Saturday, March 19, 2005

Chris White is a spineless coward

I watched the second half of the Wales-Ireland match today, and I'll have more comments on that later. But there was one incident which so thoroughly disgusted me it stopped me from enjoying the rest of the match. With about 20 minutes to go, some fight erupted between Paul O'Connell, the Irish lock, and a Welsh player I was unable to identify.

This fight resulted in O'Connell pinning the Welshman to the ground, and landing at least three punches, and possibly more, whilst his opponent was completely undefended. Now, the Welshman most likely did something unacceptable first - such a complete mental breakdown is almost unexplainable otherwise. Yet Chris White, the referee, called the players over for a chat, and told them to be "very, very careful".

If ever there was a red card offence, that was it. That match was a Grand Slam decider - the most significant match Wales have played for over 20 years. Any young player watching the match now thinks that to punch a defenceless opponent pinned to the ground is acceptable. Chris White's decision was unfitting for a man supposed to be a highly respected referee. Quite simply, he bottled the decision. He is a spineless coward and should never referee an international again.

Thuggery has no place in sport. Clear cut examples of thuggery should be punished. O'Connell should be given a ban sufficient to keep him off the Lions tour for what he did today. For him not even to get a red card was a travesty of any notions of sporting justice.