England centre red-carded for shoulder charge on George North
Manu Tuilagi sent off at Twickenham
England centre Manu Tuilagi was sent off in England’s 33-30 Six Nations win over Wales at Twickenham.
England conceded two tries following Tuilagi’s dismissal but held on to record the victory and seal the Triple Crown.
Related: Wales score a stunner to bring Twickenham clash to life
Tuilagi was red-carded in the 75th minute for a dangerous tackle on Wales wing George North.
The incident happened as Wales were attacking in England’s 22 and as the ball was spread wide to North, the wing was tackled low by Henry Slade near the touchline. Then Tuilagi came across and made a dangerous tackle.
A TMO referral showed there was no attempt to wrap the arms and his shoulder made contact with North’s head.
Referee Ben O’Keeffe said: “It was a clear shoulder charge and there was clear contact with the head.”
Eddie Jones was not happy with the red card decision. He had a clear dig at O’Keeffe when saying it was “13 versus 16” and talking of Wales having a “three-man advantage” at the end.
Ellis Genge had been sin-binned following repeated infringements in the 22 and Manu’s red card reduced England to 13 men, and Jones clearly felt the referee was ruling in Wales’ favour.
“I found it bizzare,” said Jones when talking about the red card decision. “I usually don’t comment but I don’t see how you can tackle the guy. What a load of rubbish. Manu is trying to kill the tackle. It’s absolute rubbish. I’ve broken my rule.
“There is no common sense applied in that situation. The guy is falling after the chop tackle, Manu is coming over the top to to kill the tackle. He’s doing everything he’s supposed to be doing and he’s red-carded.”
Tuilagi is the first England player to be sent off in Five/Six Nations match and the first player from any country to score a try and be red-carded in the same championship game.
Five other players have been sent off playing in a Test match for England. The most recent was Elliot Daly in 2016, who was red-carded for tackling an Argentina player in the air.
In 2005 Lewis Moody was red-carded against Samoa for punching Alesana Tuilagi – Manu’s brother – and a year previous Simon Shaw was given his marching orders for a knee in a ruck against New Zealand.
In 1998, it was Danny Grewcock who was sent off. He was red-carded for kicking All Blacks hooker Anton Oliver.
The first England player sent off in a Test match was Mike Burton in 1975 against Australia in the ‘Battle of Brisbane’. His dismissal was for a late tackle.
The April issue of Rugby World magazine – focusing on a new generation of Six Nations stars – is out now.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.