Foul play all in eye of beholder

Somethings in life are clear-cut. Night follows day, three buses come at once, rates will go up to build bridges to nowhere.

But much in life is neither here nor there. A bit halfway, not entirely bad but not entirely good either.

In the sport of rugby, only a few things are clear-cut.

Some are, like the scoring of a penalty goal or being in front of the kicker.

But an awful lot of it is not. It is the shade of grey in a black-and-white world.

Unfortunately, what has happened is World Rugby has tried to make its laws around foul play and hits to the head totally black and white.

But much of the game is played in the grey margin.

Not every hit to the head is dangerous, not every tip tackle is a deliberate attempt to endanger the opponent.

Some are, like the wild hit put on Hurricane Wes Goosen by Chiefs midfielder Johnny Fa'auli last Friday night, which fully deserved a six-week ban.

The calls for World Rugby to do something about the confusion over red cards and what is foul play are well overdue and surely they will now make a change.

Plenty of pundits, coaches and players have been calling for something to be done.

However, has anyone actually really thought this through? Surely, any solution is just going to bring up a whole new set of problems.

That is what many people seem to be missing in this debate over red cards and foul play.

People say common sense will prevail and anyone can spot foul play. Just use common sense and let the referee make a judgement.

An accidental collision is clear to everyone as when Beauden Barrett collided with French fullback Benjamin Fall in Wellington last month.

That should have been a warning to Fall and the game continues.

Sure in most cases. But we all know it will not take long before a debateable head-high tackle ends in someone getting red carded and the coach will start whinging.

That same tackle will be compared to another tackle in a previous game which was just as high and the player stayed on the field.

And who will be under fire? Instead of World Rugby it will be the poor old man - or woman - in the middle.

That is all the game needs at the moment - more questioning about referees. It will just heap more pressure on them.

It's like the television match official. The referee cannot make a decision so he just switches the pressure to the man in the stand. In the end, someone has to make a judgement call whether they are on the field or in the stand.

In most cases, common sense will prevail and everyone will go away happy.

But leaving it up to referees to make a common sense call in a game of small margins and interpretations hardly seems like the ideal solution.

Head-high tackles and dangerous rucking is all in the eye of the beholder.

Life is like that - some people detest those wind turbines on the skyline. Others barely give them a second glance.

Unfortunately, World Rugby is facing a near impossible task. Is it not a touch naive to think all the fuss around foul play will go away by taking a ''common sense'' approach and putting it into the hands of the referee?

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