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Heineken Cup
'More red cards would improve rugby'
ESPN Staff
April 7, 2014
Ulster's Jared Payne catches Alex Goode in the air, Ulster v Saracens, Heineken Cup, Ravenhill, Belfast, April 5, 2014
Ulster's Jared Payne takes out Alex Goode in the air © Getty Images
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More red cards of the type handed out to Ulster's Jared Payne on Saturday could improve rugby, according to former England hooker Brian Moore.

Payne was sent off by referee Jerome Garces after the Ulster full-back took out an airborne Alex Goode as he jumped to make a catch just four minutes into their Heineken Cup quarter-final. Ulster players protested that the card was a harsh punishment as they went down 17-15, but Moore believes Payne got what he deserved.

Writing in The Telegraph, Moore says: "It is quite simple. A chasing player is solely in charge of deciding how he goes after the ball. He can keep his eyes on the ball and jump for it; he can watch it and glance at any player likely to contest it and wait for that player to catch it and then flatten him; what he cannot do is put himself in a position where he does neither and is not in a position to avoid taking out a jumping catcher."

If more referees were willing to send off players for mid-air collisions, Moore believes the increased threat of a red card would deter sides from kicking, perhaps making the game more exciting for spectators.

Moore writes: "If this decision was followed more widely, and it should be, the game would not be ruined as some suggest. It might make kicking a less effective weapon and we might see less of it, which would not be a bad thing.

"There would still be room for well-executed kicks and well-timed chases and challenges but the almost default option of sticking it in the air and running after it would diminish.

"That said, Ulster were magnificent in defeat and had they taken the game Saracens could not have complained."

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