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Gregor Townsend has hit out at World Rugby’s disciplinary process around high tackles — insisting it simply isn’t fit for purpose.
Townsend watched his Scotland side kickstart their World Cup campaign by scoring seven tries in a clinical bonus-point win over Tonga in Nice.
But the match was soured somewhat by the incident which forced skipper Jamie Ritchie off the field in the first half following a failed head-injury assessment (HIA).
Tonga winger Afusipa Taumoepeau was sin-binned for an appalling high tackle which saw his shoulder catch Ritchie on the chin. However, the controversial bunker system inexplicably failed to upgrade it to a red — and Townsend blasted the officials for failing to make the correct call.
Gregor Townsend (pictured) has hit out at World Rugby’s disciplinary process around high tackles
It came after Scotland ran seven tries past Tonga to claim their first victory at the Rugby World Cup, 45-17
But Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie (middle) was removed from the game after failing a HIA after Afusipa Taumoepeau struck him high with his shoulder
‘It’s very disappointing that our captain, one of our key players, was hit in the head and had to be removed from the game,’ said the Scotland head coach.
‘It’s twice now that’s happened. Against South Africa, Jack Dempsey was hit in the head. Nothing happened that day, and today it was only a yellow card.
‘I just don’t understand what the TMO bunker and the three officials — who are there to say if it’s a red card — are looking at.
‘We’re trying to look at ways to not give red cards rather than referee what isn’t a legal tackle and should be a red card, in my opinion.’
Under the new bunker system, the Foul Play Review Officer and other officials involved have eight minutes to decide whether to upgrade a yellow card to red. Townsend says the system isn’t working as intended, with the high shot on Ritchie a perfect example.
Ritchie will now face a 12-day stand-down period as per concussion protocols, but Scotland are confident he will be fine to face Ireland in Paris on October 7.
‘The TMO bunker is not being delivered as what I thought it would be,’ said Townsend, who was also highly critical of the decision not