‘He has hit him in the chin’ – England prop Beno Obano sees red after nasty high shot in Premiership final

Jared Wright
Referee Christophe Ridley shows Bath Rugby's Beno Obano red card during the Gallagher Premiership final.

Referee Christophe Ridley shows Bath Rugby's Beno Obano red card during the Gallagher Premiership final.

Bath Rugby prop Beno Obano’s Premiership final came to a swift end on Saturday after he was given his marching orders just 20 minutes into the clash at Twickenham Stadium.

The loosehead enjoyed a fine start to the match with the West Country outfit getting the upper hand at scrum time.

However, it all came crashing down when he made a high tackle on Northampton’s South African number eight Juarno Augustus inside the Saints 22.

Beno Obano red card

Initially play was allowed to go on before TMO Tom Foley notified referee Christophe Ridley that they needed to review the tackle.

The Bath prop made direct contact with Augustus’ head, with Ridley unable to see any mitigation to not issue the red card.

“It’s direct contact; he has hit him in the chin,” Ridley said in a conversation with his TMO.

“It is definitely foul play because he is hitting upwards, and the level of danger is clearly high because he is moving forward in the tackle; we aren’t considering any mitigation at this point.”

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Foley interjected to show the referee one more angle because of a ‘little dip in contact’ but Ridley was not convinced.

“I’m seeing that as a natural brace for a collision (from Augustus),” Ridley added.

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“I’m not seeing that as an unusual, sudden drop in height, there has to be preparation for some sort of brace so I’m not seeing that as mitigation.”

With his TMO and the rest of the officiating team agreeing with the referee, Ridley issued Obano a red card, ending his game with an hour left of regular time.

The sending-off had another setback for Bath as head of rugby Johann van Graan was forced to take back-rower Alfie Barbeary off to replace the front-rower for the remainder of the match.

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Overall, the reaction on social media was in agreement that Ridley reached the correct decision.

“I feel bad for Beno Obano, who isn’t a dirty player, but his tackle technique was wrong there – he started high and aimed higher and the red card was the right decision,” one fan remarked.

Another added: “Red card is the right call. But I am gutted for Obano. He’s had a great season, probably his best ever. This means there is no way he will play for England this summer. The highs and lows of rugby, right before our eyes.”

“Red card is 100% correct sadly. Gutted for Obano though. He gets it wrong and gets the right outcome off the back of it, but he’s been so improved and was really looking forward to seeing him get more caps in NZ. Massive task for Bath now,” another agreed.

Former England fly-half Andy Goode wrote that it was a “Red card all day long for Obano”.

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