It is the rugby rule that most infuriates fans and it also triggered a fiery war of words between ex-Test stars Justin Harrison and Andrew Mehrtens on Thursday night.
Australia’s Izaia Perese and England’s Marcus Smith were both yellow carded for what were deemed to be deliberate knockdowns rather than genuine intercept attempts in last weekend’s second Test in Brisbane.
At the time, All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens slammed the law as an “absurdity” and he doubled down on that position on Rugby Heaven on Stan Sports.
Perese carded in rugby ‘absurdity’
Mehrtens asked Wallabies halfback Nic White whether he thought Perese was making a genuine intercept attempt and White agreed that he was.
“Enough said,” Mehrtens concluded, raising the ire of former Wallabies lock Harrison.
“It doesn’t validate it. Mehrts, you’re a peanut,” Harrison fired.
“That does not make Izzy Perese catch the ball. He drops the ball. If Izzy Perese misses that ball – let me finish – and the English winger catches it, he’s pretty close to scoring isn’t he Whitey? I know you’re coming across in cover and you’re the best at it, but he’s a red hot chance to score as well, isn’t he?”
White conceded in the affirmative.
“OK the defence rests, that’s it, thanks very much, argument finished Mehrts,” Harrison said.
Live from the The Pig ‘N’ Whistle, Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens review all the action from the epic Test clashes between the northern and southern hemisphere as well as keeping an eye on the exciting Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji
“That’s just a ridiculous proposition.”
But Mehrtens continued to argue his case against an increasingly agitated Harrison.
“It relies on the referee to determine whether he was a genuine chance to get it,” Mehrtens said.
“Now if you’ve got one of his teammates going ‘I was watching that thinking he’s a genuine chance, he could go 80 here, then’…”
That was the final straw for Harrison, who is also the chief executive of Australia’s rugby players association.
“I’m out,” Harrison said.
Andrew Mehrtens puts rugby governing body on blast
“It’s like arguing with Donald Trump. The answer is to examine the law, take it to World Rugby with the representatives that we’ve got from New Zealand – we don’t know who that is by the way, we need to find him out. Dave Rennie, go to the law enforcement changes and canvas it properly.
“Don’t create headlines, ‘World Rugby doesn’t care about us and all those sorts of things,’ that doesn’t achieve anything.”
The series decider is in Sydney on Saturday night as the inaugural Ella-Mobbs Trophy goes on the line.
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