17th November 2014

My Dad and I had our usual post-test postmortem discussion yesterday evening. He brought up an interesting point.

The English have muttered and whinged that Dylan Hartley’s stamping on Duane Vermeulen’s leg was really not worth a yellow card, and that the ref’s decision was exceedingly harsh, even Hartley shook his head in disagreement with the ref as he left the field for his 10 minute rest.

My Dad questions whether it should not have been a RED rather than a yellow card. He correctly says: a) It was deliberate and premeditated. b) He aimed at the knee which could have resulted in a permanent and career ending injury, even a lifetime crippling blow, if a stud had found a vulnerable spot. c) He could very easily have avoided any contact with Vermeulen, but chose not to.

If we look at the Law, it says:

Law 10 Foul Play DEFINITIONS

Foul play is anything a player does within the playing enclosure that is against the letter and spirit of the Laws of the Game. It includes obstruction, unfair play, repeated infringements, dangerous play and misconduct which is prejudicial to the Game.

Law 10.4 Dangerous Play and Misconduct

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


(a) Any player who infringes any part of the Foul Play Law must be admonished, or cautioned and temporarily suspended for a period of ten minutes’ playing time, or sent-off.

(b) A player who has been cautioned and temporarily suspended who then commits a second cautionable offence within the Foul Play Law must be sent-off.

10.5 a – The same section where I queried whether Strauss deserved a yellow for a trailing arm against Ireland, is again the section in question – this time the severity of the offence needs consideration when deciding between a yellow or a red.

The more I have thought about this one, the more I am in agreement with my Dad and his suggestion that it should have been a RED card, the action was absolutely deliberate and contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Laws of the Game. It was a very serious and dangerous action in that it could have resulted in the end of a man’s playing career. This was not “heat of the moment” and split second stuff, it was coldly premeditated and deliberate. He intended to hurt and do damage, to take the law into his own “hands” and punish Vermeulen for what he believed was an infringement.

It should have been RED and it should have resulted in off-field sanction and a long term suspension.