Enough Of This Blame Cutlture

So Wales lost because their inspirational captain Sam Warburton was red carded by Irish referee Alain Rolland.

Warren Gatland blamed the referee for his team loss, while Paul Ackford was of the opinion that it was strong refereeing and spot on.

Alain Rolland’s decision to show Sam Warburton the red card for a tip tackle on Vincent Clerc after 17 minutes, a decision which has sparked considerable criticism and resentment from the Welsh camp, was absolutely correct.

Law 10.4 (j) states that “lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst the player’s feet are still off the ground, such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground, is dangerous play. Sanction: penalty kick.”

Take your pick, I suspect that if it were a France player that had been sent off there wouldn’t have been so much fuss? Fair play though, the French press are saying it was a tough decision but they would wouldn’t they now they have won!

Wales played superbly – whether that was because of or despite of the sending off we will never know. Nor will we ever know what would have happened if Warburton had stayed on: an injury or an inspirational performance.

Sport, and life, is about dealing with the facts. Warburton was sent off, the referee applied the letter of the law, and Wales played exceptionally well.

Wales lost, not because anyone was to blame but because they were unable to take advantage of three kicks which would have given them 8 points after they scored the only try of the game. One was a pretty standard conversion, one was a long penalty and one was a poorly judged drop goal attempt. Add to that another phase of play when they should have taken a dropped goal attempt and a final phase when they just couldn’t manage to make enough yards and Wales had more than enough opportunities to win the game ….. or did they? How would France have responded if the conversion went over and they were faced with having to attack rather than defend?

Personally I don’t think anybody was to blame: the referee made the decision he thought was correct at the time, the Welsh kickers tried their best at the time. The fact that the referee made the decision and the kicks missed is nothing more or less than the way sport is.

To blame somebody, or to attempt to apportion blame is to miss the point totally of sport, and far too often these days I am afraid, of life as well!

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