In 1823, William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball in his arms and ran with it. And for the next 156 years forwards have been trying to work out why. - Tasker Watkins VC, LJ.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ERC Tip Tackles - Ian Gough and Shingler Appeal.

One of the benefits of the New Year is taking stock, looking back at what's gone before, seeing what's coming.

And in rugby discipline in Europe, that seems to be: almost all citings in ERC rugby this season have been for tip or dangerous tackles and there is even more of a crackdown on tip-tackles coming than before.

The decision in Ian Gough's case is out. Gough was cited for a tip-tackle. It wasn't the worst by any means; however, and unsurprisingly, he was cited. He was found guilty, and suspended You can read the decision HERE.

The main thing about this decision isn't that Gough was suspended; even though he pleaded his innocence, that was always pretty likely. It's that this decisions mentions the result of the Shingler appeal; as I mentioned in a previous post, that was the case which was going to be the test case for the ERC's approach to this area.

And it's clear; they have decided that there IS a pattern of tip-tackling, and that it must be deterred by sentencing. They say as much at page 4 and 5 of the Gough decision. The full decision in Shingler isn't out yet; but this shows, clearly, that the ERC are not taking prisoners on this front.

As the judicial officer in Gough says: 
The Judicial Officer considered that there was a pattern of offending that required a deterrent and that this should be viewed as an off-field aggravating factor to be taken into account when determining the appropriate period of suspension. A period of one week was accordingly added to the entry point. In so doing the Judicial Officer had regard to the Disciplinary Officer’s e-mail of 21 December 2011 and noted in particular that at paragraph (v) thereof the Disciplinary Officer had made the following statement:
ERC considers that there is a pattern of offending and that there is the need for a deterrent to combat that pattern of offending.
In the view of the Judicial Officer, that statement now having been made, it would assist in ensuring consistency going forward if similar offending is viewed as part of a pattern that requires deterrent until such time as further guidance might be given by ERC.

So, if the message to players wasn't clear enough already, it should be now; if you lift in the tackle, bring him down safely, arse-first, or else