‘Insanity’ – France lock escapes red card for nasty high tackle against Uruguay

Jared Wright
France lock Romain Taofifenua tackles Uruguay's Santiago Arata during the Rugby World Cup

France lock Romain Taofifenua tackles Uruguay's Santiago Arata.

France lock Romain Taofifenua was yellow-carded in his side’s second Rugby World Cup match against Uruguay in Lille on Thursday.

The second-rower made a high tackle on Uruguay scrum-half Santiago Arata.

Referee Ben O’Keeffe issued the yellow card to Taofifenua before sending the tackle to be reviewed by the Foul Play Review Bunker.

After reviewing the tackle, the Bunker deemed that there was enough mitigation with Arata’s drop in height from the initial tackle from France flanker Sekou Macalou.

This meant that Taofifenua was able to return to the field after 10 minutes.


Observers on X, formerly Twitter, were left puzzled by the decision.

“Ah come on, how is that not a red card for Romain Taofifenua, World Cup haven’t got a fog sometimes. How the mitigation was sufficient is laughable,” one fan wrote.

Another argued that Macalou’s tackle mattered little in the collision with the second-rower.

“Regardless of an assist tackler lowering the height, Taofifenua never wraps and hits with a tucked arm. Insanity how anyone found mitigation for that one,” the post read.

AFP Journalist Illtud W. Dafydd said that it is yet another inconsistent decision, referencing the decisions on tackles during the opening weekend that saw Jesse Kriel escape punishment while Tom Curry was red-carded for his tackle against Argentina.

“Taofifenua’s lucky to still be on the field (on his 33rd birthday) another inconsistent refereeing call,” his post said.

Andy McGeady added: “Another case where WR *need* to get the angle in the TV that actually shows a drop in height when it’s used as mitigation.

“Because there is no bloody drop in height from the angle *originally used* in the review. This is mad stuff.”

A reply on Planet Rugby’s X post said that it was a clear red card.

“100% red card. He is leading with his shoulder. No change of height either,” the reply read.

Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams also gave his view on the decision, referencing his red card against the British & Irish Lions in 2017.

“Damn! I needed this ref back in 2017,” he wrote.

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