Gibson and Brown back report system over red cards

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Both the Sunwolves and Waratahs say they would back the introduction of a reports system into rugby, after another game-changing red card on Saturday night.

Sunwolves winger Semisi Masirewa was sent off in the 39th minute for a spear tackle on Bernard Foley, with the Waratahs captain falling on his head.

Sunwolves interim coach Tony Brown said moments like Masirewa's could be dealt with by a report system, with red cards effectively turning the game upside down.

It’s a view that echoed comments made by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper supporting the consideration of a report system, rather than just red and yellow cards.

“I think it was Steve Hansen said, just put the players on report like they do in league and play on,” Brown said.

“Maybe a yellow card and if that's a serious incident, then they get suspended after the game and then the game’s not affected as much as it was tonight. In the All Black Test against France, same thing.”

Brown said he didn’t believe the incident warranted a red card, leaving the Sunwolves at a major disadvantage after a strong start in Sydney, before a late yellow put them down even further.

“Obviously, tough one to take as a team and as a coach, you're counting on yellow card maybe, I don’t think there was any intent in there, it was just unfortunate,” he said.

“So, it was tough for us to compete against a pretty good Waratahs team with 14 players and then 13 in the last 10 minutes.

“I think we were in the game obviously and we were putting the Waratahs under enough pressure and I thought going into half-time if we didn’t get the red card, because our game is all about the second half and using our speed, energy and trying to put the Waratahs under pressure that way.”

Though the Waratahs were on the positive end of the decision, coach Daryl Gibson agreed with his Sunwolves counterpart about the impact of red cards.

“I think the effect that it has on the game, it takes away the contest,” he said.

“In that instance, the referee has no option.

“He's following to the letter of the law and that's what he's required to do.

“Having an intermediary step that's not quite a red card, (to) give them some options, (that’s) sensible.”

Foley said he wasn’t surprised Masirewa was sent off for the tackle, which left him in an awkward position.

“Not really (surprised),” he said.

“It's unfortunate but how it ended up, it probably gives the ref no option in terms of the outcome of that.”

Another incident late in the game, where halfback Jake Gordon landed in what looked like a far more dangerous position resulted in just a yellow card.

“That's also another dangerous one, where the player ends up on his head,” Foley said.

“I think it's probably exactly what (Brumbies coach) Dan McKellar was talking about last week with Poey's one.

“It's unfortunate that guys are ending up on their head, it's probably not what we want to see in the game.”

NSW piled on 53 points in the second half, with Gibson proud of his side’s ability to take advantage of their position.

“I was really pleased with our team and the way that we responded in that situation and really still earned our tries and tried to keep shape in the game,” he said.

The Waratahs are one win away from finishing in second place this season, and securing hosting rights for the first two weeks of the Super Rugby finals.