Counties Manukau halfback Augustine Pulu was sent off on Thursday with just five minutes left in their Mitre 10 Cup contest with Manawatu. The former All Black was given his marching orders by referee Glen Jackson after he flew in with a high swinging arm on Jade Te Rure.
The dangerous tackle unfortunately overshadowed a sublime piece of play by centre Lewis Marshall, who stepped infield to draw three players before offloading out the back to Te Rure with a perfectly placed no-look pass.
There was a nice moment after the red card though, as Pulu went over to apologise to Te Rure.
We saw Pulu hit the headlines as recently as last week, when he got himself in trouble with the referee for ripping the protective padding off the post. As you do.
The scrumhalf and former Sevens star has also been known to hit hard over the years, as seen here but also back in 2014 when playing for the All Blacks, as he smashed USA hooker Tom Coolican.
Then just a year ago, Pulu was on the Sevens circuit with the New Zealand team and upset USA speedster Carlin Isles when he made a thumping crash tackle on him in Sydney.
So while this one against Manawatu was clearly illegal, it’s tempting to say that it can be refreshing to see a rugged number nine throwing himself about the park, no matter the size of the opposition.
Despite Counties missing Pulu for the last few minutes, they hung on for a 29-24 win.
UPDATE: Pulu was suspended for two weeks