Surprised not to see much comment on the string of red-cardable offences in the weekend's internationals - especially after the NH decision not to allow Red Card replacement after 20 minutes. After the weekend I think that is an extremely poor decision.
In watching matches this is what I though I saw, and is always open to interpretation. I have not re-watched and base this on initial impressions only:
a) Two players leap up for the ball and (both?) heads hit shoulders. Red Card Argentina
b) Player sets for tackle, but opponent passes well forward and catching player starts to duck for unexpectedly imminent contact. Medium contact to chin. Red Card USA
c) Player grabs jersey of opponent burrowing into ruck legitimately, and immediately knees him in the face. Opponent goes off straight away. Yellow Card only England
d) Player gets a bit of a hospital pass and shuffles across directly into the line of an exocet missile that launches into his chin sending him flying. Not worthy of review Fiji
With all the talk about mitigation and intention, I thought the first two were yellows due to obvious mitigation. But, the sendings off impacted significantly on the matches.
The other two seemed to be intentional acts with reckless disregard for opponent safety - but on the first one the Referee used the code word 'clumsy' to influence the TMO and it was just a yellow. The commentator suggested he was stepping into the ruck - where there was another head on the ground, and he barely missed another one after the knee. The second incident was not replayed on slow-mo as far as I can recall.
I am no doubt biased in my view of what I saw, but do wonder how much card decisions depend on who the player is, which team they are from, and whether their team is playing at home. And I must question whether the TMO's are listening to the biased hometown commentary prior to the referral.
I wonder what it would take for an England captain to be red-carded at Twickenham, or the Fijian captain in front of a partisan audience?
What do Ferners think? In my eyes this demands a rethink of the 20 minute red card, as I think the referees make plenty of judgement errors because the stakes are too high - and they don't want to make a call that would see them pilloried if judged unwarranted. That tends to favour home teams.