Aviva Premiership
Toby Flood cleared of tip-tackle charge
ESPN Staff
January 8, 2013
Did Leicester's Toby Flood deserve a ban for this tackle?

Recent tip-tackle bans:

Leicester fly-half Toby Flood has been cleared of a tip-tackle on Worcester's Andy Goode during their Aviva Premiership clash on Friday night.

Flood was cited in the wake of the Tigers' 19-14 victory at Sixways for an ugly challenge on his Warriors counterpart that went unpunished during the game itself. But the charge was dismissed by a disciplinary panel in London tonight and Flood is free to continue playing.

The chairman of the panel Jeremy Summers said: "Whilst we found that the elements of a dangerous tackle were made out, after very careful analysis we could not be satisfied, to that standard required, that the dynamics of the incident had not been caused, or contributed to, significantly by the involvement of other players from both teams."

A ban would have severely hampered Leicester's push for a Heineken Cup quarter-final place with crucial pool clashes against the Ospreys and Toulouse to come in the next fortnight. A suspension would have also impacted on Flood's hopes of returning to the England fold for their Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 2.

The 27-year-old sat out England's headline-grabbing victory over New Zealand last month and while he is expected to retain his place in Stuart Lancaster's latest Elite Player Squad that will be announced this week, a ban would have no doubt seen Saracens' Owen Farrell and Gloucester's Freddie Burns retained for the clash against the Scots.

In related news, London Welsh hooker Neil Briggs has been suspended for three weeks for punching Harlequins wing Sam Smith. Briggs will be sidelined for the Exiles' Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures against Cavalieri and Stade Francais, plus their Anglo-Welsh Cup appointment with Harlequins.

IRB Law on 'tip-tackles' or 'spear tackles':

Law 10.4(j) reads: Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

A directive was issued to all Unions and Match Officials in 2009 emphasizing the IRB's zero-tolerance stance towards dangerous tackles and reiterating the following instructions for referees:

- The player is lifted and then forced or 'speared' into the ground (red card offence)

- The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player's safety (red card offence)

- For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles a yellow card or penalty may be considered sufficient

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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