Gatland gutted by ref decision

2011-10-15 18:42

Auckland - Wales coach Warren Gatland slammed referee Alain Rolland's decision to send off skipper Sam Warburton against France here on Saturday, saying it had cost his team a place in the Rugby World Cup final.

Wales, down to 14 men for more than an hour, nearly pulled off a stunning victory, scoring the only try of the match through scrum-half Mike Phillips, before France held out for a 9-8 win on the back of three Morgan Parra penalties.

But the turning point of the match came in the 19th minute when Irish official Rolland, the 2007 World Cup final referee, showed flanker Warburton a red card for a 'tip tackle' on Vincent Clerc that saw the France wing lifted into the air and then land on his head.

"We just feel like the destiny of the result was taken out of our hands with the red card," Gatland said after a sending off that took place with Wales 3-0 up.

"He's lifted him, that's a yellow card, but he's not driven him into the ground. Does that mean every time there's a tackle where you lift someone off the ground it's a red card?

"Why spoil the semi-final with a red card? He's not a dirty player. I'm just gutted. We were down to 14 but we showed great character and I'm proud of our efforts.

"I feel let down, I thought this team were good enough to go on and take the final but it was not to be," the New Zealander insisted.

"We just feel that ultimately the result wasn't in our control."

A dejected Warburton said: "I'm gutted but there was no malicious intent.

"I felt like as soon as it hit him his bodyweight took control of what happened I thought it was a normal tackle, next thing I was walking off into the stands," added Warburton who praised the resilience of his team-mates.

"The courage and bravery the lads showed was second to none."

Openside flanker Warburton, 23, won widespread acclaim for leading Wales into only their second World Cup semi-final but he could now be banned from next week's third place playoff against either New Zealand or Australia.

Warburton's red card means the bright new face of Welsh rugby will forever have his name linked with that of the infamous Huw Richards, the first Wales player to be sent off at a World Cup.

For Wales there was horrible sense of history repeating itself as Richards was red-carded in their only previous semi-final, at the inaugural 1987 edition.

Then, as now, Richards was dismissed in a losing cause after punching New Zealand's Gary Whetton late on in the All Blacks' 49-6 win in Brisbane.

Kevin Moseley was the last Wales player to be sent off, against France in 1990.

Warburton's red card was only the second of this World Cup after Samoa fullback Paul Williams was ordered off for punching South Africa flanker Heinrich Brussow.


  • Johan - 2011-10-15 19:50

    Now you know how we feel?? Refs must step up their game.

      goyougoodthing - 2011-10-16 09:51

      Spear tackles = red cards. At least they should. Gatland must suck it up

  • Michael - 2011-10-15 20:19

    The card was justified - what a bunch of whiners!

      Boetjan - 2011-10-15 20:53

      I somewhat agree. It was a STUPID tackle by warburton and cannot be justified. What was Sam Warburton thinking?? As for a red card, well thats not the refs fault, thats the rule. If people want to complain, then they can blame it on the IRB but Rolland made the right decision according to the laws of the game. As for why he never consulted with the assistant ref's, why should he have? It happened right in front of him. He's the ref and it's his call. Yes, he can ask for their input if he's unsure but again, he didnt miss it. It doesnt require a group decision. Although, rolland was horribly wrong for awarding wales that kickable penalty with a few minutes to go. That was a shocker and shouldve been a french penalty.. France were rubbish tho! But wales missed kicks and theres no doubt they wouldve won had warburton not been sent off. But instead of blaming the ref, in a semi final, Warburton's brain exploded there and it was his own fault.

      Walter - 2011-10-16 05:52

      The rules of the game clearly state that this was a red card offence, as much as I supported Wales and they deserved to go all the way. At the end of the day, Warburton probably cost Wales a first time a final. I now believe that the final will be a one horse race with New Zealand repeating their inaugural 1987 triumph. Whether we like it or not, NZ are the best side in the world at the moment and deserve it. Wales could have done it if Warburton hadn't been so damned stupid!

      Chris - 2011-10-16 08:37

      How many tip tackles do we see throughout the year? And how many get red cards? Well, I can't remember seeing red for this offense. It was harsh and stuffed up a good game which Wales would have undoubtedly won. If it was a case of every such offence getting the same decision, I agree, but it's not. Reffing Inconsistency is ruining the sport!

      springbokke - 2011-10-16 09:44

      France did not win because they were the superior side,,,by no means, Either of the remaining S, Hemisphere sides will EATt them...........Surely this must be one of the poorest RWC's since it's start in 1987.......My view, say what you wish.

  • marco.tomaso - 2011-10-15 20:20

    "Lovely decision" that red card was in that it shows you how incompetent the IRB and their refereeing decision making truly has been throughout this Worldcup.This Alain Rolland didn't even consult any of the two linesmen or the TMO official to confirm what really happened.He took the decision by himself on the spot which tells you how pathetic things in rugby union has become.Wales dominated the game and yet the French won.The French looked sheepish and unfit that's why they made no forward line breaks or couldn't even passed the gain line.In the end they just hung in there for dear life. Halfback Dimitri Yachvili said in his post match interview that maybe this match was preordained for France to win with Wales going down to 14 men.Makes you wonder what hell is going on behind the scenes with referee decision making that determines the outcome of games?Are we truly and honestly to believe that ref's have the moral obligation to see the game through as per the rules that governs the game or do the referees "bent" the science to make sure the team that should win,actually wins in the end!

      Thomas - 2011-10-15 22:22

      Marco!! I have been saying it since watching the 2010 Tri Nations, Paddy O Stupid and his cronies have been setting the ABs up to win the WC!!! John Smit tip tackled out of the tournament ,No Penalty!! This year two tip tackles in the Aussie Bok game in Durban no penalties!! Wales the biggest threat outside of the Boks, red card for a tip tackle that in 99.9% of the time will be a yellow card, even more so in in a WC semi final!!! RIGGED WORLD CUP!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Caleb - 2011-10-15 23:56

      get over yourself Thomas. U lot were not good enough, stop making fictitious claims now that SA are out.God you guys are a nation of bad losers. It gets really old.

      Thomas - 2011-10-16 01:28

      Caleb!!! If it was only us I would think about your rant but it's not!! Buy the way who posted this, you or the cat on your head!!! Either way your picture says it all!!!!!!!

      Caleb - 2011-10-16 09:03

      The refs, the refs; the refs; the refs; IRB, IRB, IRB, conspiracy, conspiracy, conspiracy. Thats all i see from your country. Top down, SARU boss (Hodges I think his name is), then Pdiv with this nonsensical paranoid ramblings, over the hill Smit, who is such an average captain that he got pre-occupied with the ref, instead of making game-winning on field decisions, you then have SA rugby public of which 95% all share something in common with the formerly mentioned individuals... paranoid blame anyone but ourselves mentality. It is accepted by the powers that be, so therefore it is adopted by SA public. An average team with average coaching staff, you never had a chance, the results of the four years post last world cup has exhibited this.

  • Klem - 2011-10-15 20:36

    And all the kicks you missed - come on Wales upu could have wrapped it up without that foul

      Rudolph Bergh - 2011-10-16 05:53

      My thoughts exactly!!!

  • Jim - 2011-10-15 20:41

    Yep - Wales werent good enough at the end of the day. The tackle was worse than a yellow card, but it didnt deserve a red. Maybe there should be 'Orange Cards' - say 25 minutes in the sin bin... Only the S.A. Refs have been any good.. Think on that...

  • Mark - 2011-10-15 21:16

    Referees were told before the tournament to not tolerate ANY dangerous tackle. Given that spear/tip tackles are the worst kind, Rolland had no choice. He wasn't terrible. He made a few mistakes and reffed to the letter of the law. Which, coincidentally, is what SA fans were whining about BL not doing just a week ago.

      gordon.trevorrow - 2011-10-15 22:39

      Surely a yellow would have been more appropriate? Reds is usually for when there is some malicious intent.

      gordon.trevorrow - 2011-10-15 22:40


      Mark - 2011-10-15 22:44

      @Gordon. Well, there is a case for that I suppose. The way I see it is that it was somewhere between the two. He lifted the player and therefore it was intentional - but I did not believe it was malicious because he released him in the air. Had he driven him into the dirt it would've been straight red without question. Had he guided the player down properly there may have been a yellow. Rolland was left with a big call which, unfortunately, may just be the new benchmark for a 'spear' tackle.

  • kevin.rack - 2011-10-16 00:19

    If he did not foll0w through with a flatty to the french players face he would have got yellow. He deserved the red for striking with an open hand. 2 yellow offences = red. I wished this guy reffed the Samoa game, we would have seen at least 5 yellows and 3 reds. Or the trinations game against Australia where we saw two tips tackles without cards. Rugby is a joke

  • Johann - 2011-10-16 00:50

    Unfortunately, I haven't looked at the game, so I can't coment whether or not the red card was justified. However, I'd like to add my 2cents worth about the red/yellow process. As far as I'm concerned, rugby was designed for 15 players and no less. As a player and sportsmen, I don't want to celebrate a hollow victory over a team with fewer players.That's not sportmanship. I say the whole 80 min must be played with 15 players and transgressions should be dealt with as follows: Yellow card, one game suspension, fine to both the player, team and club. Red card 2 game suspension, fine to both player, team and club. Also, I'd like to see that a penalty in the red zone be awarded five points. This will ensure more tries to be scored and hopefully do away with the negative play and thinking i.e. rather give away 3 points than 7. What do you think?

      Chris - 2011-10-16 04:40

      Johann I think you make a good point. There must be some way of penalizing the man more then the team and specially at such a big occasion, the best team must prevail. Example if there was then a post match sighting, suspending the captain for the final would have been enough punishment. At least the better team would be in the final.

  • Rudolph Bergh - 2011-10-16 05:55

    Trying to find fault elsewhere than in his own camp will get him nowhere

  • SuperStront - 2011-10-16 06:30

    You do the "crime" you do the "time" If is an illusion; so if he did not send him of... or if he did not lift him... He lifted the player and paid the price. If there was no sanction then the French would have course for complaining. It is after all a game with laws (rules) that has to be followed and officiated.

  • Klark - 2011-10-16 06:34

    Hard luck wales you deserved to be there, but with that penalty there was only one option. The mighty All Blacks didnt care who they played, Wales, France, South Africa,Australia we are sure of our pace strength and fitness

  • Harold - 2011-10-16 07:57

    The refs are ruining rugby, no question.

  • Peter - 2011-10-16 08:18

    Just jump on the south african bandwagon and the winging will never stop Peter

  • richard.tustin - 2011-10-16 08:24

    What about Tana Umangas spear tackle on o Driscoll a few years ago which put him out of the tour ? ! And he got away with it. If thats wasn't a spear tack then what is ? Last nights tackle had no malicious intent - the ref should have consulted his assistants.

  • Peter - 2011-10-16 08:24

    Well it didnt take long to jump on the bandwagon about the refs going the south africans in the growing wingeing club go wales this will go on until the next world club, sore losers

  • vanrooyend - 2011-10-16 09:01

    Ag shame, whiner. play to the rules, then there will not be a problem

  • Zion - 2011-10-16 09:02

    Here we go again for the next 4 years then the issue will still be unresolved due to a million different "opinions" Should I now make a line of "ha ha's

  • julian.j.elliott - 2011-10-16 09:17

    Within the laws the red card was deserved, that is not the question to me, if the law is correct/fair that should be looked at, as a SA supporter I accept it was not be to, and in the end the way we went out the cup just made our stock go up and gained us more respect, I dont know if anyone remembers all the bad vibes around the Bokke b4 the world cup, in the end I think we proved we dont have to stand back for anyone and personally I still think that SA would be a steaner test for the AB`s in a final, that is if they make it, part of what I enjoy about SA Rugby, the Wallibies and the All Blacks almost always look and play better than us, yet we still find a way past at least half the time, my thoughts anyway

  • Stephen - 2011-10-16 09:58

    This has been a WC of poor referees and dull rugby in one half of the competition. One wonders if this was not staged to give the ABs the cup. Facing Aus who are not playing well and then France who looked for most part to be asleep. Wales were done, no question about it. The ref should have given a yellow (it was careless but not malicious). This is a WC and its high intensity and stakes at risk. He single-handedly ensured the result. He is supposed to be a experienced ref and should have been more cautious with handing out a red card. For me the WC will be mostly remembered as the Bryce Lawrence and Alain Rolland Show or maybe the Paddy O'Brien Benefit (if ABs win).

      julian.j.elliott - 2011-10-16 12:11

      U cant blame the ref for Wales loss he followed the letter of the law, heb was not wrong to do it, its the law thats stupid in this case

  • Heinrich - 2011-10-16 10:09

    Wallis is darem nie so erg dat 'n mens dit "Gatland" kan noem nie. Hierdie besluit van die skeidsregter was egter 'n Gatslag.

  • Leonard - 2011-10-16 10:51

    Whats the bet that should NZ make the final the referee will be Walsh jnr (the Australian New Zealander ) which will be Paddy's final piece in the arrangement of getting NZ the cup. And it will be fitting as Walsh has already been in trouble for suspicious activities with regards to rugby hence he's an "Australian".

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