IT WAS A decision that changed the Rugby World Cup, prompted something akin to a national period of mourning and ultimately gifted New Zealand victory on home soil — depending on who you listen to.
But Sam Warburton put his hand up yesterday and admitted that referee Alain Rolland was right to send him off in Wales’ narrow semi-final defeat to France.
The Welsh skipper was given his marching orders for a dangerous “tip tackle” on Vincent Clerc in the first half in Eden Park, sparking furious debate over whether or not Rolland had made the right call.
Now, having watched the incident back, Warburton says that the tackle was a lot worse than he initially thought and that he can have no complaints about the decision.
“I have seen it played back, the tackle is a lot uglier than I thought it was at the time,” Warburton said. “When I looked at it on the replays it looked worse than I thought it was.”
“I didn’t intend to do anything like that and I had only had a yellow card in my career up until that point so it was a shock to get a red, but there was nothing I could do and I just had to support the boys for the rest of that match and the remaining game against Australia.
At the end of the day the IRB said if you lift up a player and drop him it’s a red card, and that’s exactly what I did. I can’t complain. There was no point in appealing against it and I didn’t have a leg to stand on really.