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So as we head into the Christmas break waiting until 26th December for our rugby fix after spending time with the family, there is one piece of news from round 4. That being the citing of 2 players. Cian Healy and Manu Tuilagi. 1 offence was by an Irish province the other was done to an Irish province. Let’s have a look at both and the possible outcomes of the hearings taking place in London today (20/12)
Firstly, let’s look at the Tuilagi citing.
As you can see, the play is in progress and going at full speed. The ball is collected by Cloete on the ground and as he is getting to his feet and turning to begin charging up field Manu hits him hard at shoulder level. So far, so good? Well the issue is that as Cloete is trying to accelerate his level lowers which makes him slowly drop his level. Making the tackle more difficult to make (good play), because the tackle is more difficult Manu grabs the jersey and through the momentum it ends up being pulled up, making it look far worse. Looking at the gif you can see the speed of the play, in my opinion Manu (who isn’t the best at obeying laws) is not able to change his trajectory. The tackle itself is borderline but nothing more than that in accordance with the rules of the game in 2017. All players where ok to continue.
For me, this is not a citing. This is not worth the administration costs of bringing him to London to answer for a tackle that was good. Manu’s disciplinary history may cost him some time, unfairly. No action taken by the referee in terms of a card, this was called by the citing commissioner.
The main thing for Munster supporters to do is to switch the jerseys. Imagine Cloete made the challenge and decide if it is a citing (this is known as the Eddie O’Sullivan principle). I would suggest that it would be a good challenge if that happened. Shouldn’t be a hearing / citing but will cost him 3 games.
No we move on to Leinster V Exeter from Aviva stadium.
Healy is being cited for a charging into a ruck and hitting the opposing hooker with his shoulder. Dangerous play no doubt. He was given a yellow card for this. This was early in the game. There isn’t really any defence for it. A rush of blood to the head from a player who has been back to his better than best form. Even by switching jerseys this is tough to defend. Leinster would hope for a mid-table sentence of 3 weeks, but it depends on the mood of the committee. There was another citing in the game for the Exeter 4 (Mitch Lees) for charging into a ruck. No card given, so more inconsistencies from referees. But in terms of the Healy citing, it is unfortunate but inarguable.