This incident caused a fair bit of discussion during New Zealand’s 36-22 second Test win over Wales on Saturday, as winger Waisake Naholo collided with opposite number Liam Williams in the air. Welsh fans were incensed, adament that Naholo should have been yellow carded.
Both players went up for a crosskick and as Williams got there first, Naholo made contact with him in the air, causing the Welsh winger to land badly. In fact both players landed terribly, but the heated ‘debate’ began to see if Naholo was really going for the ball, or was actually reckless.
We ran a quick poll on twitter for a few hours to see what our followers though – hoping to get a few neutral votes too – and the results actually turned out pretty close, however the majority did feel that Naholo was lucky to get away with this one.
The thing that added fuel to the fire was the way that referee Jaco Peyper spoke to Kieran Read, appearing to almost check with the All Blacks captain if he was okay with the decision. We’ll never know exactly why Peyper said that but what we do know if that it certainly didn’t look good.
Some grumbling about Naholo not being carded for midair clash with Williams. Your (neutral preferably) view of it?
— Rugbydump.com (@Rugbydump) June 18, 2016
There was an incident roughly ten minutes later in the match that further angered the Welsh, as Naholo shoulder checked Williams after the impressive winger nudged a kick ahead.
Replays showed that there certainly was contact, but Williams also milked it a bit so that always makes it more difficult to judge. “He went down as if he was shot” said New Zealand commentator Grant Nisbett.
Some fans didn’t see that as relevant though, with “What will it take to get this guy yellow carded?!” appearing to be the common sentiment on social media, as tensions ran high in a Test match that Wales had competed in for at least 60 minutes.
The poll is no longer active but now that the dust has settled a bit please feel free to weigh in on the discussion – let us know what you thought of both decisions, and if they were well handled or you think that Naholo should have been sinbinned for at least one or the other.
Naholo shoulder check on Williams: