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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 10 April 2021

Should Saracens' Michael Rhodes have seen red for this hit against Ulster?

Andrew Trimble was taken out in the air at Kingspan Stadium.

ULSTER WERE WELL beaten by a far superior Saracens side on a 27-9 scoreline in their Champions Cup tie at Kingspan Stadium last night, with Mark McCall’s men underlining their credentials in the European competition.


It was far from the losing of the game, but there was a controversial moment in the first half when referee Romain Poite gave Saracens’ back row Michael Rhodes a yellow card for smashing the airborne Andrew Trimble.

Many supporters and pundits called for red at the time.


Ulster themselves have been on the wrong end of a red card for a challenge on a player in the air in recent seasons, with Jared Payne memorably sent off by Jérôme Garcès for his hit on Saracens’ Alex Goode in the 2014 Heineken Cup quarter-final in Belfast.

In June of this year, World Rugby moved to clarify the laws around challenging players in the air – Law 10.4 (i) – and stated the below:

Play on – Fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball. Even if the player(s) land(s) dangerously, play on.

Penalty only – Fair challenge with wrong timing. No pulling down.

Yellow card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player is pulled down landing on his back or side.

Red card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player lands on his head, neck or shoulder.

What did you make of Rhodes’ challenge on Trimble? Did Poite and his refereeing team make the correct decision?

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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