When it comes to comparing football and rugby, it is safe to say that people involved with rugby have a lot more class and respect for one another. But it is hard to compare the sports, more the attitudes of the people involved.
A red card was dealt by referee Alain Rolland back in the Rugby Union World Cup 2011. This decision was later and still is labelled by many as controversial. Rolland gave Wales captain Sam Warburton a straight red card for this tackle on Vincent Clerc in the semi-final where France went on to win the game.
In what was a tightly contested affair, the game ending 9-8 to France, the card was issued just 18 minutes into the 80 minute match. Rolland received a lot of criticism from everyone in Wales as well as its coaching staff. If I remember correctly, even the commentators were shocked with his decision.
One of the many reasons for the outrage was the choice in referee in the first place. In my opinion, a referee who is both Irish and French should not be officiating a game where Wales and France were involved, especially in a world cup where Wales knocked Ireland out in the quarter finals. But that is my opinion.
Ahead of the Autumn Test match against South Africa on Saturday, it has been widely reported that Warren Gatland, Wales first team coach, will not take the opportunity to meet with Alain Rolland before the game.
Although I understand the resentment towards the referee, I also disapprove of his decision. Gatland must show his professionalism and not hold grudges. Especially as it is the referee in a game as big as the one on Saturday. In a massive game like facing South Africa, Wales cannot afford the official to have any excuse for a bias towards the away side. But that also depends on the referee himself. He will hopefully be trying to prove his professionalism as a referee and not allow off the pitch events to have an effect on the way he officiates. But only time will tell I suppose.
Good luck to Wales on the weekend, hoping for a win. My prediction is a tightly contested game with the final score leaning in South Africa’s favour at 10-13.