World Cup referee stands by Warburton red

It may have been one of the most controversial decisions in Rugby World Cup history, but the man who sent-off Wales captain Sam Warburton during the 2011 semi-final against France has stood by his decision.

Alain Rolland dismissed Warburton in the early stages of the biggest game in Wales’ history for a tip tackle on France winger Vincent Clerc, arguably costing them a place in the final in the process.

He said: “If I had to do it all over again I would do the same thing. The important part for referees is to take the emotion out of it.”

“We can only officiate on the action itself and what he did merited what happened next because it was dangerous. Did he mean to do it? Was it intentional or unintentional?”

“We don’t officiate on intention, we officiate on the action itself. Unfortunately, what had happened gave me no option but to do what I did.”

“Any time you make a decision, 50% of the people think it is a great call and 50% of the people say ‘how did he come to that decision?’. That is just the way it is.”

“The thing you have to remember is that straight after the game there was huge emotion everywhere, which is understandable.”

“But in time, maybe in 10 or 15 years, it might calm itself down.”

In fairness to Rolland – who is set to get stick from Welsh rugby fans for many years to come – Warburton has since said that he deserved the red card.

The Welsh skipper – who is set to have many more chances to shine in a variety of Wales Rugby Shirts – revealed: “I can’t complain. There was no point in appealing against it and I didn’t have a leg to stand on really.”

It will perhaps take the Welsh public a little bit longer to get over the decision. Even without their skipper and talisman they only lost 9-8, so with him in their side it could have been a lot different.

It was still a successful tournament for Wales though and one which one them a lot of fans across World rugby. They just need to make sure they bounce back in the Six Nations next year to prove that they are a world-class unit.



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