Since the weekend we’ve learnt two things. One is that Richie McCaw has been named IRB Player of the Year again, and the second is that Welsh flanker Andy Powell was not cited for his high shot on the All Blacks captain.
The latter has surprised many as it looked by all accounts to be somewhat of cheapshot, a swinging arm that connected with McCaws jaw, flooring him unceremoniously. Somehow the ref and his two assistants missed the incident, as did the citing officer.
McCaw, clearly shaken, took a while but shrugged off the knock in typical fashion before giving Powell a bit of a death stare. If you look carefully you can see Powell indicating that it wasnt high, but the video seems to indicate otherwise.
As brought up by New Zealand commentator Grant Nisbett, a year ago Dan Carter made a tackle against Wales that wasnt quite as bad, but he was treated like a criminal, booed by the fans at the Millennium Stadium and vilified in the press afterwards.
Powell dodged a bullet on this one somehow, with referee Alan Lewis only signalling a scrum for the McCaw knock-on as he dropped the ball in the hit.
The consummate professional that he is, the All Black captain got on with things, leading his side to the Grand Slam win and since having taken a well deserved IRB Player of the Year award. He probably shouldn’t have got it last year, but this time around there arent too many other players who can rightly challenge for the honour.
Do you agree with the award, and what are your thoughts on the tackle going unpunished?
All Blacks pushed by Wales but end with another Grand Slam (Nov 2010)
Three high tackles, Three entirely different outcomes (Nov 2009)
Wales fail to capitalise on chances as All Blacks triumph (Nov 2009)
Andy Powell huge hit on Duane Vermeulen (June 2009)