Commentators left baffled as referee gives Ed Quirk 'extremely soft' red card

Super Rugby Rd 19 - Reds v Sunwolves

The Reds ended their season in style with a massive 48-27 victory over the Sunwolves at the Suncorp Stadium.

However, an incident early into the second-half has caused a stir in the rugby world, as many have urged for World Rugby to call an urgent law summit.

After the Reds went down to 14 men through the sin-binning of Duncan Paia'aua, referee Ben O'Keeffe's harsh decisions had started to become questioned.

In the 44th minute, O'Keeffe showed a red card to Sunwolves backrower Ed Quirk after an incident where Quirk's fist appeared to come into contact with Reds fly-half Hamish Stewart.

Amidst the carnage in the ruck, Quirk wrestled with Stewart and ultimately grazed his forearm and fist against the head of the 20-year-old fly-half.

The referee called a stoppage to play, where he consulted TMO Damien Mitchelmore to determine whether a red card needed to be given.

Through his earpiece, O'Keeffe said: "So you're telling me there's a clear closed fist into his opponent's face who was on the ground. For me, I've got no other choice than to give a red card for that closed fist."

The commentators seemed shocked by the decision, to say the least. One blurted out: "Oh my goodness."

The other responded: "I don't think there's too much there, he's given a little forearm wrap to the head but I don't know what the referee has seen there."

Even Reds coach Brad Thorn seemed baffled by the decision after the game.

He said: "Maybe I'm just a relic but it's got to be severe for a red card. Eye-gouging or a spear-tackle.

"People don't want to see the contest ruined."

The Reds capitalised on a depleted Sunwolves side, scoring an additional four tries.

However, Brad Thorn's men will fail to rise above 13th in the Super Rugby table.

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