Wallabies vs Springboks: Legends divided over Lachie Swinton yellow card controversy in Rugby Championship 2021







Rugby legends are divided following a controversial yellow card during Australia’s thumping victory over the Springboks.

Rugby legends are divided on whether Wallabies flanker Lachie Swinton deserved a yellow card following a shoulder charge during Saturday’s Test match against the Springboks.

Australia climbed to third on the world rugby rankings after toppling the world champions 30-17 at Suncorp Stadium, their second consecutive win in the Rugby Championship.

But the Wallabies were briefly down to 14 men after Swinton was pinged for high contact during a tackle on Springboks No. 8 Duane Vermeulen.

The 24-year-old South African needed assistance from team medics following the shoulder charge, struggling to return to his feet.

“The player was never legal because he leads with his arm by his side directly into the contact,” referee Matthew Carley said.

“There is shoulder-to-shoulder contact but simultaneously.

“There is also head-to-head contact. Now because the player is upright and never making the attempt to make a legal tackle, I can‘t see any mitigation.

“So with that being the case, it‘s going to be a red card.”

But following a closer inspection, match officials opted instead to give Swinton a yellow card because his shoulder had made first contact.

The decision inevitably outraged Australian rugby fans, with many pundits struggling to come to terms with the sport’s ongoing crackdown on dangerous contact.

The Daily Telegraph’s Jamie Pandaram tweeted: “The fact officials nearly talked themselves into red carding Swinton shows how confusing rugby’s rules and interpretations are. Never a red. Sanity prevails. But shouldn’t have even got to that.”

ESPN’s Brittany Mitchell posted: “Come on! Surely, shoulder to shoulder, Swinton‘s just got his head in the wrong spot. Not a good tackle, but geeeeez.”

ABC broadcast Quentin Hill tweeted: “Swinton needs to get this fixed. He won‘t play for Australia often if he can’t stay on the field.”

Wallabies great Tim Horan said while commentating on Stan Sport: “I will tell you what, the security guards would‘ve been busy if the red card came out. The crowd was going off.

“It was probably a fair call. Swinton just needs to lower his body height a little bit.”

But New Zealand great Andrew Mehrtens argued Swinton was lucky to escape the ordeal with just a yellow card.

“I reckon Lachie Swinton has dodged a bullet there with a yellow card instead of red,” he said on Stan Sport.

“But I am at least glad that there‘s recognition that a collision like that looks much worse when slowed down.

“It‘s so hard to change body position in a fraction of a second so seeing it in real-time is the way to go. At first, I thought it was going to be red.”

Despite the ordeal, the Wallabies showed their class by recording a 10th successive win at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Less than a week after beating the Springboks 28-26 on the Gold Coast, Australia repeated the dose with a bonus-point victory in front of almost 40,000 fans to win the Nelson Mandela Plate and keep their faint Rugby Championship hopes alive.

Flyhalf Quade Cooper, who was man-of-the match last weekend, again produced a controlled performance in his second Test back after an absence of four years, much to the delight of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

“Quade’s been really disciplined,” Rennie said.

“He’s got a real clear understanding of what we’re trying to put on the park.

“He’s certainly getting us around the park, and I was really happy with the way he defended in the second half.

“He’s contributing in lots of ways and his experience is invaluable. It’s fantastic for him (that) he backed up last week. It wasn’t a one off.”

Skipper Michael Hooper, leading the Wallabies for a record 60th time, was a constant menace in another memorable display.

“The crowd’s loud, they’re vocal, (there is) a lot of gold in the crowd,” Hooper said.

“We love playing up here and we’re confident when we turn up at this ground.”

The Wallabies will next face Argentina at Townsville on Saturday, with kick-off scheduled for 8.05pm AEST.

– with Marco Monteverde, NCA NewsWire


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