The Springboks prop was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Japan's Keita Inagaki in the World Cup quarter-final


Should Tendai Mtawarira tip tackle have resulted in red card?

Eight years ago, Sam Warburton was sent off for a tip tackle on Vincent Clerc in Wales’ World Cup semi-final against France. Wales fought admirably in that match but ultimately lost by a point – history repeated itself in the two nations’ quarter-final this weekend, only the result was reversed.

Referees were clamping down on the tip-tackle offence back in 2011 and it’s fair to say that type of tackle has become less prevalent in the game since.

Yet in this year’s quarter-final between Japan and South Africa, Tendai Mtawarira was penalised for a similar tackle on his opposite number Keita Inagaki.

The Japan loosehead was carrying the ball forward in the tenth minute when Mtawarira stepped in to make the tackle. Yet with the power of his hit he ended up taking Inagaki beyond the horizontal and dangerously tip-tackling him.

The seriousness of the tackle was evident in the reaction of Jamie Joseph sitting in the Japan coaching box while Springbok Mtawarira immediately apologised too.

Referee Wayne Barnes was quick to brandish the yellow card. The fact Inagaki landed on his shoulder appeared to be the mitigating factor in why a red card was not shown, but the fact Barnes didn’t consult the TMO did raise some eyebrows.

Watch the tackle here and see whether you think it should have been a red or yellow card…

The decision certainly divided opinion on social media and Japan may well consider themselves unlucky not to have been playing against 14 men for the rest of the match.

Inagaki was among Japan’s try-scorers as they beat Scotland 28-21 in their final pool match last weekend to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

Keep track of events in Japan via our Rugby World Cup homepage.

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