Beijing Women’s Rugby Team Throws Match After Controversial Call, Loses 71-0

Bad calls happen in sports, we all know, but rarely does a team react like this.

In the finals of the women’s rugby sevens competition at the 12th Chinese National Games on Tuesday in Shenyang, Liaoning province, Beijing went down two early unconverted tries, 10-0, against Shandong. Early in the second half, a Beijing player was shown a yellow card and sent off. While she was on the bench, Shandong scored another try — though on a controversial play that Beijing thought warranted a yellow for its opponent.

Unhappy with the referee, Beijing’s players then huddled on the field and watched as their opponents scored 56 uncontested points to win 71-0.

Global Times reports that Beijing coach Jiang Xuming shouted from the dugout, “Change the ­referee and then we will go on ­playing.”

The decision to stage an on-field protest was apparently not unanimous:

Liu Jingchao, a sports reporter with the Shenyang-based Chinese Business Morning News newspaper, said on his Sina Weibo after the match, “Most of the Beijing players wanted to continue to play, and some of them even cried when the head coach decided to throw the match.”

15-0 doesn’t seem insurmountable, but at 22-0, another Beijing player was issued a red card, taking the team down to five players.

What happened? Perhaps the team bought into its own hype — most commentators predicted it would win gold — and when the game stopped going according to script, it simply self-combusted.

We asked Zach Fanders, who plays rugby in Beijing and referees high school games, to take a look at the controversial play, which you can watch above. Here’s his analysis:

A Beijing player was given a yellow card before the video starts, so Beijing was down to six players for two minutes. The score was 10 – 0 to Shandong. In the beginning of the video a foul is called against Shandong. It looks to me that the ref called the Shandong player for diving over the ball and sealing it at the ruck; you have to keep your feet. Beijing was awarded a penalty and took a quick tap (she did complain to the ref before she took the tap about one of the Shandong players; I think she wanted the ref to call a professional foul and reciprocate with a yellow card because she was not able to tap the ball as quickly as she wanted to, but to call that would have been a bit of a stretch). After the penalty the Shandong players needed to get back 10 meters, so they couldn’t tackle her until they were, but they got back 10 meters before they did. The Shandong player tackled the Beijing player as she was trying to kick the ball, but her foot did not make contact with the ball. Therefore, it was a knock on to Shandong, in which the ref was playing advantage to Shandong, and the Shandong girl picked up the ball and ran for a try. From the video, everything looked fine. Not sure what happened in the first half, and how the Beijing player got the yellow card.

The Chinese National Games jury said after the match that the referee, who’s from Spain, made “accurate and fair” decisions, and that Beijing played “negatively.”

After the game, Jiang insisted that the ref’s bias was “too obvious.” But a few hours later, that night, the Beijing team apologized. Global Times again:

“We totally lost our composure during the match. Our inappropriate behavior tarnished the images of rugby and the National Games. We sincerely apologize for it,” the Beijing team said in a statement.

The Beijing delegation doubled down on the apology:

“We respect and accept the decision of the jury committee. We’ve learned lessons from this incident and will not violate discipline and code of ethics in future,” the delegation said in a statement.

Rare as it is, this is not the first time we’ve encountered a coach threatening to pull his players off the field/court after a bad call. On a playground somewhere in this world, a boy threatens to take his ball and go home.

This story’s not quite over though. Afterwards, an Australian coach at the game working for Jiangsu was called a racial slur by a Beijing assistant coach. Reports SCMP:

“But the referee did nothing wrong,” said the unnamed Australian coach from team Jiangsu, who allegedly lashed out at the Beijing assistant. ”What you did was not ethical,” he said.

This infuriated the Beijing staffer, who shouted back: “It’s none of your business, N*****.”

A scuffle then ensued.

Good showing, Beijing. Way to represent.

Here’s a picture of the scuffle:

Scuffle after Australian coach called racial slur

6 Responses to “Beijing Women’s Rugby Team Throws Match After Controversial Call, Loses 71-0”

  1. Haha

    Can’t believe the Shandong players were flying into each others arms in joy at the end. As if they had won the Champions League instead of just winning a disgraceful match. (Not their fault, but it wasn’t epic.)

    Reply
  2. r_f

    The first yellow card was for killing the ball at a ruck, a tad harsh perhaps but ref may have felt it was a pattern that needed stopping. The second was for a dangerous tackle, BJ player nailed SD player in air at kick-off, was blatantly dangerous and deserved the yellow. See full game here (http://news.cntv.cn/2013/09/03/VIDE1378197122253234.shtml), first card at 10mins, second at 14mins. The demands for a yellow in return by BJ are typical sports psychology self-delusion, and when they didn’t get what they wanted (and it wasn’t a glaringly bad call, debatable but the right call on balance) they throw their toys. For those with rugby history in China the BJ coaches are notorious, particularly the head coach who made the call to forfeit the game – the same old Chinese team sports nonsense: corruption of all kinds, bullying, pettiness and a mammoth sense of entitlement. Clearly they’re determined to make a new team sport look as bad as all the others do in China, with the men dragging the women down for a change. You can see many BJ girls not wanting to stop, and at all levels Chinese female rugby players’ commitment and ability offers hope for the sport here. BTW the shot above of the fight shows the Jiangsu head coach with one of his assistants trying to restrain him; the BJ coach who used the racial slur is presumably the white guy in this vid seen unwelcomely hugging a crying BJ player – so a class act all round. (http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/113907030-1802565057.html).

    Reply
    • Can't remember my username

      “BTW the shot above of the fight shows the Jiangsu head coach with one of his assistants trying to restrain him.”

      There are a heap of Islanders and Indigenous Australians playing rugby and these men and women are generally outstanding players and highly respected in the sport of Rugby in Australia, they are certainly not men and women to trifle with or racially insult. As such and in my experience, the white guy, if he’s a Australian coach, wouldn’t dare/consider using an Americanism like Nigger, or any antipodal equivalent.

      From the photo it appears the Chinese dude gobbed off, called what appears to be the indigenous Australian coach(a then angry indigenous Australian coach), a nigger and the Australian quite understandably proceeded to have a quiet word in Chinese assistant’s ear about racial insults. So the SCMP article certainly fits here:

      “the unnamed Australian coach from team Jiangsu, who allegedly lashed out at the Beijing assistant. ”What you did was not ethical,” he said.

      This infuriated the Beijing staffer, who shouted back: “It’s none of your business, N*****.”

      If the Australian is trying to restrain him, it’s certainly an unusual way to do it.

      ‘presumably the white guy in this vid seen unwelcomely hugging a crying BJ player.’

      I didn’t think it looked as such, although not really appropriate.

      “with the men dragging the women down for a change. You can see many BJ girls not wanting to stop, and at all levels Chinese female rugby players’ commitment and ability offers hope for the sport here.”

      Agreed and I’m glad rugby is being played here. It’s a fantastic game and takes a lot of courage and skill to play. I hope the Chinese women that have taken up the sport do well in the future.

      Reply
      • Chinese Netizen

        I think the Chinese coach just pointed in a direction and yelled “nei ge” to his colleague. The Aussie flew off the handle, not knowing it meant “that”!

        Reply
        • Jive madra

          What are the chances; Most Beijingers (where I live) have no English whatsoever. This dude encounters one who knows enough to insult him… Some people have all the luck

          Reply

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