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Punch by Manu Tuilagi was pure thuggery – why do rugby players get away with murder compared to footballers?

May 18th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

with 9 comments

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Tuilagi punch almost took Ashton's head off

Tuilagi punch almost took Ashton’s head off


Is it just me or is the sporting world guilty of unbelievable double standards when it comes to comparing bad behaviour in rugby with soccer?

When Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi delivered a jarring right hook that rocked back Chris Ashton’s head with alarming force during Saturday’s win at Northampton it was one of the most ferocious attacks ever seen on a football pitch. But because we’re talking rugby football and not association football this horrendous act of gervious bodily harm seems to have escaped the public condemnation it would have received if we were talking Premier League football and not Premiership rugby.

Wayne Rooney was given a 2-match ban simply for swearing into a TV camera while celebrating a goal during his incredible match-winning performance at West Ham United in April when Manchester United fought back from two goals down to win 4-2. The British press slaughtered the England striker and demanded the harshest punishment available.

Yet compare that to the sympathetic responses from the rugby press who seem to be suggesting that Tuilagi should be forgiven for an act that would have seen him locked up if it had happened on the streets of Leicester and not on the rugby pitch.

In yesterday’s Independent Chris Hewitt argued: In the muddy world of rugby, the centre’s punch on Chris Ashton was no worse than nicking the beer kitty and shouldn’t affect his England chances

There used to be a saying that rugby is a game watched by gentlemen and played by hooligans. Take a look at this video and then  try to explain to me why that is not the case here.  The punch comes in at 30 seconds and if you have not seen it before you will be shocked by the power and ferocity of the blow.



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LATEST NEWS – 18 MAY 2011: Manu Tuilagi has been handed a five-week ban after being found guilty of striking Northampton winger Chris Ashton during their Aviva Premiership semi-final clash at Welford Road. Tuilagi, celebrating his 20th birthday today, pleaded guilty to punching Ashton at an RFU panel in London after being reported by independent citing officer Alan Mansell following Leicester’s 11-3 victory at Welford Road. Judge Jeff Blackett, who chaired the panel, said an initial 10-week ban, the top level entry point for such an offence, was reduced by 50% due to “provocation”.

Tuilagi is banned until June 23 and will miss the Aviva Premiership Final against Saracens at Twickenham on May 28 and England Saxons’ Churchill Cup campaign. But he will be available for England’s World Cup warm-up matches against Wales and Ireland should he be selected by manager Martin Johnson’s plans.

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9 Responses to 'Punch by Manu Tuilagi was pure thuggery – why do rugby players get away with murder compared to footballers?'

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  1. It had been a while since I visited web site with such high quality information. Thansk rather a lot for the useful info. I find your site on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work Look send to reading more from you in the future.

    Lisa Iannucci

    18 May 11 at 19:30

  2. Thank you Lisa, that is very kind. i try to make my blog as interesting as possible for my readers. I hope to see you here again soon. John 🙂


    19 May 11 at 15:47

  3. I am so happy to find a website where someone is actually awake.. People on the other websites say that Ashton deserved it.. How did he deserve a 3 hit combo when his tackle was off the ball and high and late. I just cannot compete with this pure ignorance.. Glad to see you have a brain and i also support man utd which ban was ridiculous.

    Cheers David

    David Martin

    19 May 11 at 18:12

  4. David thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. Sadly in the modern age large sections of the media promote a malice and negativity among rival fans that is not healthy. I love sport and the old fashioned ideals of fair play and appreciation of skill. Some commentators get lost in trying to encourage confrontation. It’s not healthy. Thanks for reading my blog and hope you come back again soon. John


    19 May 11 at 22:40

  5. The difference is, footballers are cheats and wimps. A premier league footballer would have fallen to the ground rolling around holding his pretty little face as if someone had set fire to them in an attempt to have a fellow professional sent off. This is only at the prospect of Tuilagi drawing back for his first punch, let alone making contact with any of the 4 he landed!!! This was merely an incident where two grown gentlemen had a slight disagreement and settled it the old fashioned way. Ashton took all the punches in good spirit, remained on his feet, and they both finished the game, shook each others hands and even gave each other a manly hug, before no doubt reminiscing about the incident over pint in the clubhouse. This civilised resolution would not have been the result if it had happened on the streets of Leicester…

    Egg Chaser

    26 May 11 at 18:32

  6. How you can compare Wayne Rooney’s foul mouthed barrage and the events afterwards to this is beyond me. I play rugby but love the ‘beautiful game’ for its skill and finesse. I don’t know a single Leicester fan or rugby player who approved of what Manu did but I know that the second he did it (watch his reaction and face as he walks away from the ‘fight’ and as he is sent off) he understood he was in the wrong and instantly pleaded guilty to his actions when facing the citing committee. Cockers may not have commented straight away as the press would have liked but sensibly he took time to review the events and then admitted that Manu should not have done that. The reason Rugby players bans are often reduced is because they accept responsibility for what they have done rather than, in Wayne’s case, using the playground excuse that ’they all do it!’ As for Alex Ferguson’s reaction to it all, well he’s a disgrace to any sport to be honest! I love the hardness of rugby but despise the old school mentality of ‘a good punch-up’. I don’t agree with fighting in a sport where it is legal to hit someone hard within the laws of the game. What I do like about the game is admitting when you are in the wrong and apologising PROPERLY for your behaviour, shaking hands and having a beer afterwards.

    Oh and David watch the clip again, if the ball hadn’t bounced off Castro, Ashton would have caught the ball everyone would have been saying what a brilliant tackle it was by Manu. It wasn’t high, maybe a bit of a stiff arm if anything, but nothing more. Ashton’s reaction was over the top but Manu went completely over the edge!


    26 May 11 at 18:47

  7. Jim I respect your admiration of the way rugby players accept their punishment and the way they allow the officials to control the match. The reason for the Rooney comparison was to highlight the way the media over react when things go wrong on the football pitch and rugby players in comparison are allowed to get away scott free. Football can definitely learn a lot from rugby. But if there is one footballer who demonstrates the physical attributes and qualities of a rugby player that man is Wayne Rooney who plays for the love of the game, with passion, total physical commitment and he does accept his punishment. Rooney’s suspension for swearing into a camera is unprecedented and in my opnion cost Manchester United the FA Cup because his ban from the semi-final defeat against Man City proved decisive. As for your comments on Sir Alex Ferguson, I am sorry but what you say demonstrates a poor appreciation of the essence of what sport is all about. Fergie is the ultimate role model for any manager or coach in any sport. Do not be blinded by the pathetic anti-Fergie rubbish the southern-biased media try to brain wash us with. Ask just about any player who has ever played for him and they will tell you why Fergie is the greatest. I have dealt with Fergie personally and there is no one like him. He is special. And as hungry to achieve now in his 70th year as he has ever been.


    27 May 11 at 19:42


  9. Вид на жительство в Андорре…


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