Not a great start for new Ireland manager Mick Kearney. Somehow he managed to infer from yesterday’s disciplinary hearing on the Stephen Ferris tackle that the committee decided Wayne Barnes was wrong to award a penalty, never mind a yellow card.
Worse still he went public with this idea. In an ill-conceived statement from the IRFU this notion was added to the good news that Ferris was free to play against France, as if the panel had apologized to the lads for wasting their time. The IRFU statement on the issue read:
“While we understand and fully support the stance to stamp out dangerous tackles in the game to make it safe at all levels, the disciplinary panel itself felt that the decision to award a penalty was incorrect and we also felt that it was a fair and legitimate tackle by Stephen.”
Interestingly the Six Nations statement on the citing, and that of Bradley Davies, drew no such conclusion. That simply said that Ferris’s citing was not upheld, which is not the same thing as Wayne Barnes having got it wrong to the extent that the penalty should not have been awarded.
So not only do the Six Nations committee have the hump, but so do the IRB and, not surprisingly, the (English) RFU who saw one of their employees portrayed as having made a horlicks of it. A hat trick then!
Incidentally I don’t think Barnes should have awarded a penalty but I can readily understand why he did. And I, unlike him, had the benefit of technology before arriving at that position.
We await the next IRB press release with interest.