Wallabies Lachlan Swinton yellow card on Springboks Duane Vermeule, Suncorp stadium, rugby championship

Wallabies flanker Lachlan Swinton may count himself lucky after escaping a red card following a shoulder charge on Springboks No.8 Duane Vermeulen.

Swinton was issued a yellow card from match official Matthew Carley after a shoulder from the 24-year-old left Vermeulen in need of assistance, struggling to his feet.

With the Wallabies in control during their second Rugby Championship match against South Africa, the Australians appeared destined to lose Swinton for the remainder of the game when the match official called for the red card.

“The player was never legal because he leads with his arm by his side directly into the contact,” Carley said.

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“There is shoulder-to-shoulder contact but simultaneously.

“There is also head-to-head contact. Now because the player is upright and never making the attempt to make a legal tackle, I can’t see any mitigation.

“So with that being the case, it’s going to be a red card.”

However, after one final inspection before making the call, the match official changed his mind: “Shoulder first, then the head contact. We’re bringing it from red, down to yellow.”


Under the new laws, a red card only lasts for 20 minutes, but the player issued with the card can’t return and must be replaced by someone else.

The decision of a yellow card came as a relief to Wallabies great Tim Horan, who suggested Brisbane rugby fans in attendance would not have been happy if a red card was given.

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“I will tell you what, the security guards would’ve been busy if the red card came out. The crowd was going off,” Horan said in commentary for Nine and Stan Sport.

“It was probably a fair call. Swinton just needs to lower his body height a little bit.”

Meanwhile, All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens argued Swinton was lucky not be issued a red card.

“I reckon Lachie Swinton has dodged a bullet there with a yellow card instead of red,” Mehrtens said.

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“But I am at least glad that there’s recognition that a collision like that looks much worse when slowed down.


“It’s so hard to change body position in a fraction of a second so seeing it in real-time is the way to go. At first, I thought it was going to be red.”

The Wallabies went on to record a famous 30-17 win.

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