The footballisation of rugby #3 – Hogg, Habana and The Beast

This article is the latest in the series looking at the further footballistion of rugby. We have already covered Nico Matawalu (#2) and Pat Lam (#1) but today’s focus is on a few separate incidents in the recent South Africa – Scotland Rugby World Cup fixture.

Perhaps playing in a football stadium makes rugby players do odd things but the ghost of Faustino Asprilla  was live and well in Newcastle as a series of top class rugby players behaved more like their footballing cousins in a Newcastle Sunderland derby.

In mitigation this was a big fixture for both teams and a series of decisions by referee Nigel Owen’s seemed to frustrate Scotland and cause a simmering tension to build up that lasted most of the game.

Here are the 3 incidents.

Stuart Hogg arching back dive 

Hogg’s running from deep has been one of the highlights of this World Cup so it was a shame that he felt he needed to exaggerate fairly minimal contact from The Beast. Nigel Owens doesn’t miss a chance for a quick one liner and suggested Hogg should come back in a couple of weeks’ time when the footballers were back.

It was only a couple of months ago that referees were instructed by the governing body to clamp down on diving at the RWC so it was perhaps surprising that Owens didn’t sanction Hogg.

Bryan Habana’s exaggerated dive

We know that Scotland’s Greg Laidlaw tackled Habana without the ball, what we didn’t need was Habana’s over exaggerated dive resplendent with an arching back and a look of horror on his face.

Habana has been a great player but he is in danger of tarnishing his reputation with these sorts of actions. He has a bit of past form for making the most of challenges as we can see from this clip from a Toulon – Saracens Heineken Cup game.

Beast sarcastically applauds yellow card for Laidlaw

Owens showed Laidlaw a yellow card for his early tackle on Habana but his mood wasn’t improved as The Beast Mtawarira decided to sportingly clap in his face as he walked off. Nice touch.

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