Aviva Premiership
Toby Flood cited for alleged tip-tackle
ESPN Staff
January 5, 2013
Does Leicester's Toby Flood deserve a citing and possible ban for this tackle?

Recent tip-tackle bans:

Leicester's joy at hitting the Aviva Premiership summit with victory over Worcester on Friday night has been tempered by the news that fly-half Toby Flood has been cited for an alleged tip-tackle on opposite number Andy Goode.

The Tigers climbed to the top of the table with a last-gasp 19-14 victory over the Warriors but it will have come at some cost should Flood be subsequently banned at his Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing in London on Tuesday.

A ban would severely hamper 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 may also impact 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 likely see Saracens' Owen Farrell and Gloucester's Freddie Burns retained for the clash against the Scots.

In related news, Flood's Tigers team-mate Matt Smith has been handed a Level One Citing for the use of an elbow on Worcester's Alex Grove during the same match. Smith's written warning is treated as a yellow card.

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

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