Oval Talk

Scotland star’s horrendous challenge will sadly be remembered

Oval Talk

To some uneducated sports fans there is a belief that anything goes in rugby; that it's a sport where rules are there to ensure that it remains lawless.

However, this incident is likely to make you think again.

Stuart Hogg is arguably Scotland's best player but his skills on the field were far from evident as he barged into Wales' Dan Biggar with a horrible late challenge.

The more replays were shown the more cynical and sickening it looked with Hogg swiftly scampering away as though nothing had happened.

Initially he was shown the yellow card, but sensational scenes ensued as official Jerome Garces changed his mind completely after viewing an action replay, quickly brandishing the red instead.

An act of utter madness, Hogg slammed his elbow into Biggar's jaw in a collision that would have left even the most hardened of fans wincing.

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Of course, the punishment was absolutely justified, and fans and experts were quick to express their disgust and outrage at the challenge.

It is far from the first sickener from a sports star, however, and such incidents are certainly not confined to the most physical of games in rugby.

There are any number of incidents of late and nasty challenges in football - the most recent high-profile example being that of Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini's high studs-up raking of Claudio Yacob's thigh.

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But perhaps the fact that Hogg's challenge came in a rugby match and warranted a red card in what is a hugely physical sport made it all the more shocking.

Indeed, while this was more off the ball given how late it was, it brought back memories of the way Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll was dumped - quite literally - out of a Lions tour by New Zealand's Tana Umaga.

As a very famous spear tackle it was probably more dangerous than Hogg's late blow on Biggar but it was no less shocking when replays showed what had happened.

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Thankfully Biggar was okay following Hogg's challenge and there was nothing to suggest that it was at all premeditated, but his rush of blood certainly cost his team.

As former Scotland scrum half Andy Nicol reflected: "When I watched it live, I thought it was bad. When it was shown as a replay, it's the fact that Stuart Hogg catches Dan Bigger in the face. It's a rush of blood which has put his team in a terrible, terrible position."

There were audible groans around the Millennium Stadium when the replay of Hogg's challenge on Biggar was shown and it will surely now go down as one of the worst challenges in Six Nations history.

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