Alain Rolland defends Sam Warburton World Cup red card

Sam Warburton was sent off for this tackle
Sam Warburton was sent off for this tackle on Vincent Clerc

Alain Rolland has defended his decision to send off Wales captain Sam Warburton in the World Cup semi-final.

Rolland caused controversy when he gave Warburton a straight red card for a tip tackle on Vincent Clerc just 18 minutes into the 9-8 defeat by France.

Blues flanker Warburton has also said the Irish referee was correct.

"If I had to do it all over again I would do the same thing," said Rolland. "The important part for referees is to take the emotion out of it."

Although Rolland was criticised for dismissing Warburton, International Rugby Board directives on that type of tackle indicate he was within his rights to dismiss the 23-year-old openside.

"We can only officiate on the action itself and what he did merited what happened next because it was dangerous," Rolland told the Western Mail.

"Did he mean to do it? Was it intentional or unintentional?

"We don't officiate on intention, we officiate on the action itself.

"Unfortunately, what had happened gave me no option but to do what I did.

"Any time you make a decision, 50% of the people think it is a great call and 50% of the people say 'how did he come to that decision?'. That is just the way it is.

"The thing you have to remember is that straight after the game there was huge emotion everywhere, which is understandable.

"But in time, maybe in 10 or 15 years, it might calm itself down."

Rolland has praised Warburton for publicly revealing that he actually deserved to be sent off.

"To be fair to Sam, I think it is a true measure of the man he is," Rolland added.

"I don't think he had to come out to say anything and I didn't really care one way or the other because what happened, happened.

"I think for the game in general it was a very good comment by Sam because parents looking on would be happy to see he came out and said what he said, which might make the game a bit safer."

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