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Bernard Jackman Felt Freddie Steward Red Card Didn't Even Warrant A Penalty

Bernard Jackman Felt Freddie Steward Red Card Didn't Even Warrant A Penalty
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Freddie Steward's red card against Ireland in the Six Nations at the weekend has caused plenty of debate.

Under the current rules, there can be no complaints about the decision to send the England player off. His hit on Hugo Keenan was not a very pleasant one, with the footage showing he forcefully made contact with the Irishman's head. As rugby looks to cut down on head injuries, it was a fairly straightforward decision for the referee under the current guidelines.

In saying that, you could also understand why some may have felt it was a harsh decision.


It was a strange incident in that Steward was not attempting to make a tackle, instead colliding with Keenan as he bent down to pick up the ball. The Englishman perhaps could have afforded more care to his opponent at the time, although the speed at which the events occurred did make that more difficult.


Bernard Jackman has major doubts over Freddie Steward red card

Bernard Jackman falls into that latter category.

Speaking on RTÉ's Against The Head, the former Ireland hooker said that Freddie Steward can feel very unfortunate to be sent off for this incident. In fact, he believes that the collision may not have even warranted a penalty.

Personally, I don't even think it's a penalty.

I think it's one of those rare rugby incidents where Steward hasn't got much choice. Keenan could easily turn side-on as well because the ball was knocked on.

The fascinating thing will be what happens at the hearing. How will World Rugby adjudicate on that? Because I haven't seen an incident like that before.

I just think it's very harsh. If a player makes a high tackle or cleans out head-high, they should get red.

But something that happens as a freak reaction to a ball being knocked on, I think there needs to be a little more leeway.

It wasn't even a tackle and the slow-mo looks terrible.

You can certainly see Jackman's point of view, although any collision to the head with force such as this one is always likely to result in a red card in the modern game.


Major changes to player behaviour will be required in order to cut down on the amount of red cards in the future.

SEE ALSO: Could Ronan O'Gara Be Tempted Into Taking New Zealand Role?

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