First let me make a confession. I am an Englishman who has never supported Wales before nor wanted them to win before. Well okay I did once support Cardiff when they were playing Leicester Tigers but I mean that was the Tigers! This morning I got up and wanted the Welsh to win. Its simple. They have been the best side in the tournament to date, entertaining, inventive, a credit to their nation and people. An All Black Wales final would be a mouth watering prospect.
And for the first seventeen minutes it looked as if the Welsh were going to win. They were starting to dominate the set piece and their runners looked dangerous and sharp. Until that tackle and that decision.
Warburton’s tackle on Le Clerk which ever way you view it, was a spear tackle. Spear tackles are dangerous and the only sanction the referee has is to give is a red card to the tackler if he deems the tackle to be a spear tackle. It does not matter that it was a semi-final, it does not matter that it was in the eighteenth minute, it does not matter that there may have been no intent. It does not matter that other referees have given different decisions during the tournament. And for the record Alain Roland is an excellent referee. It was dangerous and it was a red card.
It was tough on Wales. They responded magnificently. They could have won, they should have won, perhaps if they had taken the drop goal option? Les Bleus looked ordinary, with little real idea how to beat 14 men. They scraped through. But they are in the final, and as we know in finals anything can happen. I am gutted for my Welsh friends and for the distant relatives we have in Monmouthshire. But be proud of the way you played and as importantly the way you accepted the referees decision. I can think of other sports that would have treated the official differently, but you showed true sportsmanship and got on with it.
And spare a thought for Les Bleu. They won the game, they probably didn’t expect to, it was not their fault that Warburton got sent off. Lets hope that they find that special something next weekend and make the final a memorable one for the right reasons.