Thursday, 13 September 2007

Rough justice?

It appears that the the Rugby World Cup disciplinary committee's tough stance on foul play has given a few players the jitters.

With high profile players like Phil Vickery and Schalk Burger already having received suspensions, it seems that the IRB are determined to send out the message loud and clear that players will not get away with blatant foul play.

New Zealand's flanker Jerry Collins (a citing waiting to happen, far be it for me to suggest) has expressed the view that players are now walking a "disciplinary tightrope".

"It's always at the back of your mind," Collins has said.

"It's a long way to come for the tournament to end early. Everyone wants to be here for the full quota."

The Wallabies are also reported to be shocked by what they see as an over-the-top crackdown on foul play.

"I think they've overreacted," Wallaby forward Stephen Hoiles is reported to have said (prior to Burger's suspension being reduced on appeal).

"That could be his whole World Cup just there. "Those four weeks are the biggest four weeks of a bloke's last four years."

Surely he's missing the point. If it's so important to players to last the course it shouldn't be beyond them to cut out the dangerous stuff. As long as the disciplinary procedure is applied consistently (which I concede is a a big proviso as several incidents do appear to have gone unpunished) then I've no problem with the book being thrown at players who put other players in danger through dirty or reckless play. Frankly it's about time.

Wallaby coach John Connolly is spot on when he says:

"I think the world of rugby, the IRB particularly, are trying to put a marker in this tournament for the future of the game for what's accepted and not accepted.

"I can see how we play and how we behave at World Cups at the top level influences how the game is administrated and judged down the grades.

"I think in this day and age we can't criticise that whatsoever."

No comments: