Ross Karl: Deciding penalty in second Lions Test another loophole that needs to be closed

Rugby's laws are ridiculous at the best of times, but few are as stupid as the one that ultimately decided the second Lions test.

Charlie Faumuina was penalised for tackling Kyle Sinckler in the air, after he jumped late to catch a pass.

It comes under law 10.4E. It states a player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground. 

Referee Jerome Garces ruled to the letter of that law, so you can't criticise him. He seemed almost apologetic but had no choice.

The rule makes sense for high balls and lineouts, where everyone knows the players will be jumping and there's time to prepare. When it comes to a normal tackle, when an opponent suddenly decides to jump, it's nonsensical. The tackler is trying to work within the laws, so if the goal posts are shifted by a late leap, they shouldn't be penalised.

In this case, it's the player that jumps making it dangerous. Maybe they should be penalised for hurting themselves.

Steve Hansen didn't complain about the penalty being given but made a strong point.

"If you look at it, Charlie's about to make a tackle. He's a big boy. He's about 133kg and he doesn't have the ability to stop halfway through," Hansen said.

The on-pitch conversation between Faumuina and Garces said it all.

"You cannot tackle the player in the air," Garces said.

Faumuina then replied, "I was committed. I didn't know he jumped".

Garces sympathised, "that's the reason why I don't give a yellow card, because the player jumped."

Kieran Read then summed it up perfectly.

"So next time, if I jumped and a player tackles me is it a penalty?" Read asked.

It's revealed a loophole. If players decide they're not going to beat a man, they might consider jumping. Why not milk a penalty?

Maybe a spate of them is needed, to show law makers that this is an area that needs to be revised. If players adapt by refusing to commit to tackles, they'll get dominated in the collision. It'll change the whole point of the game and make it a farce.

You can get penalised for anything at any time in rugby. This should not be one of those things.

Ross Karl is the Rugby reporter for Newshub.

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