Coach Dan McKellar didn’t hold back in his assessment of the decision to red-card Brumbies fullback Tom Banks for an inadvertent clash of heads during a match against the Western Force on Friday.
“It’s crazy,” said McKellar after Banks was sent off in the 29th minute of the Australian Super Rugby derby after conking heads with Toni Pulu as the Force wing attempted to score a try.
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When making the decision, referee Angus Gardner saw no mitigating factors and ruled that there was a high degree of danger as Banks stayed upright during the tackle, which caused Pulu to lose the ball over the tryline.
Therefore, Gardner decided to send Banks off and award a penalty try to the Force. Ironically, the Brumbies player came off second best as he had to leave the field for a head impact assessment (HIA) and suffered a facial fracture that is expected to keep him out for an extended period.
The decision left McKellar fuming and he argued for the introduction of an ‘orange card’, which would have players being sent off for a period of 20 minutes.
Super Rugby Pacific currently works under the red-card replacement rule, which allows teams to replace a player who has been sent off after a 20-minute period.
“I’d have an orange card, a 20-minute orange card,” McKellar said after the match. “And red card stays for deliberate foul play. You know, punching, gouging, whatever it may be. Tom Banks doesn’t have a dirty bone in his body.
“Deliberate foul play – throw red cards at them all the time. But for accidents … we’re going to have accidents every week.
“Banksy is sitting in hospital now with a facial fracture. I don’t think he deliberately went in to do that. I think it’s ridiculous. He’s five metres away from his line potentially trying to stop the ball. There’s a head-on-head collision. Toni changed direction. It’s crazy.”
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