International rugby fans were left gobsmacked by an atrocious tackle in the top level of the French League, which saw Castres player Ryno Pieterse red-carded immediately.
Pieterse was sent packing almost immediately after his late charge against Bordeaux-Begles halfback Maxime Lucu, who was brutally collected well after completing a clearing kick.
Both players were airborne in the ugly tackle, which was described by one Twitter user as 'one of the worst tackles ever'.
Pieterse launched himself into the air to hit Lucu on his way down, with the Castres player given his marching orders by Romain Poite in swift fashion.
Despite happening in a relatively low-profile game internationally, the sheer brutality of the hit prompted extensive reactions on social media.
Is… there a card *above* red?
Asking for whatever’s left of poor Maxime Lucu after this outrageously bad hit from Ryno Pieterse. 😬 pic.twitter.com/lkViOnMq9g
— Rucked Magazine (@rucked_mag) September 18, 2021
It even prompted well-known former referee Nigel Owens to weigh in, praising Poite for not beating around the bush with unnecessary reviews and calling to horrendous tackle as he saw it.
Owens also called for Pieterse to be handed a lengthy ban over the astonishing hit.“I never get involved in Citing’s or length of ban conversations. But this was as obvious a RC you will see and well done Romain, no TMO lengthy conversations," Owens wrote.
"But it has to now be followed by a very lengthy ban."
Other rugby fans felt similarly, with many calling for Pieterse to spend a lengthy spell on the sidelines for the indiscretion.
This is the worst red card incident I’ve ever seen. Ever. Absolutely horrific. https://t.co/dRFJaTeYG5
— Steph Brawn (@BrawnJourno) September 18, 2021
No words for anyone pretending this is acceptable
This thuggery could have caused life changing injuries and hopefully will result in a serious ban for Ryno Pieterse
— Andy Jolley (@ajjolley) September 18, 2021
It wasnt stupidity it was a violent and intentional act to try and injure a player.
Ryno Pieterse should be removed from playing for a long time... https://t.co/JEFdIZkjAF
— Grant Grieve (@Grant_Grieve13) September 18, 2021
Ryno Pieterse has just received the most stupid red card I've ever seen
Flying headbutt on Maxime Lucu late and off his feet
He'll be suspended for months and rightly so#COUBB
— Paul Eddison (@pauleddison) September 18, 2021
Former Welsh sportsman Scott Fitzgerald suggested the sport should look at a harsher penalty, such as teams not being able to replace a red-carded player after the 20-minute interchange penalty.
"If the new red card rule comes in to place, then they have to bring in an "In the middle" card colour," he wrote on Twitter.
"I.E. orange for unintentional sending off offence allowing a sub after 20 mins, but this has to be a red and 1 man down for the match."
Forward momentum spurring on Wallabies
While European rugby fans were preoccupied with the shocking hit in the French League, the Wallabies had set about registering their second win over South Africa in as many weeks.
It backed up their 28-26 victory on the Gold Coast six days earlier and saw Wallabies jump two more spots to No.3 in the world after starting last week in seventh.
The back-to-back wins are the first for the side since 2019 and under new coach Dave Rennie, coming after a comprehensive trio of losses to New Zealand.
Former Wallabies centre Tim Horan said coach Rennie had shown the Wallabies had improved under his watch after taking over in 2019.
"Two years out from the World Cup, you need to put a stake in the ground," Horan told AAP.
"Rugby fans aren't that patient, they want results now, which is why last night was very important.
"Finally, there seems to be depth in every position.
"It's exciting times and people say 'don't get carried away', well you have to enjoy your wins and appreciate how hard they are.
"We needed that and now, ranked third in the world ... third or fourth is probably fair at the moment. We definitely weren't seventh or eighth."
Ball-running prop Taniela Tupou was a sensation in just his second start in eight Tests this year.
He helped set up three tries with strong carries and a brilliant no-look pass Horan himself would have been proud of in an incredible 78-minute shift.
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