A decision not to punish a high tackle during Saturday’s international between the Maori All Blacks and Samoa has been seen as a positive by some fans and players.
Chiefs centre Alex Nankivell made a clean break half way through the second half in Auckland when Samoa replacement D’Angelo Leuila put in a high shot on the 24-year-old.
The collision was nasty and following a TMO referral it was deemed to be direct contact to the head with force, however referee Mike Fraser did not punish Leuila because of mitigating circumstances.
On referral it appears that Nankivell trips prior to contact, which Fraser suggested left Leuila no time to adjust and because he was in position to make a legitimate tackle, no foul play had been committed.
Fraser explained to both captains on the pitch: “We have got some head contact however we do have a significant dip, the Samoa tackler is trying to make a legitimate tackle and he’s low and wrapping, so we’ve got no foul play. Yes there’s head contact, but it’s a significant drop so he can do no more.”
agree with that, Alex Nankivell tripped after the tackler had committed. i hope hes okay though #MABvMSM
— kirst (@fornairobi) July 3, 2021
Absolutely there was nothing wrong with the technique and nothing he could have done to prevent what happened.
— Wellington Rugby Guy (@HYoungWelshKiwi) July 3, 2021
Mike Fraser absolutely on point tonight. #MABvMSM
— Will Kane (@willytk007) July 3, 2021
However despite getting away with this incident, Samoa’s Mamea Lemalu was sent to the bin moments earlier while flanker Sam Slade’s yellow card just before half time cost the the visitors.
In the end it was the Maori all Blacks who won the game 38-21 and full match highlights are available below:
This result follows Samoa’s 35-10 defeat in the same fixture last weekend in Wellington and their next match will be a World Cup qualifier against Tonga.
Nankivell was a star performer in Saturday’s clash and has been in fine form for the Chiefs in recent games. He earned his debut for the club side in 2017 and has amassed 43 appearances since. Saturday was Nankivell’s fourth game for the Maori All Blacks.