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Wallabies’ Izaia Perese intentional knock down yellow card for intercept attempt panned

It’s the rugby law that even the refs can’t cop, and it is driving fans and players around the bend.

There are enough ways to get sent off or a stint in the sin-bin without punishing players for attempting but failing to grab an intercept.

In England’s win over Australia on Saturday night, Izzy Perese and then Marcus Smith both fell foul of the law and were off the field for ten minutes each.

“This is the absurdity we are seeing at the moment, with no common sense applied to some rulings,” said Stan commentator and former All Black Andrew Mehrtens when Perese was marched. “I absolutely take issue with this. That is not a deliberate knock on. There is no way he is thinking to knock that on.”

Injured Wallaby Andrew Kellaway said of Perese, whose intervention stopped a Tommy Freeman try: “What’s he supposed to do? He’s going for the ball and gets sent off. As a fan I hate to see that – as a player I hate to see it. The only people happy with it are England.”

But England were less happy in the second half when Smith tried to claw in a loose Wallabies pass and it fell to ground, sentencing him to the same fate as Perese.

“I think the game is out of control,” said coach Eddie Jones.

“We saw in the New Zealand – Ireland Test and at one stage the commentators couldn’t count how many players were on the field. Seriously, and they had three backs packing a scrum. We’ve gone the full hog where everything’s a yellow card, everything’s a red card, and then needs to be some common sense come back into the game.

“We’ve gone too far.

“They went for intercepts. It doesn’t make any sense. Whenever you’re reaching for a ball, your hand’s open. If you’re going like that knocking the ball down, and that’s the deliberate knock on and that should be penalised. But that’s not the actions we saw today.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was in no mood to use the officials to excuse his team’s defeat but agreed the law was unloved.

“I think if you ask the refs they don’t like it either. But it’s the law and so they’ve got to ref it,” said Rennie.

“Based on law, Marcus Smith got yellow carded and so did Izzy. There’s no doubt Izzy’s trying to catch it but if you go with it, with one hand you run a risk. It’s certainly different from an intentional slap down but it’s the law and I had no issue with the decision.”

The Roar expert Jim Tucker, talking on the instant reaction pod, said the law needs to go.

“I’m very strong on the thought there’s so much rubbish in the game now in terms of red cards and yellow cards that the knockdown one is just give us back three minutes of every game,” Tucker said.

“Isn’t it on the player who’s attacking to be skillful enough to get the ball to the next guy. If someone gets a hand in the way that’s a lack of skill from the attacker.

“Keep the players on the field, that’s a rubbish call. Get rid of it.”

Harry Jones added: “It doesn’t fit with the rest of rugby’s calibration. It’s very hard for something where someone is instinctively doing something. You’d have to do something stupid almost and put your hands behind your back which we don’t want. You play on.”

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