The red card given in the first half of the Six Nations meeting between Ireland and England has caused some debate.
The game was flipped on its head just before halftime after England were reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the game.
It happened after Freddie Steward was sent off after he made contact with the head of Hugo Keenan. It seemed like a collision between the two players, but as replays emerged, Jaco Peyper ultimately decided that there was not enough mitigation to avoid the red card.
𝐑𝐄𝐃 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐃! 🟥
Freddie Steward sent off for an elbow to the head of Hugo Keenan. #IREvENG #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/ez01UNj0Hq
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 18, 2023
It was perhaps unfortunate from Steward's point of view, but considering the current laws in the game, he can't have any complaints with the decision.
Read also: Johnny Sexton Gives Incredible Interview After Ending His Six Nations Career In Style
Read also: Jaco Peyper Had Enough Of Johnny Sexton's Complaints On The Ref Mic
Brian O'Driscoll and Clive Woodward disagree over England red card
Speaking on ITV during halftime, Brian O'Driscoll said that while Steward was a tad unlucky, a red card was the right call. Clive Woodward did not agree, employing some questionable logic to try and claim it was only worthy of a yellow. A back and forth between the pair ensured as a result.
BOD: He's there to protect himself, I think it's just one of those really unfortunate positions...
Steward goes in to brace himself for a collision that is square on. You're not in a strong position if you stay square, you're going to turn your body. It's just unbelievably unlucky that he caught him square in the head with his elbow.
As soon as you saw the replay, there is a duty of care from the defender on the attacker, irrespective of the knock-on. He can't lead with the shoulder like that. He catches him square in the head. Jaco Peyper came to the right decision, albeit it's a tough one to make...
Woodward: When you watch it live, none of us said it was a yellow or red card. It's just a rugby incident that happens. Keenan goes to kick it and goes down a bit, Steward comes in. Freddie Steward is not a dirty player, he's not going 'I'm going to hurt this player'.
To the letter of the law it's a red card, but in terms of a rugby incident, it's a yellow card at best. I think they should shake hands and move on. He got it wrong, it's a yellow card.
BOD: But we've got a duty of care to players. We're trying to protect the game. I understand trying to find some mitigation, but the reality is that he caught him square in the head.
If we're watching at home and people are looking at the growth of the game, the reality is that a player has gotten whacked in the head and isn't going to come back.
Woodward: All I'm saying, that if Keenan is running with the ball and he hits his head, it's a red card. We've got to be careful, it's a rugby incident.
As O'Driscoll points out, once heavy contact is made with the head, a red card is usually the right decision. Woodward was clearly speaking nonsense here, saying it was a red card offence but only a yellow should have been given.
It was unfortunate for Freddie Steward and England, but it was the right decision.