biased , currupt or incompetant , what ever he effectively ruined a spectacle for millions all over the world.

    What conclusions to make after an appalling decision, .

    Why was a referee with a French parent allowed to referee this game.

    I would rule out curruption, but biase can not be ruled out, I would suggest that this referee never have the chance to referee an international match where his French team are are involved in the future..

    Looking at the incident which was a yellow card at most. The two international sides would have reached a result fairly, However it was not the game but the official who the millions of people are looking at in disgust.

    1. I saw Schalk Burger tipped over a couple of weeks ago – can you imagine our hero with a broken neck – everyone would be screaming for “jusice”.

      As tough as Schalk is he can’t counter a “spear” tackle.

      I thought it pathetic how so many criticized the Samoans for “rough” play. Come on – we’re a tough nation.

  23. All the comments about the impartiality of the referee are utter tosh. I would have given a yellow but he saw it as a spear. He didn’t need to refer it because he was right there. Wales did so well to keep it as close as it was, heroic effort. They should have won. France have done nothing in this world cup and now they’re in the final. They’ll get thrashed by oz or nz.

  24. Completely agree p de leeuw. This nonsense about warburton being a clean player and intent are completely loosing sight of the incident. I fully support rolland..warburtons tackle cannot be blamed on the ref..again I’d ask people to read the rules..it’s ZERO tolerance policy http://t.co/Hcems9fg

    1. Read the rule you are so keen to quote, Warburton didn’t break it. Being there does not guarantee a clean decision from the ref who has only one viewpoint, that is why you have the option of assistants.These forums are interesting but I will take the opinion of seasoned professionals who have been on the receiving end of poor refereeing decisions at international level. They are unanimous that Rolland screwed up. The quality of officials decisions in this tournament has been low. If the IRB want to spread the love of this great game then they need to effect some continuity. Wales lost effectively because they failed to convert the kicks but the decision is altered the whole game.Wales deserve to be in the final, not us.

  25. Biased ?
    Curruption. ?
    Incompetance ?

    This person with a French parent should not have been allowed to referee this or any other game with his French side

    Half a billion people, an appalling decision, what should have happened a world spectacle, now we are all left looking at the referee with disgust

  26. James, your comment proves my point..read the rules, it is very clear, dropping a player comes within the relevant spear tackle definition..warburton had to go..it’s the law..read the law people!! This is just an emotional reaction to an obvious decision!

  27. No, Caird, It was not a red card, it was a bad decision.

    That so many people are talking about the possible biase of the referee, means it was a car crash waiting to happen. And could have been avoided

    He was the extra man for France,
    The world went flat , waiting for a great sporting event, rather than a hamstrung horse in the Grand National

    1. AG, copy and paste this and come back to mewith a sensible argument. http://t.co/Hcems9fg

      every spear type tackle is being punished with a red card….its just that we are not used to seeing referees taking such action…players are aware what they can and cannot do these days. of course big dump tackles are always great to see and the punters jump with glee when someone is dumped but what warburton did was dangerous…and scapegoating the ref for taking the course he did is stoopid. if hed broken the guys neck would it matter if there was intent or not? man up and realise you cant do those things anymore and get away with it.

    2. We will look back, as Warburton will – after all the emotion – that he made a grave mistake. I noted he had done so before in the WC.

      Let’s back the SA refs – they are the top refs and I hope he won’t receive the same bad response from the Aussie/NZ press? I think it’s a SA ref….

  28. Definitely a yellow card offence. A red is too far, there was no intent to drive him into the ground. It was the wrong call.

    However, I have a lot of sympathy for Rolland, he saw it once, in real time, and made the call. With the dozen slow-motion replays that we’ve had, he might have made a different one.

    All comments regarding his ability to referee, or whether he should do so because of his French heritage and because’s he Irish, are misguided and if I’m blunt, ignorant. He is a professional. The suggestion that his background would sway his refereeing of a match is ridiculous.

  29. Cairb
    A yellow card at most
    It was unfair to demolish the welsh chances with a bad decision fair enough it was close and france played well but wales were cheated by alain rolland

  30. the ref was prejudice i feel and should never of been appointed to ref this game Totally ruined it. Wales played superbly given the circumstance’s. Should be a inquest into this.

  31. Rolland should be banned from refereeing for the forseeable future. He had available the TMO and line judges to consult with, but failed to use them. He has single handedly reduced the World Cup to an irrelevance as whoever wins tomorrow will not be playing the second best team in the tournament ( Wales).
    Though they didn’t say it after the match I’m sure even the French players know they would have been beaten by a full Welsh squad on the field.

  32. I still cant believe people are talking about driving him to the ground….jeees…YOU DONT HAVE TO DRIVE THE PACKLE!!! i have copied and pasted the relevant section from the irb rule book

    The IRB Council has reinforced its zero-tolerance stance towards all dangerous tackles by approving an amendment to the Law relating to the spear tackle.

    An amendment to Law 10.4(j) has been approved to recognise the defensive actions of the tackled player when the arms are outstretched to break a fall and to further ensure the consistency of application of the appropriate sanction for offending players.

    The amended Law 10.4(j) will now read: Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

  33. oops that was meant to read.. you dont have to drive the player to the ground for it to be a spear tackle! :)

    and note what it says about the defensive player…he had no chance to break his fall and that is really important here. absolutely no way it wasnt a red!

    1. I think you ought to not only read the rules, but understand the interpretation of them also. In order for a spear tackle to result in a red card there has to be intent by the person tackling to cause injury. It is blatantly obvious that this was not the case. Should have been a yellow

      1. not true…it says zero tolerance when it comes to spear tackles….there is nothing about intent..you are simply spoofing. read that IRB statement

        1. cairb, you have obviously never played a game of rugby in your life and are completely hung up on the rule book. Go and join a rugby club, play a game of competitive rugby and then make a call on the decision.

          The IRB were wrong to appoint a half French referee as they should have the foresight to mitigate against what has just happened (A half French referee making a decision that has helped the French into the WC final). Alain Rolland should not have made such a rash decision and should’ve consulted a touch judge. This decision has marred the RWC.

          Wales had opportunities to win the game and made critical mistakes. Being a Welshman I am gutted, but if all rugby fans (if that is what you are) had your mentality then we would end up with a very dull game.

          1. reedy, as you are a welsh man hurting i will let your nonsense pass…of course ive played and watched rugby all my life..
            if you are honestly trying to stick up for dangerous tackles of that nature then i appreciate you are simply trying to make excuses.
            thankfully the irb have completely stood by rollands decision and banned warburton for the standard 3 weeks. rolland made the right call….it is a pity that some other referee’s have been inconsistent…rolland was brave and poor wales, shoulda woulda coulda. kicked poorly, had the game in the palm of their hands, blew it.
            i saw some welsh guy in this blog saying he would bet his house that warburton will play next week in the third place play off!!

      2. It is not about intent, zero tolerance is the irb directive the ref had no choice
        Wales lost the game because their captain made a dangerous tackle
        sad but true

  34. Whilst the sending off was massive, it didn’t cost Wales the game.

    If a series of kicks had gone over, Hook’s penalties, Jones conversion and Halfpenny’s long range effort, than Wales would have won this game. That’s a potential 11 points not taken.

    But even if those didn’t go over, why when Wales were just on the outside of the 22 did Stephen Jones not go for the drop goal? The position was perfect, and he couldn’t have got a better position. He choked.

  35. The talk of bias is total nonsense, Alain Rolland got this difficult decision wrong in my eyes & affected the outcome of the game in a way that no ref ever should. However, the fact he is a fluent French speaker is of no relevance, his impartiality should not be questioned and it’s actually impressive when you see a ref talking to non-English teams in their own language.

    Devastating for Wales & Warburton in particular, but he is a brilliant, mentally robust player who will come back stronger. This was a huge opportunity for Wales but the truth is they came up just short, as they did against SA.

    Still a phenomenal achievement to have played as they have and won so many new fans. RWCs are measured in trophies though.

    1. yet again a sporting spectacle excessively influenced by a poor decision from the man in charge .
      International sport is too important to be left to the decision of one man !!!!
      no matter how experienced he is ,he got it totally wrong and the International authorities should suspend him as a lesson to be learned by other refs .

      it did affect the ultimate result and the consequence is that the northern hemisphere rugby is being represented in the final by a second rate poor French team coached by an arrogant man who has no flair .

      Dont think i am even going to watch the final because its going to be so one sided !!!!

      Im not welsh BUT Wales you were robbed by an extremely poor decision by a referee too big for his boots !!!!

  36. tru dat ben..

    feel for jones…came into the game too cold..

    i said it ealrier but wales will only rue the chances they left out on the pitch…arguably phillips could have looked for a better angle with his try rather than concentrating on goading the french lad. anyways thought the drop goal would have been a bit too far out.but yes, after a super penalty to get them on the board, it was an attrocious performance with the boot.

    thought wales lost a bit of shape in the final ten..reminiscent of their game against the boks which was there for the taking..priestland choked that day and jones unfortunately didnt shrowd himself with glory today

  37. I have listened to Pundits. Level headed people ,experts even on this incident , on the net and the TV, Most say it was not a red card. That means there was not enough evidence to make a conclusive decision…………..
    Yellow Card,,,,,,, Millions of people have a game to watch……

    The referee was wrong, Take your pick of conclusions. I have mentioned already
    Biased, Incompetant or currupt

    1. which pundits are you listening to??

      every referee in the world cup has sent players off..

      in fact if people want to talk about intent, i think theres a case to make for arguing warburton did have a choice with that tackle..was it estebenez who got sent off for a similar enough tackle earlier on in the tournament?

  38. Ben/ of course it cost Wales game, the difference would have been , the number of points Wales would have won by

  39. Understandably lots of talk everywhere about the sending off and what the Law says. I agree Warburton’s tackle fell into the definition of dangerous but the IRB directive to referrees which is croping up everywhere at the moment says the ref should start at a red card and work backwards – therefore ref has some discretion and surely that allows the intent to be considered and whether the tackled player was speared into the ground or, as in this case, just dropped.

    I think Rolland got it wrong – penalty and yellow card yes but not a red. Did it ruin the game as a spectacle though? Not sure Wales played with enourmous passion and pride and effort and I think with 15 men would ahve won but you also have to consider the number of kicks they missed, some hard and some easy.

    At the end of the day Wales should have one but kicking let them down but they were massively disadvantaged by a bad decision on the part of the ref early in the game. Wales were emmense and every Welsh supporter should rightly be proud of them but it would be wrong to blame the ref totally for the result although he had far more influence on it that a ref should.

    1. chris, you make a point about discretion that a referee ought to have…however, this is not a case of arguing over a high tackle or stamping. he could have broken the guys neck. intent does not come into this argument and i would refer you to the point about zero tolerance. that is why rolland had no discretion…perhaps the irb can comment on this, but rolland had no discretion, and therefore no choice. it is statutory…no place for discretion unfortunately.

      1. you are wrong
        there were similar tackles in other games in this RWC Samoa v S africa and it was a yellow card
        again no consistency from refs
        they are arrogant !!!!

        1. emm no chris, lawrence yellow carded estebenez during the match with tonga i think it was, and that tackle was cited after the game and he was given a suspension…

          ie the correct decision ought to have been a red card. rolland called it right. no doubt about it. that is why rolland was chosen for the semi final and whomever ref’d the boks samoa game wasnt

  40. i have never written before but find the decision of the ref disgusting the irb a lott to answer even placing a ref with afrench father add irish mother terrible cost wales their biggest game in their history

    1. Alain Rolland is a professional – as I am – In the interest of the game he had the backbone that most people don’t have. I respect him more than before…..

  41. The question must be asked ,why on earth do you have a half french ref in such an important game .The situation gives plenty of ammunition for any loosing side ,not counting the send off.It baffles me surley we could of had an american orCanadian to ref this match so there can be no claim of bias

  42. From a very disappointed but proud welsh man – to all frenchmen
    Congratulations ! you are there ! again ! your record speaks for itself,you do not get that far in the world cup so often and not be a great rugby nation !
    Every one is banging on about nz deserving it this time but nobody has a divine right to win it ,with all your disappointments over the years maybe its your time … it seems that the luck is with you,especially after watching through my fingers this morning…bloody woodwork.
    About the game ,the referee was technically correct in my humble opinion but the punishment was harsh and spoilt what could have been a fantastic contest…in saying that we still had chances to win and did not take them…. who knows what would have happened !
    i think the loss of adam jones was significant and the french scrum looked very strong…i think your boys just do enough and if asked may well have stepped up a gear……. we will benefit from the experience and comeback stronger……allez les bleu…… ps …come on the blacks…no aussies please !
    i actually think that the guy was so small he slipped through his fingers…no malice or intent of injury……but thats rugby !

  43. He may be a professional but he should never have been selected. What if his father was welsh and he sent a frenchman off in controversial circumstances

    1. did anyone mention this before the match…my recollection was that he was a good choice…
      but i still will never forgive him for spoiling the game…

  44. im a professional too btw and i reckon rolland has consistently bee the games best referee. he used to play to a good standard…represened ireland at 7’s if im not mistaken. just a pity he cant ref any ireland big games…simply because he ref’s the fairly and as a former player, seems to appreciate the concept of letting games run

  45. if we are all going with the conspiracy theory…as in past world cups….. is it possible that the kiwis had us nobbled because they knew we would beat them and they wanted the french…easier game… lol…i think its all bollards myself .they won we lost get over it…difficult as it is and i am still quite stunned and upset ,but not at the ref . but in the fact that i thought we had turned the corner to kill games off when we have the chance ,we missed 5 or 6 kicks and did not put the french under enough pressure until too late …. we lost it they did not win it ! cymru am byth !

    1. You are right we did loose it but do you not think that one of the best players in the whole world cup could no of had a big impact and maybe created a number of opertunities to gain the 2 points that would have made the difference. To send the captain off for the whole game seemed very harsh. I am not an expert but from my view there was no intention to spear the Frenchman into the ground,in fact he was aware of the danger and let go the moment he had tackled the man. The only positive I can get from this ,is that i can fully support the wallabies tomorrow ,as I am a Welshman who emigrated to Australia in the 70s

  46. All anyone asks for is consistency in refereeing. Would he have sent Richie McCaw off? More chance of blue snow.

  47. Terrible decision in a World Cup Semi Final, rash, overtones of attempting to spoil the game deliberately. What a terrible choice of ref in the first place. As a welsh man in awe of his team, and as a rugby fan………… Disgusted! At worst a yellow, at worst…. Investigation please and maybe time for two refs on the field to stop travesties like these from destroying the game.

  48. Watched the tackle again…and again. Warburton’s “intent” was a dump tackle that through the intricacies of physics developed into a dangerous situation which Warburton subsequently responded to by releasing the player. Had he held on and carried on through with the tackle he would have done damage. There was no melicious intent.
    All rules have nuanced areas which are subject to interpretation. If this decision is a template for the future, we will end up with a high percentage of dead games. Kick offs, up and unders, lineouts as well as tackles will become a lottery like the scrum resulting in the demise of rugby union.
    As it stands, we now will have a world cup final that will not be contested by the best two teams. Great PR for RWC/IRB.

    1. Well said. Seems that it is not just the players who are affected by tension at this stage of the competition. Thing is, unlike the players, the ref should have the time and composure to evaluate his decisions a bit more carefully. Hard luck Wales.

  49. your right all we can ask for is consistency, i know what i would rather, a inconsistently good ref or consistently bad, the later one of the two gives players a chance as they know where they stand, and yes your right if that was McCaw the man would never ref a game again.

  50. What should have been a brilliant game was dominated by ref.

    If he was correct, what the hell have the IRB been doing to the other refs as, over the past few years (and in this WC), I have seen a number of similar tackles receive either yellow or just a penalty and a talking to.

    Can’t remember the last straight red I saw for this.

    Can’t believe bias, just a man who let a situation get the better of him (resulting confrontation may have got to him)

  51. The referees for this game and tommorrow’s were announced as soon as the participant has qualified. Therefore both teams had oportunity to contest this with the IRB had they thought that it was an issue.
    As for the ruling on the tackle, Alain Rolland has not option but to red card Sam Warburton. The law was amended last year to read “lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.” I note many of you have commented that Sam let go of Vincent in the tackle and this is specifically mentioned above. I suspect if V Clerc had sustained a more serious injury or concussion,instead of just being shaken up, none of this converstion would be happening.
    The ref were instructed that making a judgement as to intent was too subjective when we are talking about the welfare of players. So really no choice, a bad tackle is a bad tackle.
    Unfortunatley some players may suffer by being handed a red card when their ‘intent’ wasn’t malicious, but better that than severe injury to the tackled player.
    The changing of the rule was prompted by the spear tackle on O’Driscoll in the lions tour and we all know what injury he got.

    Shame all our conversation is about one tackle and decision when 80+ minutes of rugby were played.
    Looking foward to tommorrows gaem.
    PS this all comes from a Canadian and proud of it …. so no bias here

    1. that is exactly what i have been trying to say all morning…

      bottom line, zero tolerance is zero tolerance..

      its exactly why decisions of lawrence for Estebanez against samoa were reversed after the game. the citing officers will not tolerate it, and players welfare is paramount. funnily enough, lawrence gave a yellow at the time, the ref of the boks-samoa game didnt give a red neither, and neither referee is appointed for the semi final. rolland made the right choice

      we heard the exact same BS when Umaga and mealamu took o’driscoll out of the lions tour…they are not dirty players etc..intent is not the law, its statutory, zero tolerance, referee has no discretion…had to go.

  52. Let’s get real, Wales didn’t lose because of the red card. Wales lost because Stephen Jones, James Hook and Leigh Halfpenny collectively kicked 1/5 kicks. Not to mention Jones not taking his chance at the drop goal earlier.
    Wales has over 60% possession so the absence of Warburton was irrelevant.
    Kicking wins World Cups, and Wales were shocking, THAT’S why they lost.
    England lost to France on a good day, Wales lost to France on a bad day. Which is worse?? However as always Wales get hailed and England get slated. The paradox of home nations rugby.

    1. you are joking, what a cop out, when playing with 14 players the normal game plan goes out the window. Also players playing out of posistion, you can’t compare the english performances next to the Welsh, obviously you know nothing about the game.

    2. Get real Geraint- where i was standing a number of supporters walked out stating it was over as a contest after sams dismissal. “I agree”, That should not detract from the effort put in by the boys after his sending off.

      The only way Alain could right the wrong was to send off a Frenchman.

      Clearly as a contest it was a own goal and the rugby world puts it self in the same frame as football. For inconsistances in you lift and lose your man your off for good.Sam should have had a yellow for his inability to hold onto Vincent clerc.

      Surely alain is a savings meaure waiting to happen if you look at the O driscoll umaga incident this is unfogiveable.

    3. as a neutral i certainly wont be watching anymore of this corrupt rubbish – how many more games / tournaments // world cups will be decided by the sending off / booking and subsequent suspension of key players to ensure that the designated country / team wins – the sooner people turn their backs on this garbage the better –

    4. The absence of a flanker for most of the game is irrelevant. the same kind of lack go judgement as the referee. Am Welsh and am proud of this team

  53. Wales were robbed by an extremely harsh red.
    Definitely a penalty though and a yellow card at most.
    They had enough chances to make up for it.

    Lots of “ifs and buts”.
    If Phillips hadn’t showboated with his gesturing and dive and touched down further infield.
    If decision making, and execution, about drop goals had been better when the French were hanging on.

    Was the ref. trying to make amends with the atrocious penalty when Halfpenny just missed, it blatantly should have gone the other way?

    The reaction of the Welsh players, both on field and in interviews later, was a credit to them and the game of rugby.
    Even Gatland and Edwards (surprisingly) were measured in their response.

    Just imagine what would have happened in a soccer match!

    1. The onfield and after game response of the players was exactly what I would expect from a group of disciplined individuals. Well done them!

  54. Well personally if france (or any other team for that matter) are at a semi final stage in a rugby world cup and they cant take advantage of a 14 man side for 60 minutes and actually score TRIES then they do not deserve to be anywhere near a final. if they had won by 15-20 points then no argument they should be worthy winners but really 1 point? france can be good but have only been extremely lucky this year. In the final i hope new zeland or australia destroy france. as for the ref how can you have a half french and half irish ref controlling the game. totally bias if i was half welsh i would do the same. as a neutral wales should of been clear winners, my adopted team. played better rugby, and their kicks should of won the game so i would of liked to see them in the final as deserved winners.

  55. The IRB discaplinary commitee will look at the red card incident. You should recvieve nothing smaller than a 3 week ban for being shown a red card, lets see what they think of it, if this action was justifiable then he shouldn’t play in the third place play off and if not he will play. I will stake my house that Sam Warburton will be playing in that match.

  56. Anyone who is questioning Alain Rolland’s decision and integrity are very wrong I’m afraid. I realise that most of the comments on this are highly emotive but emotion has no part in making such a call and neither does the fact that the game was twenty minutes into a world cup semi final. The decision was correct, the tackler brought the player past horizontal and then released him from a height. The rules state that this is a red card and that intention or malice are NOT to be taken into account. True, Warbuton is not a dirty player, he is a fantastic player and will get even better, however none of this effects the ref’s call. To say it should have been reviewed further or analysed at half time is also wrong, this is not the protocol and we can’t have special circumstances depending on the importance of the game. The bottom line is it was very dangerous, the tackled player could have been seriously injured and the rules need to be followed (as they were by the ref) to send out the correct message to youngsters taking up the sport. Questioning Mr. Rolland’s heritage or the possibility of a betting scam are just farcical, Mr. Rolland is a professional referee and has been a great servant to the sport. He made the correct decision.

    1. yep, thats the bottom iine…think i heard somebody call for a reply earlier…have you ever heard such nonsense!!

      zero tolerance fellas…warburton may not be a dirty player…then again he is at the dawn of his career…

    2. ok so how come in at least two other games in this RWC there were two similar tackles and both got yellow
      where is the consistency
      hence a game gets ruined by a subjective decision !!!!

      where is the fairness in that one
      the referees heritage is an irrelevance but his failure to use his given discretion is totally unacceptable and he should now be dropped from the international refs panel .

      1. The consistency comes when both of those incidents were later cited and suspensions handed down, indicating that a yellow card was insufficient.
        Of course decisions are going to be subjective, these referees are humans, not robots. The game was ruined because the player did something to merit a red card, not because he got a red card.
        Sport sometimes isn’t fair, that’s why it is so intriguing.
        To say Rolland should be dropped from the international refs panel for not using his discretion and following the letter of the law is ridiculous, it’s his career you’re calling for there.

      2. the inconsistency is there because you have referee’s who chicken out of making the right decision (red) and leaving it to the citing officer later on. i know of lads who are paralysed because of tackles like warburtons yesterday and i feel strongly about it

      1. That’s a great contribution to the debate Poy, I’ve seen a few of your other snide remarks on this site, would you like to elaborate?

  57. I’m Welsh but not bitter about the result. We had our chances but blew them. A yellow card for Sam would’ve been the sensible option but such is life. But desperately proud of the Welsh team. Great ambassadors for Wales and for rugby.

  58. IMHO all the peeps claiming the ref was at fault should resort to watching and playing Plan B. The refs word is final in rugby always has been and hopefully always will be. It’s the backbone of the game. (discipline)

    PS Plan B is Soccer.

  59. ROBBED!!!!
    apparently the refs dad is french why was he able to to take charge of this game can someone please explain… whats the odds nigel owens, The welsh ref wont be aloud to take charge of the final….
    im guessin all you people sticking up for the ref are english…youve proven you got a shambles of a team sooo please shhhhhhhh……..

  60. Alain Roland red carded the man who was the most influencial player in the whole of the rugby world cup. It resulted in the most enterprising and exciting team being eliminated form the competition. It could have been a breath of fresh air to disturb the domination of the competition by the southern hemisphere.

  61. The ref is not a cheat, just inept. Nothing sinister going on. He could equally have ruined France’s chances of winning the game. As for blowing it? Yes Wales had their chances, but let’s be honest, they could have won easily had they had Roberts in his usual position instead of packing down in the scrum. Anybody who thinks that 14 vs 15 shouldn’t make a difference obviously hasn’t played the game. It’s especially telling when that player is the captain, your main ball winner in the loose, a key tackler, your link man… Loosing an open side flanker is crippling. As for Monsieur Rolland, have a look at report card, it sheds an interesting light on his decision making.

  62. perhaps the final should be a tag match,seeing as a strong tackle is now a sending off offence.Had warburton gone to ground in the tackle in stead of keeping his feet and trying to win the ball like great wnig-forward,he would not even of had a penalty against him.The ref. must of had a rush of blood to the head,leading to a rediculous decision .By the way i am English.

    1. As a Samoa supporter (impartial), I must say that my interest in this tournament has waned after today’s farce. France will be embarrassed to be in the final, which makes a mockery of it all.
      I wish France well, but they will know that they should not be there. Great performance by Wales. If any team could challenge NZ or AUS, it was you.

      1. I m french and I want to tell you that lots of french rugby fans are more than uncomfortable with that poor victory. We did not deserve it, that s it, some think that victory is the only thing that counts, not me, France is just talentless and incredibly lucky. I m a supporter of France, but this time, it is too much.
        We probably gonna get smashed for the final, I do not give a damn ( sorry for my english ).

        1. tres bien Frank votre anglais est mieux que ma francais !!!!
          mais oui vous est frais
          L eqippe francais etais tres mal cet WRC parce que mr Livremont est tres mal !!!!

          ou est l elan de France ????
          mr Livremont doit aller !!!!!!

          bon chance Frank

  63. Maybe the Welsh are now ruing the decision to not include Gavin Henson! He showed how to let Tait down properly in that situation while still making ground and can also slot a penalty from past the halfway line. Come on guys, it was dangerous! I can’t imagine Sam did it intentionally but would that have helped a surgeon repair a spinal cord? As an Englishman I have no sympathy for Wales, they wouldn’t support England if we were playing Al Queda but thought they were magnificent against Ireland and better than the French even with 14 men but being better does not always get the job done. The teams play each other to win on the day, not have decisions made by current form or past encounters. SW was not the only great player, Jamie Robertson was stand out for me, when we still had a shot at progressing it was he alone that concerned me! You don’t need to post about how bad England were / are, we all know it and know there has to be a changing of the guard, rebuild around maybe 5 players but even then, the most valuable lessons will come at the hands of a very youthful, dynamic Welsh team. Anyone but Wales goes the cry :)
    Chin up lads

    1. Totally agree, From a New Zealanders point of view wales easily superior to france and it is a farce that they are in the final in all honesty they have only played 40 minutes of good rugby, but all power to them it is not there fault that calls have gone there way and the opposition have not capitalized. I do have an issue that a team that lost twice in pool play is in the final, Sam Warburton would have made the difference no doubt but the tackle deserved a red card…..


    I thought referees were supposed to be nuetral or does that not apply to Alain Rolland??? If ever I have seen a bias ref on the field it is now bewteen Georgia and Argentina. With Argentina being helped to a win by the ref!!! Disgraceful!!!!
    TEE HEE……. COME ON DI MAN UP !!!!!

  65. The IRB website states the following. Item (j) is the relevant one for the situation today with Warburton’s sending off. I’d like to know where all these good two shoes folk attempting to occupy the moral high ground are getting their information about this infringement. I am English but feel the Welsh were robbed of a place in the final and the rugby watching public were robbed of what should have been a fine spectacle of rugby.

    (a) Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (b) Stamping or trampling. A player must not stamp or trample on an opponent.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (c) Kicking. A player must not kick an opponent.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (d) Tripping. A player must not trip an opponent with the leg or foot.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (e) Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    A ‘stiff-arm tackle’ is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff-arm to strike an opponent.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    Playing a player without the ball is dangerous play.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (f) Playing an opponent without the ball. Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (g) Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (h) A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player.

    (i) Tackling the jumper in the air. 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.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

    (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
    Sanction: Penalty kick

  66. Definitely not a red card for Warburton today. Wales very unlucky, but should have gone for drop goals twice in the second half.

    France haven’t conceded many penalties in the tournament and I think Wales were waiting for them to concede one rather than play positively.

    Good effort from Wales though.

  67. Don’t southern hemisphere refs usually get picked for World Cup knockout matches, and vice-versa?
    Wales didn’t deserve a French-Irish ref with the bias that implies, and because they had brought so much to the tournament.

  68. Nearly 24 hrs later and I’m still gutted. Why did we lose? Very simple – we missed 11 points in kicks. Did Sam deserve to go? The law doesn’t allow for much manoevre, so according to the letter of the law, it’s likely that he did. Should the ref had reacted so quickly? With the benefit of 24 hrs reflection and numerous replays, I’d say no. He should have consulted simply because he needed to be 100% certain. Why? Because every ref I’ve seen in the tournament has been overly cautious in going the TMO to confirm try scores when in the past they’d have made a call; even when linesmen have backed the score. Arguably individual try scoring decisions will have had less impact on the game than Sam’s sending off and as such it required a second and third opinion. Would the decsion have been different even with the TMO? Possibly not because the law doesn’t appear to allow for much interpretation. Was there any flexibility to downgrade the offence? In my view, absolutely since I don’t believe Sam was in control of how the player landed. I also think the rule does not account for such a sweet hit when the tackled player is 20k or so lighter than the tackler since he will inevitably be propelled higher than a bigger man. Why else could I be frustrated? The directive came out in 2009 and the zero tolerance reiterated prior to the world cup, but there have been worse tackles that have been refereed differently. Did it spoil the game? Of course it did. But if we accept that the sending off was correct, (rightly or wrongly), does this explain why we lost? Absolutely not, we lost because we missed four kicks, I.e a total of 11 points that’s a 20% kicking success when 40% would have won us the game. They had 100% by the way. Did the best team win, nope, only the winners won! What was the difference? Our very experienced 10s missed kicks and had poor games. Priestland was missed more than I had expected. What next! We have to kick on in the 6 nations and of course next week. Lydiate should move to 7. In the medium and long term we need to acknowledge that rugby is our main sport and back it. We need a region up north, (there have got to be more George Norths up there, there are some pretty strong farmers up there! We have got to breed some more through London Welsh. We have also got to start nurturing the next generation more actively in the schools and colleges. Can we win in 4 years time, possibly but its a long time away and the likes of the Ausssies are an even younger outfit than us. We need a new breed pushing the current lot next time. Plus we need cryotherapy chambers in all regions and 2 months build up before every international tournament (i might be getting carried away now), however, there must be scope to use the experience of the world cup build up to feed into the regions since I’ve never seen a Welsh team that were so together, so fit and so strong mentally.
    I’ve got that off my chest now, perhaps i’ll be able to sleep!

  69. Very gutted for all my Welsh friends. I felt that they were a much better team and would have had a much better chance in the final, than France who I reckon will get blown away by whoever makes it from Oz or AB’s.

    I think red was wrong and there’s been a huge amount of comment why it shouldn’t have been. It probably ruined the semi and I think it might well ruin the final as a tense spectacle.

    However for those who claim Allain Rolland shouldn’t have reffed it – thats all wrong. Generally he’s been one of the northern hemisphere’s best refs and quite often gets to ref French games because he is a French speaker. I am sure that he has reffed Wales v France games before, with no problems. I was pleased when I saw he was reffing the game and with the exception of this decision, I thought he called it all right.

    The one thing that I think the IRB should look at is a possible video review of all red cards at the time. Rugby is a quick game and refs at the end of the day are only human. They’ll probably argue that this takes away the power from refs and won’t do it, but to my mind better a delay of a minute or two rather than the potential damage it’s done to this RWC.

    Have to say that my predictions as to who was going to win each knockout game have been atrocious. Just as well I’m not a betting man. Don’t think France will have a hope in the final but will support them in a losing cause as an act of Northern hemisphere solidarity!

  70. 24 hours on and I think something went terribly wrong yesterday.
    There might be a case for a red card but if this is is true maybe the game should be forfeited there and then. If I would have travelled thousands of miles, payed for a hotel and an expensive RWC semi final ticket to be told fifteen minutes in that it would be a no contest I would want and deserve my money back. The truth is, Wales almost saved the IRB’s blushes by miraculously beating France with 14 men but anyone who knows the game will tell you that is exceptional. Whatever the law, this is a massive flaw in the game and fans can be hugely short changed. The RWC is now tinged with controversy and we will never really know who the best team on the planet is this year.
    On another note, will props now be red carded for dropping the scrum as this is probably responsible for most serious injuries. But hey, if it’s not in book the IRB will probably side step that one.

    1. What went wrong yesterday was warburtons tackle. Potentially he could have put the french player in a wheelchair. Against that what it would cost you to travel etc is an irrelevance. In 2005 39 palyers in NZ finished up permanently disabled following such tackles ( 8 were school children ) Rugby is a very physical sport but that type of tackle must be driven out of the game at all levels or we may lose the game entirely. The IRB should be applauded for thier stance not criticised as should the ref for his courage.

      1. if it had been nz the ref would never given the red card.As a rugby fan we see tackles like this every week he landed on his back not head yellow card.Never seen red card for a tackle like that.

    2. Cymro are you suggesting that a player should be able to do what they like on a pitch because thousands of dedicated fans have spent a lot of money to travel to this game? What if Clerc had been very seriously injured and the game had to be stopped for twenty minutes while he was treated and then taken to hospital, would this have ruined the spectacle?
      I agree that a prop should be red carded for intentionally dropping a scrum where it can be proved, but it is very difficult to prove. Picking up at player, turning him upside down and leaving him go to hit the ground on his head/neck is (and quite rightly should be) a red card, regardless of the consequences of that decision for the rest of a tournament.
      How you can say the RWC is tinged with controversy because a ref made the correct call is beyond me.
      The best team on the planet will be the team who wins the world cup, plain and simple. All teams have to deal with injuries, suspensions, luck etc. that’s what makes it so exciting.

  71. Having just read that the referee for the France Wales game was Irish with a French father I am absolutely appalled at the decision to let him referee the match – there has to be a conflict of interest there. Wales beat Ireland in the quarter final and the referee is half french!!The IRB is leaving itself and him open to a lot of criticism. I am not Welsh and have no connection with Wales but I am a great advocate of fairness and seeing that fairness is done and unquestionable. Is the iRB influenced by the fact that the IRB is situated in Ireland and want to promote only Irish referees?

    1. What a load of rubbish. The sending off ruined what should have been a great game but the tackle was dangerous therefore it’s the players fault not the referees. Once you pick up a player and turn him over in the air its a red card that is the ruling since officials bottled it during the 2005 Lions tour when the New Zealand players tried, and partially succeed, in injuring Brian O’Driscoll permanently.

      The comment about Rolland is total rot, you must be new to rugby union if you only know his background now. He is one of the best referees in world rugby and has refereed with fairness and total impartiality for the last 10 years. Stop posting wild comments about a game you obviously know nothing about.

      1. Well said my man I could not agree more. There really has been an awful lot of crap on this incident. This type of play must be driven out of the game.

    2. Ahh, don’t be silly. Rolland will tell you he’s Irish ( I think Irish people would be completely neutral on a France V Wales match so he’s perfect for it)… He’s often picked for French matches as he speaks that tongue. Look back at the history of all French matches he’s reffed and tell me that. I’m Irish but I was devastated that Sam made that tackle. He had a moment of madness, and he’s still a great leader. He helped steer Wales to the semis and I’m sure he’ll be back his best soon. And don’t forget the history of why the IRB got situated in Dublin. The English ran it but tried to con the Scots with an illegitimate try on the grounds that there were more rugby clubs in England.. The Welsh, Scots, and Irish formed the IRB and England later rejoined, having nobody to play with, they had no choice really. It’s better run than FIFA, not that that would be hard, and just because it’s in Dublin, doesn’t mean it’s Irish people. The head of the IRB is French…. bah whatever. Look, that’s sport.

  72. I think is that sometimes things are unfair but in this game even if Wales should won the destiny was against them. The referee décision was fair. Look at the rules manual. It is clear about that. The thing is that wales missed of realism and experience during this match.

  73. When a player makes a comment on how he sees inconsistencies in referee decisions, he faces a disciplinary, yet, when a referee completely destroys a game and the hopes of a nation, then it’s oops sorry, human error. Without reprecussions!

    1. Just what human error are you referring to. Oh cant give that decision it will destroy the hopes of a nation.Complete nonsense. I agree it destroyed the game but it was the correct decision. The tackle was dangerous and the ref had the courage to give the red card unlike others in earlier games who have relied on the citing panel

    2. I think it’s every refs worst nightmare to have to judge those events, but a wussy referee would turn a blind eye to it. As was said above, the game could be driven into disrepute if those tackles were allowed. I didn’t know that there were that many players disabled in NZ from dangerous tackles, but it is something that could lead to the end of rugby union if unchecked. Hope the AB’s go all the way now and bring some conclusiveness to this world cup.

    3. Even though he is a fantastic player and will be for years to come, it was Warbuton who “destroyed the hopes of a nation” when he committed a foul worthy of a red card, not Alain Rolland for doing his job correctly. Human error on Warbuton’s, not Rolland’s, part I’m afraid.

  74. What is disappointing about this whole episode is the complete nonsense espoused by the so called experts and pundits. Robert Jones, ex welsh captain is one of the few who got it right when he said that the decision was the correct one but Rolland given no option by the games rulers. Contrast this balanced viewpoint with the invective directed against Rolland by the ridiculous Francois Pienaar during ITV’s half time analysis.
    Rolland made his decision in real time, without benefits of replays, which showed how horrific the tackle was from one angle but not so bad from another, and no a referee cannot consult TMO in this instance.
    I am no fan of the Welsh but very impressed with the dignity and gravitas shown by Jamie Roberts and Shane Williams in their TV interviews.
    The French had the best out half and kicker on the pitch, their scrum was strong, and they have proved in the past how mercurial they can be, so was a Welsh victory a foregone conclusion, we will never know, but they lost because their kickers were not good enough.
    Finally anyone who suggests that Alain Rolland was biased in favour of the French because he half French should be ashamed at such a slanderous suggestion, his professionalism and competence is on record over the past decade.
    He is also half Irish, was it pay back time for Welch “cheating in 6 nations against Ireland, now there is a thought!!

  75. Sam was clearly really fired up for the game. One of his drives a few minutes before the “spear tackle” made me a little nervous about his self-control. It was Spartan warrior stuff. He needed someone to tell him to cool it a bit, and 10 minutes in the bin would have done the trick. It was a dangerous tackle, yes, but entirely due to an excess of commitment, not malicious intent. He didnt punch anyone, kick anyone, gouge anyone, or deliberately try to injure anyone. He just tackled a smaller player with the power gauge on 10 and the guy went up in the air, instead of backwards. In an ideal world, referees will always spot the difference and use their cards accordingly. It’s not an ideal world, and Sam and Wales and rugby fans everywhere have got to live with it. Meanwhile, well done Wales, for the bravest display of 14 man rugby the World may ever see. Cymru am byth!

    1. For gods sake read the rules. Malicious intent is not now relevant. The tackle was dangerous end of story. Red card. To many players including schoolchildren finish up in wheelchairs because of that kind of tackle. Thats not why we play the game or encourage youngsters to play the game.Look at the stats for disabled players. In NZ alone in 2005 39 including 8 children. The fact that this was an RWC semi final is irrelivant. It could be somebody in your club next.

        1. Dont have to start playing touch, just have to know how to tackle properly.
          Look at some of the hits in that Aussie game last night.
          Sam made a mistake, the Welsh still had plenty of chances to win the game but didn’t.
          If the Welsh had stuck with the game plan that got them to the semi finals and ran at the French with reckless abandonment instead of passing one of the ruck to stationary forwards who couldn’t get past the gain line and couldn’t make the French commit to the rucks I reckon they would have done it.
          Lets not forget the kicks they missed.
          The Welsh were a better side, they did miss Sam, but still could have succeeded.

          1. “Sam made a mistake” – I agree, and a yellow card should have punished that mistake. Red cards must be there for a distinction of malicious intent. People have been maimed in scrums due to the opposition having poor technique, people maimed at rucks due to poor technique, people maimed going for the high ball due to poor technique of people challenging for the ball, people knocked out due to uses of shoulders in tackles. In all cases red cards are used when it’s blatantly a malicious foul, yellow for stupid headed incompetent play. Mistakes of that order are yellow, the game is an ass if it’s going to distinguish between mistakes in one area and mistakes in another when players can be maimed in both those areas.

  76. For what it’s worth, I think if the red card had been the other way and France were down to 14 you still wouldn’t have won! Couldn’t finish the pressure game could ya? Bahahaha

      PATHETIC !

  77. With all of the technology available these days maybe refs should not be able to give red cards without going upstairs. He ruined the entire 2011 RWC as now NZ will not be playing the best team in the final. Wales v NZ would have been a great game. Wales totally outclassed France with 14 men. The tackle was not as fierce as many, many others and technically it was not illegal. He was not forced into the ground, landed on his back safely and played on.

    1. mixed emotions, i feel we could have made the final and beaten anyone {au/nz} and won the world cup, ……..and lost our coaches..gatland {kiwi job) edwards {england job} if newzeland failed again to win the world cup and wales had won gatland would be the next kiwi coach…but if the “blackness” {nz} win the world cup then graham hendry keeps his job and we keep our coaches

  78. @Red Card Ref, you are sooooo right, I mean, he got up and played on right. That is exactly the defense I would use (maybe Powell did too) when getting caught for drink driving, “Your Honour, how can I possibly be guilty of endangering others when no one was harmed?, that incompetent policeman just over reacted, I know others have done it and they have not been punished so why the hell should I be?”! What do you think? Do I have a case????? Muppet!

    1. LOL – Oh dear Neil – muppet really??? It was not JUST that he was not hurt. He was not forced into the ground at all, clearly landed on his back not his neck and was ALSO able to get up without any injury – it was not a red card offense. If it had been a bad tackle fair enough but it was a bad call and the outcome is going to be a bad game with the wrong team for the final. It is not tiddlywinks Neil…here have a tissue.

      1. Are you saying you have to injure someone to merit a red card? Whether the tackled player plays on or not is irrelevant. You don’t have drive someone into the ground to deserve a red card, if you turn them past horizontal and then release them to fall from a height it is a red card. These are the rules.

  79. That’s right, he wasn’t “driven” into the ground, he was lifted, turned over and dropped! That, is dangerous! Big man, little man is no excuse either, Tindall managed to safely dump Gregan in 2003 famously (bad grammar, I know). Hard tackling is great, the double team the week before on the Irish player had me out of my seat with glee but come on, just because he wasn’t injured doesn’t mean it’s ok, hence the law! Tiddlywinks? No thanks, Jonno would select the wring pieces :)


    1. An excellent contribution to the debate. All the more valuable as it has clearly been made by someone who has himself been dropped on his head. Keep up the good work!

    2. why dont you choose to support soccer with your pathetic lack of the ability to express yourself in english you would do very well at any premiership football match on a saturday afternoon
      by the way im NOT Welsh but I just hate people like you who cannot express themselves adequately and choose to be anti any country other than the one they were unfortunately born into
      grow up or shut up

      1. mr i make a very valid point bout the tackle incident , rolland got it spot on why u think otherwise . some of the abuse given to rolland was quiet scandalous and was more akin to soccer as u speak of . and have no doubt this wales team will be un heard of in 12 mts from now ( cardiff blues , llanelli , ospreys ,and god help us ,dragons ,) all european powerhouses of course . wales got lucky mr and were fourtunate to beat samoa . and just ngot a good run , ireland will kick themselves cause ire has better players as borne out by my comment above re club teams . ireland would have put s africa and fra away have no doubt mr . i wont be wrong on my assesment u wait and see .

  81. 2 reasons i believe a vidio ref would have NOT changed alain rollands decision
    firstly…it looked worse in slowmotion… secondly a vidio ref would have had to only make decision on weather a foul was comitted? yes or no, and in the case for sam self destuctburton a foul was commited and it was a dengerous tackle and he failed to land the player safely as a welsh fan my first reaction was shock but after seeing it over
    i do feel the ref had no choice

  82. The comments in support of a yellow card don’t hold any water. Whichever way you look at it, the man was lifted and turned over and it doesn’t at all look like ‘natural movement forming part of the dynamics of the tackle’ – it doesn’t matter whether he was released (partially or wholly) on the way down. That’s a straight red in my book. As a nation we are fantastic at pleading how hard done by we are in sport. The fact of the matter is we are often just not good enough in the way we train, play and behave. I expect France will be beaten comprehensively by NZ next weekend but that is almost irrelevant. There is some merit in complaining that Wales were the better team and would probably have won had Warburton statyed on, but he didn’t, and the referee made the right decision at the right time. A video referee would almost certainly have concurred, but to go to video would have cast some doubt on the potential seriousness of the offence. Look at it a hundred times, it doesn’t get any nicer. If it were your son being turned over like that, you’d have something to say about it – referees are there to make sure it doesn’t happen, and he did just that. Spot on Mr Rolland!

  83. I think the red card issue just highlights the refereeing inconsistencies which are seen every week, right across the board. There have been many similar tackles made during the tournament, and yet only this one is deserving of a red card. Yes, Rolland got it right according to the law, which means that all the other referees got it wrong. That said, I still think a red card was harsh in the circumstances. No malice or intent, and he clearly regretted what had happened. If we are going to see red cards every time a tackle like this is made, there will be a lot of games played with 14 men on each side. I think it’s pretty obvious that the referees need some clarification on this ruling, or it could all get very silly.

    1. As an Irishman, I say yellow, having thought about it. I agree with Brent Pope in below video. The IRB should have introduced and enforced their ruling earlier and more strictly, and not waited until the semis of a world cup. I blame the IRB, not Rolland.

      Here’s the discussion from the RTE folk (if u scroll down to Warburton video – not geolocked..yet):

      1. I also agree with this analysis:

        I have a feeling, the French outburst didn’t help. They made the most of it. Anyone remember Zidane’s sending off for the chest-butt? The Italians made a meal of it and helped color the ref’s mind, in the pressure cooker of the semis, he reacted a bit rashly maybe. A yellow, with future sanction was the way to go but that’s easy for me to say. I wasn’t in that situation.

    2. Dazza the point to remember here is that it isn’t about Malice, intent or showing regret! The fact is that tackles like this are incredibly dangerous a few inches higher off the ground and Clerc could have landed on his neck and been paralysed for life. No one believes that Warbs meant to do that or that he didn’t regret it but that doesn’t stop it being very dangerous. The main problem here is the inconsistancy and the IRB needs to address this fast.

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