"Utterly ridiculous" - Joe Marler and several England legends fume at red card
Freddie Steward received a controversial red card from Jaco Peyper.
England full back Freddie Steward received a red card for an elbow to the head of his Irish counterpart Hugo Keenan on the stroke of half time as his English side seek to halt Ireland's Grand Slam push.
The incident happened at breakneck speed, with Steward protesting his innocence to South African referee Jaco Peyper. However, Peyper was adamant that "in the current climate" it was a definite red card.
"That is not an attempted tackle, he is trying to get out of the way!"
Rob Kearney has sympathy for Freddie Stewart for that red card, Shane Horgan not so much.#IREvENG #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/Fuj11PBi4e
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 18, 2023
Despite the referee's assuredness in brandishing the red card towards the Leicester Tigers back, a number of former England internationals have taken to social media to express their anger with the decision.
83-time-capped England prop Joe Marler believed the call was incredulous, tweeting his ire at the half time interval, with the Harlequins loosened labelling the incident "utterly ridiculous".
Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. In fact it’s complete and utter bollocks.
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) March 18, 2023
Former England centre Will Carling was another who didn't agree with the potentially decisive call, with the one-time British and Irish Lion calling Peyper's decision "a bloody joke".
The 72-time-capped international also lamented the decision making process, suggesting that the speed of the incident should have been taken into account by the referee and TMO; "Steward had a split second to react".
Steward had a split second to react - after a knock on - to a man running at him. Of course his instinct should be to make himself as vulnerable as possible - there was no intent - he was protecting himself - what a bloody joke
— Will Carling (@willcarling) March 18, 2023
Outspoken pundit Austin Healy also chimed in online, with the former England and Leicester Tigers scrum half tweeting an expletive-laden response to Steward's dismissal just before the half time whistle.
Bullshit!!! The ball was knocked on he was bracing for impact and turning away …Utter shite decision
— Austin Healey (@IamAustinHealey) March 18, 2023
It was not just the English though who felt Freddie Steward was unfortunate to see red, with former Ireland full back Rob Kearney also calling the decision harsh, during the half time television analysis.
Kearney and former teammate Shane Horgan disagreed on the incident, with the former arguing that "That is not an attempted tackle, he is trying to get out of the way!"
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