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Rory Underwood Exclusive: England being treated differently with TMO & ‘Bunker System’; Jesse Kriel was lucky to escape censure

Rory Underwood
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In an exclusive interview with SafeBettingSites.com, former England rugby international Rory Underwood gave his breakdown on Tom Curry’s red card and how the correct decision was reached by the bunker.

The ex-winger, who played in three Rugby World Cups, revealed his frustration at the lack of refereeing consistency already on display in France and named South African Jesse Kriel as one who was fortunate to escape punishment. 

Interview Highlights:

  • Curry & England being treated differently with TMO & ‘Bunker System’
  • Laws of rugby in danger of impacting game negatively
  • Players shouldn’t receive red cards simply for bad technique with no intent


Referee in England game made correct call despite bunker upgrade

Underwood says the referee in England vs Argentina made the right move by initially sin-binning Tom Curry for his high tackle on Argentina’s full back because it allowed the game to continue while bunker analysed his decision;

Rory Underwood: “In that circumstance I think it was a case of the referee just wanting someone else to check the decision because it was a jumper coming down. There was a change in height by the Argentinian fullback when he caught the ball. There was an element of ‘there’s quite a lot of people and bodies around there so I’ll let the bunker handle it.’ That’s what it’s there for. I personally think that’s a very good example of using the bunker system. Yes, some referees would have given a red card. But by initially giving a yellow card, you have the same effect of a red with the player coming off pitch but it gives the opportunity for the bunker to look to see if there were any mitigating circumstances and resolve that. The fact he wasn’t given a red straight away is irrelevant because the bunker system did what it is supposed to do.”

England & Curry being treated differently with TMO

While Curry was sent off for his high tackle, other similarly dangerous tackles and impacts seen at the World Cup already have not resulted in the same punishment, much to the frustration of Underwood;

“The part that’s confounded all of us watching is that you see Jesse Kriel going into a head to head contact in the South Africa vs Scotland game, there was another one in the Chile game I heard about but didn’t see and I think there was yet another one in the Wales vs Fiji game. One was a yellow card and that was it, but the Jesse Kriel one wasn’t even picked up by the TMO and that was a head to head and you wonder why it wasn’t picked up at all. So that frustrates us as supporters watching the game. Whether it’s a red, a yellow or whatever, why didn’t the bunker system pick it up? I personally get very frustrated with this whole inconsistency.”

Laws of game ‘so far apart’ from reality of world class rugby

Underwood questions rugby’s lawmakers and believes certain rules are very difficult to apply due to spectacular pace of the modern game;

“Yes I get that safety is of paramount importance but from my perspective, we’re getting into a situation where we’re trying to create rules that are easy to stipulate in a room in the cold light of day but then trying to apply them in a split second in a physical situation with 360 type movement changes. The two things are so far apart. It’s a bit like the rule makers are affecting the game rather than allowing the game to go on. It’s a very difficult balance but for me, I want to see the games decided by what happens on the pitch.”

England’s discipline is less of a problem than bad technique

Despite racking up three red cards in their last four games, Underwood doesn’t believe England have a discipline issue that needs addressing. He believes Tom Curry’s sending off was simply down to bad technique when tackling an opponent who was catching a high ball;

“I’ve heard England being criticised for indiscipline but for me that wasn’t indiscipline. Tom Curry got his technique wrong but indiscipline when you talk about foul play, that’s a deliberate action to go and do something. 

Rory Underwood

Born on June 19, 1963, in Middlesbrough, England, Underwood's illustrious rugby career took flight when he earned his first cap for the England national rugby union team in 1984 against Ireland. Underwood was an integral part of the England team that secured a Grand Slam in the Five Nations Championship in 1991. This historic achievement cemented his status as one of England's rugby legends.

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