Anthony Watson was shown a straight red card against Saracens for colliding Alex Goode in the air. Goode went up for a high ball with Watson the kick chaser. As Watson approached the ball area his running line was cut off by Ashton. Watson stumbled into the path of Goode in the air and Goode came to ground dangerously.
It’s a difficult one to call and has been the subject of much debate from the fans.
Let’s be clear, by the letter of the law the ref really had no choice but to send Watson off. He made an unsafe collision with Goode while he was in the air and Goode fell dangerously.
I for one hope that the disciplinary hearing is favourable to Watson though. Many commentators have pointed to Ashton’s running line as the only reason Watson is unable to challenge in a legal manner. It’s what puts him of, checks his run and makes him stumble.
Again, by the letter of the law, Ashton’s running line was legal and so it’s Watson’s duty to ensure his challenge is legal. It would be harsh though if he receives a lengthy ban for what was, in reality, naivety and clumsiness.
Following that, Ashton flies in and shoves Watson, and it’s credit to Watson that he didn’t react in a more uncontrolled manner to Ashton’s provocation.
(The Watson / Goode / Ashton incident is shown at 1:21 in the highlights video)