In recent years the IRB has reevaluated the head high tackle situation. Last season referees were told to consider at minimum a yellow card for high tackles (ie anything above the shoulder) and that referees should not use contextual judgement when considering a sanction.
Its clear that nobody told Fiji that during the recent Pacific Nations Cup. During the match against Japan they were penalised time and again, with all three match officials in action, as at times it seemed they were set on attempting to decapitate their hosts.
The commentators (typical Antipodean hoons) seem to be watching a State of Origin match from the 1970s rather than the game in front of you – and their commentary is somewhat comical. After the first red card they lambast the referees for a “controversial” decision. But sheepishly change their collective minds when the replay shows the poll-axe tackle that flattened the Japan centre.
The reckless tackling left Fiji struggling to keep players on the pitch, with 2 Red and 3 Yellow cards, meaning they finished the game with just 12 players on the pitch. There is definitely work underway to clean up rugby (except in France!) but it is a contact sport. That said – Fiji should have learnt their lesson with the first Yellow Card.