Referee Nic Berry shows a red card to New Zealand’s Ofa Tu’ungafasi, right, for a dangerous tackle.
Prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi has become the fifth All Black sent off in a test match, dismissed for a high tackle on Wallabies wing Tom Wright in the 22nd minute of the Bledisloe Cup test in Brisbane.
It was a call made by Australian referee Nic Berry guided by Kiwi TMO Paul Williams.
In a dramatic opening to the test, Australian debutant Lachlan Swinton was dismissed only 12 minutes later, reducing both sides to 14 men.
Swinton, the blindside loosie on debut, was pinged for precisely the same error as the All Blacks prop.
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The officials considered the initial point of contact was on Wright’s chin. Tu’ungafasi had Wright lined up as he ran straight toward him.
All Blacks No 8 Ardie Savea ankle tapped Wright, so that he dropped into the tackle, but the officials felt there were no mitigating circumstances. Tu’ungafasi was shown a red card in his 39th test.
Under the World Rugby rules it constituted an illegal tackle causing head contact, where head contact is identified by clear contact to ball carriers head/neck OR the head visibly moves backwards from the contact point OR the ball carrier requires an HIA.
Swinton fell foul of the same rule when he was sent off for a similar tackle on All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock. Neither tackled player had to leave the field injured.
On the tick of halftime Australian wing Marika Koroibete was sin binned after the Wallabies conceded a series of defence penalties.
Scott Barrett was the fourth All Black to be sent off in a test match after a receiving a red card just before halftime in the opening Bledisloe Cup test last year.
French referee Jerome Garces, who also sent off Sonny Bill Williams in Wellington in 2017, gave Barrett a red card after a no arm tackle on Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper.
Cyril Brownlie (1925), Colin Meads (1967) and Williams are the only other All Blacks sent off.