Wednesday 23 October 2019

'If one of those tackles was me I’d have been banned for around ten months!' - Fergus McFadden

Australia's full back Reece Hodge (left) takes part in a gym training session in Tokyo. Photo: William West/Getty Images
Australia's full back Reece Hodge (left) takes part in a gym training session in Tokyo. Photo: William West/Getty Images

Tony Considine

As the Rugby World Cup moves into the second set of Pool games, it’s fair to say that the poor standard of officiating has raised numerous talking points.

From the opening round of games when Australian Reece Hodge's high tackle on Fiji's Peceli Yato and France's Louis Picamoles' clearly offside interception against Argentina both proved game-changing moments, the decision-making has come under the microscope to the extent that World Rugby had to issue a statement on the issue on Tuesday.

And Leinster’s Fergus McFadden, whose own World Cup hopes were ended by a six-week ban after being cited following a Pro 14 match against Ulster in May, had his say on the matter on Independent.ie’s rugby podcast, The Left Wing in association with Aldi.

"Vasily Artemyev nearly had his head taken off twice in the Samoa game and the guys only got yellows. They were interesting calls. If one of those tackles was me I’d have been banned for around ten months!" he laughed.

"I’m looking at the TV going, 'They're getting yellows, what’s going on here? It’s vendetta against McFadden stuff!'"

The Artemyev incidents McFadden referred to actually came after the governing body’s statement had been issued and has raised further questions being asked of the referee and TMO in that game.

And his former team-mate and fellow Left Wing panellist, Luke Fitzgerald also pointed the finger at the other on-field officials.

"It’s brilliant that they released a statement because it was really, really poor," he added. 

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"Even the offside line. Linesmen, just get involved in the bloody game, what are you doing out there? That Picamoles intercept was a joke.

"They really need to step up the game because there’s too much for the referee to watch at the breakdown. There’s so much going on, bodies flying everywhere.

"They have to be focussed on that stuff, they can’t be looking at the offside line as well. The referee can’t see that.

"If  there’s too much to look at, the linesmen need to get involved. It’s a great statement from World Rugby. People need to be punished for it and sometimes the only way to do that is on the biggest stage.”

McFadden also sounded a warning ahead of Ireland’s second game against Japan but his experience of being in camp with Joe Schmidt means he’s certain that the Ireland boss will be on top of the situation.

"With World Rugby mentioning that they were disappointed with the officiating, you can be sure they’re going to be hot going into the next game," he concluded.

"That’s another thing that Joe will be pointing out. He follows the guidelines of what the referees will be talking about from week to week so he’ll be making sure that all the boys are staying onside, no neck rolls, no taking people out in the air and just not risking losing guys to the bin."

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