Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ferris tackle in grey area when it comes to citing

IRELAND'S Stephen Ferris had to wait with bated breath until 3pm this afternoon to discover whether he had been cited for his tackle on Ian Evans.

There is a 48-hour window from the moment a match begins, in this case 3pm on Sunday, to the expiration time for citings to be laid against players.

There can be no doubt that Wales lock Bradley Davies will feature as a cited player for his off-the- ball, blatant spear tackle on Ireland's replacement Donnacha Ryan.

Even his coach Warren Gatland immediately answered "Yes" when asked if Davies was lucky not to receive a red card in the post-match press conference. The Cardiff Blue could be in for an extended period locked into the limbo land of suspension.

Blindside Ferris, on the other hand, finds himself in a grey area for the yellow card he was given by English referee Wayne Barnes which cost Ireland the match and Ferris a possible suspension.

First, the citing officer has to consider whether and to what degree the relevant rule, Law 10.4 (j), for Foul Play applies to any given action.

Law 10.4 (j) states: "Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that 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."

The first five words "lifting a player from the ground" are open to interpretation. While Ferris lifted Evans' right leg higher than his hips, the Welshman maintained contact with the ground with his foot and was able to cushion his contact to the ground.

However, Ferris could not have been certain Evans was able to protect himself, so from this point of view, there does seem to be a degree of negligence on the player's part.

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