Thursday 22 February 2018

Rolland has no regrets over Warburton's sending-off

Duncan Bech

Alain Rolland has defended his decision to send off Wales captain Sam Warburton in last month's World Cup semi-final.

Rolland caused outrage in Wales by issuing Warburton with a straight red card for a tip tackle on Vincent Clerc just 18 minutes into the 9-8 defeat by France at Eden Park.

The Irish referee was heavily criticised for the decision, though IRB directives on tip tackling indicated he was right to dismiss Warburton. And Rolland insists he would take exactly the same course of action if placed in a similar position in the future.

"If I had to do it all over again I would do the same thing," he said. "I don't think it needs to be vindicated, full stop.

"The important part for referees, no matter what sport it is, is to take the emotion out of it. We can only officiate on the action itself and what he did merited what happened next because it was dangerous.

"Did he mean to do it? Was it intentional or unintentional? We don't officiate on intention, we officiate on the action itself. Unfortunately, what had happened gave me no option but to do what I did. Any time you make a decision, 50pc of the people think it is a great call and 50pc of the people say: 'How did he come to that decision?' That is just the way it is.

"Straight after the game there was huge emotion everywhere, which is understandable. But in time, maybe in 10 or 15 years, it might calm itself down."

Rolland has praised Warburton for admitting earlier this month that he deserved to be sent off.

"To be fair to Sam, I think it is a true measure of the man he is," he said. "I don't think he had to come out to say anything.

"I think for the game in general it was a very good comment by Sam because parents looking on would be happy to see he came out and said what he said, which might make the game a bit safer."

Elsewhere, England back-row Joe Worsley announced yesterday that he has been forced to retire from the game due to a neck injury.

The 34-year-old, who is England's sixth most-capped international with 78 appearances, discovered during the summer while training for the World Cup that his playing days were over.

"Last season I suffered an injury to my neck that has effectively ended my career," he said. "Since March I have been following medical and rehab advice but it hasn't helped. Restarting contact work during the camp made it obvious that I could not continue. I'm proud of what I achieved and how I played the game."

Irish Independent

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