It was a miserable Friday night in Auckland for the Otago Highlanders as they lost yet another match, going down 29-18 to the Blues. Ma’a Nonu had a forgettable night, starting with this shoulder shot on former Hurricanes team mate Piri Weepu.
Despite seemingly haiving all the ingredients for success, the Highlanders are having a horrible time so far in this year’s Super Rugby competition. They sit bottom of the log after eight rounds, and the game against the Blues was another frustrating one for them.
Ma’a Nonu was sinbinned for a reckless tackle on All Black and former Blues and Hurricanes team mate Weepu midway through the first half. Referee Steve Walsh, who made use of the TMO on regular occasion throughout the match, originally chose to only penalise Nonu for the offence.
Ali Williams took exception to that, and could be heard saying to Walsh that “If it’s a deliberate and illegal charge, then it’s a card surely?”
“You can’t guy nice on Ma’a because you and him have got beef,” he added. Walsh seemed to listen, and after having watched the big screen replay and given it some further thought, changed his mind, and showed Nonu the yellow card after all.
The Highlanders conceded two tries during the time that Nonu was off, cancelling out their early 10-0 lead. Weepu suffered no ill-affect from the hit, other than being winded, and went on to score two important tries in the second half.
There were no hard feelings between the two All Blacks though as they were seen chatting and laughing on the field after the game, and big hitter Nonu later tweeted a photo of the two hanging out in the changeroom, saying Weepu was the better man on the night.
They have been mates for ages, as is evident in this hilarious clip of Nonu falling off his chair.
In other news from the same game, George Moala has been banned for a week for the tackle he made on Buxton Popoali’i. The Highlanders wing was knocked out cold from the hit.