Being a Payne

Ever since the 5th minute of the Heineken Cup Qtr. Final at Ravenhill the internet and media have been awash with the ‘was it? / wasn’t it?’ debate about the red card given to Jared Payne after the collision with Alex Goode.

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I had expected it to have finished by now – but there is still stuff being posted on twitter and elsewhere about the decision. There are even polls for voting on red or yellow – which of course will change everything won’t it!

Was it controversial? – sure – anytime a red card is shown it is likely to provoke arguments – if it occurs right at the beginning of an important game then it is probably going to affect the outcome.

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Depending on whether your name begins with O’ or is classic Anglo-Saxon it is fairly easy to guess which side you are going to come down on. Same for newspapers that have a pejorative postal address.

What isn’t in great dispute is the fact that Goode was tackled in the air or that there was anything malicious about Payne’s action. Having said that I have seen more than one comment suggesting that Jared was the one in danger of getting hurt (no – seriously) and there have been trolls attacking Goode for ‘faking injury’. One bloke suggested that it didn’t even warrant a yellow card. You can only hope that these idiots go back to watching football. It would be funny if it wasn’t so fucking stupid.

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Personally, I thought it was red – but I wouldn’t have been surprised or especially upset had it been yellow. It was reckless and the defence that he was ‘looking at the ball’ doesn’t hold water – “Tackling the jumper in the air. A player must not tackle nor tap, push or pull the foot or feet of an opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play.”

Looking at the ball doesn’t make it okay to paste the player catching it any more than it would be okay to whip out a Colt 45 and shoot him provided you were watching the trajectory.

It was a no win situation for Monsieur Garces – he was always going to have a tough job before the incident – but the cries of “cheat” that rang out in the match shamed the Ravenhill crowd.

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I’m English and don’t particularly follow Ulster in the Rabo Direct – but neither am I fan of Saracens.

They may be top of the Aviva premiership but for me there is something about their game that lacks the excitement of watching say Northampton or Leicester. The Vunipolas’ aside that is.

I also dislike the showboating of Ashton – he consistently not only risks dropping the thing but, almost without exception, dives away from the posts – thus making the conversion harder. On Saturday, with only a couple of points in it, that could have been a fatal error for his team. He does the same for England – in the win over the All Blacks in 2012 – you’ll see him diving unnecessarily wide – behind him you’ll see Mike Brown signalling frantically for him to head for the posts. Lancaster is right to exclude him while he continues to seek glory at the possible expense of the team. I have also yet to find real fan who thinks it is a smart thing for him to do.

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What really surprise me is that this is still going on – by comparison the Cueto ‘try / non try’ in 2007 hardly rated as a discussion point. The only thing that is getting more coverage currently is Maria Miller – bet Dave’s chuffed about that.

Fact is – you can have as many polls and as much ranting as you like – the record book will stay the same – guys it’s done – get over it and move on.

Of course I’ve done exactly the opposite and would have possibly prompted more debate – except no bastard reads this so no damage done – eh?

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