Booth backs spear-tackler

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London IRISH head coach Toby Booth defended Steven Shingler after the centre was sent off during the first half of last night’s 24-18 Heineken Cup defeat to Cardiff Blues.

Former Scarlets back Shingler was shown a red card by referee Jerome Garces after 19 minutes for an ugly spear tackle on opposite number Dafydd Hewitt.

Booth said: “The young lad is devastated. There was no malice in it. He is a young man coming back to Wales, wanting to impress.

“The guy jumped up and if you are not quite in control of your emotions or are just a little bit off with your timing, that is the outcome.

“The safety of players is paramount. These are big physical people playing a very tough game. But if you are out by a fine margin you can pay a heavy price and we have seen that.”