30 Sep 2019

Rugby World Cup: Samoa ask World Rugby for tackle explanation

8:26 am on 30 September 2019

Manu Samoa are demanding answers from World Rugby after two of their players received an extended ban for dangerous tackles.

Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu'u were both yellow carded during Samoa's Rugby World Cup opener against Russia last week but were later slapped with a three match suspension by an independent judicial committee.

Samoa's hooker Motu Matu'u (L) is tackled by Russia's number 8 Nikita Vavilin during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Russia and Samoa at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Kumagaya on September 24, 2019. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)

Motu Matu'u. Photo: AFP

Coach Steve Jackson said in both cases Russian fullback Vasily Artemyev was deemed to have dropped into contact, which remained a grey area in World Rugby's high tackle framework.

"We had one of our players out on the field just in our captain's run catch a high ball and drop to his knee and ask me, 'coach is this what they want or is this what we can do?' It's extremely hard, you've only got a split second as a tackler to make a decision...just in both of our cases they were actually bent over, arms forward as if they were going in for a tackle," Jackson said.

"Yeah the collision might have been a tough one. We accept the ban, yes. Do we agree with it? No...we just believe there was four expert officials that are on the field, we think that they made the right decision."

A frustrated Jackson lamented the lack of consistency, with USA flanker John Quill receiving the same suspension despite a clear shoulder charge to the head of England's Owen Farrell.

"We've been told the tackler has got to slow down and make split decisions better, which we train," he said.

"There's just going to have to be some consistency and if you look at the USA tackle and our two tackles completely different but exactly the same outcome and he admitted to wanting to go and hurt the guy."

Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson.

Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson. Photo: Clay Cross / PHOTOSPORT

Defensive coach Alistair Rogers said Samoa spent a lot of time working on their tackling technique and believed the on-field officials made the right call.

"Obviously powers-that-be think differently and it's very difficult in today's game with a lot of line-speed but that's the current climate and we've got to keep working on that skill.

"But I want to make it very very clear that we teach that and coach that every day, and those two players particularly spend a lot of time on it," he said.

Rogers said Samoa had already sought clarification from World Rugby.

"I've contacted [referee] Alain Rolland and waiting on him to come back to me because I know as a defensive coach it's paramount for me to know what can we do better and try to mitigate these circumstances. So yeah, we've already done that and waiting on him to return the message."

 Former test referee Alain Rolland is now in charge of the whistle-blowers for World Rugby.

Former test referee Alain Rolland is now in charge of the whistle-blowers for World Rugby. Photo: AFP