Monday Jul 3, 2017 The most controversial moments from All Blacks vs Lions 2nd Test

The most controversial moments from All Blacks vs Lions 2nd Test
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Last Saturday’s Test match between the All Blacks and the Lions has certainly provided a heightened level of drama. Conditions were appalling in Wellington and the Lions came from behind to claim an epic, hard-fought victory to level the series 1-1.

Almost from the outset, referee Jerome Garces had a very challenging night. Here is a quick look at the most contentious moments from the match.

Obviously – as already discussed – the red card heard ’round the world tops this list.

It’s probably fair to say that opinions of Garces’s application here could depend on which team one favors. However, many fans, pundits, and even All Blacks coach Steve Hansen seem to think the correct call was made.

“There’s no point in whining about it. Sonny didn’t use his arms so he put himself at risk and unfortunately collected young Anthony’s head and put him at risk. So you don’t want that and the referee deemed it a red card.” 

In this case, it appears the correct application was applied and the maximum sanction (red card) was upheld. Williams was also suspended for four weeks as a result.

Another controversial moment came in the 56th minute when Mako Vunipola was sin-binned for a dangerous clear out of Beauden Barrett. It was an incident somewhat similar to the one that saw Williams receive the red card as Vunipola drove his shoulder into Barrett’s head.

However, Garces deemed the offence to be worthy of a yellow card only. One could argue the need for consistency in this instance. 

This came on the back of Vunipola clumsily crashing late into Barrett with the shoulder only moments earlier. The All Blacks received a penalty in that instance and were perhaps lucky to do so, seeing that Codie Taylor had previously gotten away with a late shot of his own on Owen Farrell.

Later, in the 59th minute of the match, Sean O’Brien knocked winger Waisake Naholo out of the match with what was announced to be a concussion. Closer inspection revealed that O’Brien had struck Naholo with his forearm. Garces allowed play to continue without review.

This was a big decision as O’Brien was cited post match, with the citing commissioner deeming O’Brien to have struck with a swinging arm that should’ve resulted in a red card. This could’ve changed the flow of the match with both teams having to finish with 14 men. 

Since the match, O’Brien was cleared of any wrong-doing as the citing was dismissed, and he should be in line to take part in the third Test match.

Lastly, in the last five minutes of the match, Charlie Faumuina was pinged for tackling replacement prop Kyle Sinckler in the air. This is in congruence with Law 10.4 regarding dangerous tackling – “Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.” 

Sinckler had jumped to receive the pass from Murray and Faumuina was just a split-second too early. Kieran Read argued that he could then, in theory, jump into a tackle next time he gets the ball, to earn a penalty. Garces ignored that comment, and the crucial penalty stood.

This of course, was all that Owen Farrell needed to slot home the winning kick.

After the final whistle there were also some unpleasant exchanges, as Sinckler reportedly didn’t want to join in the traditional guard of honour. Footage of that is scarce but it was brought up in both team’s press conferences, with neither coach knowing anything about it.

Potential controversies aside, it was a thrilling match that hung in the balance until the very end. We now have a series decider in the All Blacks’ fortress, Eden Park, treating the fans to a great amount of excitement in the week’s buildup to the match.

Watch highlights from the match

36 Comments

  •  heavyhooker
    heavyhooker

    A few months ago when we had many penalties for jumping to retrieve kicked balls I stated that eventually teams will start throwing high so the receiving player had to jump to get the ball, thus forcing penalties for hitting players in the air. I was told that would never happen. Well, I see it has happened; and will happen again. The Faumuina penalty is a crock. Sinckler jumped into a pass, penalty should have been given to Sinkler.

    Reply
  •  pete
    pete

    Sincler is a prop and nearly did it, a back racing onto a flatter ball would easily landed beyond contact... But I've wasted enough of my life, so I'll leave it there.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Of course you clench your fist. It's just that, as this incident demonstrates, you don't need to in order to achieve the desired result. A clenched fist is almost certainly indicative of intent. But it does not follow that an open hand = no intent.

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    I never said you could not go forward. I said you would make so so little ground I would be neglegible, and the defense would always be able to react. What is impossible, is to make so much ground so that you would pass over the defense preventing it to act. You won't jump over/through the defense. You'll always land in front of it. But if you want to misread me, as you wish.

    Reply
  •  mastersa
    mastersa

    Ref had a great game with vast majority of decisions correct despite his sit on the fence touch judges and a TMO who loved the sound of his own voice. If only all were so good. My tiniest critism would be that he could have let advantage play out a little longer like Owens does to keep the game entertaining.

    Reply
  •  pete
    pete

    Sorry I was talking about Julian.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    have you even seen the clip? Savea is most definitely playing

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I sort of disagree with the "hand closed-ness or otherwise is utterly irrelevant", if you are putting a lot of force into a swinging arm, it feels more natural to close your fist as you're tensing up to impact.... leaving your hand open is somewhat unnatural. That being said, what we could possibly be seeing here is a somewhat perfected technique of hitting a maul hard, SOB probably knows entering a maul like that will probably hurt someones body parts - whether it be arm, leg, torso etc, the open hand gives him the options to grab at something after the hit - I can't quite tell if that is SOB's hand that wraps round Naholos chin - perhaps at that point he realised he'd hit a head and also seeing Naholo going down probably thought it's not a competitive situation, so stepping back was the right thing to do... Regarding the Pape strike... slightly different kettle of fish...it was 100% intentional from SOB, no way of denying it...open hand or not, look at Rory Kockett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCHeIQmqcwU flat hand...

    Reply
  •  pete
    pete

    Wow, just wow... first you argue physics and space and time wouldn't allow it. Now he didn't fly past defence? He doesn't need to just needs to be air born at point of contact, catching it a few more inches forward would have been all he needed to screw CF even it he was standing flat. And Savea wasn't even playing, I give up!!

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    Sure, he traveled meterS forward and passed through the defense while still in the air. Seriously, how far did he travel? If not tackled, he would have landed in front of Savea, who stepped forward too, which means behind the advantage line - with a poor body position, ribs exposed, etc. He hardly flew over the defense. Moreover, if you watch closely, Savea and Crockett even had time to adapt, change pace and directions - so hardly bemused defenders.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    He took two steps before the ball was passed, or just as it was passed, when Sinckler jumps and takes the ball, Faumuinas feet are planted.

    Reply
  •  pete
    pete

    Vlad - this close up vid sure does look like impossible physics were achieved.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    they are if you don't wrap your arms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNDZkUaE03A

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    you are allowed to make contact with a maul. just to run up stop and lean wouldn't really achieve much. The contact with the head is the key part. I don't think anyone would care if O'Brien hit a leg or a back when he hit the maul - just a shame it met his head seems like were going round in circles complaining about the use of arms, no use of arms. the world of rugby needs a little bit more clarity

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    Let's have a pint and start over again. Except I quite agree with you this time.

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    Nope, you STAND in the way, arms open (no shoulder charge ambiguity), take the hit into the upperbody and complain to the referee. Hence, the jumping player will always look worse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn8k_4PC3WI

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    Not true, he took at least two steps forward.

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    You could also draw a parallel between Vunipola and Retallick's 'clearings' (21:29). Seems to me, Barrett is better at drawing the referee's attention.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    I was going to mention that but decided against. He gets out in a hurry doesn't he. No going for the turnover or the counter ruck. Just flee the scene - nothing to see here officer. Not saying he meant to whack him, but he knew he had.

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Yah, this "open hand" defence is a bit troublesome, but you hear it often. As if you can only injure someone with a closed fist. SOB KO'd him with the forearm, so hand closed-ness or otherwise is utterly irrelevant. It tells us nothing wrt intent.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Has this chalked up as a chop tackle, but using your description and watching again, you're 100% right!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Did not realise chop tackles were illegal :O

    Reply
  •  rememberthemer
    rememberthemer

    Next time a player gets the ball from a ruck 1m out, he should jump-run onto the pass. The opposition will have to let him waltz through to score or tackle him and concede a penalty try + yellow card.

    Reply
  •  joeythelemur
    joeythelemur

    Watch the image loop mate, it shows both of them. Handy comparison!

    Reply
  •  joeythelemur
    joeythelemur

    What I never realized before is that Faumuina's feet never move forward. He's the defender and ready to tackle and is standing his ground, albeit leaning forward at impact. But you'd hardly expect a defender to lean back in a tackle, right? But according to this ruling, because Sinckler has jumped, Faumuina is supposed to stand straight up in order to legally tackle him? He didn't go exceptionally low and even though Sinckler is in the air, he hits him mid-thigh. Sorry, I just don't get this rule being applied in every single instance and it's a shame that the deciding points came from a penalty like this one.

    Reply
  • Why did you not include the charge down on Farrell? This came before the Barrett one, which Vunipola clearly stated as confusing.

    Reply
  •  kiwiinnorway
    kiwiinnorway

    Very true. I am just a bit weary of there being a sudden increase of balls that need to be caught whilst jumping. In this case, I am not sure why he jumped. You could say that if he didn't he would have been prone, ie. a poor past would have compromised his team. Instead a poor pass lead to him gaining a penalty. Just a possibility that others may exploit this weakness in the laws.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    chop tackles were supposed to be penalised with red cards from a couple of seasons ago. i remember a Japanese prop being sent off shortly after for barrelling into someone's knees. of course they still exist in the game, but so does stamping and gouging. as for the landing, yes I am serious. it's not his head or neck, but tacklers have a duty of care to ensure a safe landing. there's no attempt to wrap and arm and its a shoulder charge. in faumuina's defence, he didn't have control of the tackle due to sinckler being in the air, but I don't think lack of intent is relevant in todays game - the outcome was sinckler had to land on his own after being thrown in the air which is at least a yellow card

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    there's a difference between catching in the air vs. already holding the ball and jumping. the only difference between sinckler's jump here and a full back taking a high ball is that one is from a kick, the other a pass. you are entitled to jump for either and deserve protection in each case

    Reply
  •  kiwiinnorway
    kiwiinnorway

    SBW had a choice, made the wrong one - left the ref with no choice. Mako vs Barrett (in ruck) - Mako was lucky he missed or he would be done for the rest of the tour. Not a clear head first contact, but pretty close. Taylor vs Farrell - minimum a penalty, have seen people get yellows for that. - surprised/disappointed it was missed Mako vs Barrett (kick) - minimum a penalty, have seen people get yellows for that. SOB vs Naholo - minimum a penalty, have seen people get yellows for that - surprised/disappointed it was missed Charlie vs Sinckler - this is the interesting one for me and could open up a whole can of worms. When I first saw it I thought the penalty was within the laws. But looking at it now, I am not sure he had to jump. If you think of it from that angle, then we start to get into trouble. My understanding was that if you intentionally jump into a tackle, you can be the one penalised (as it is considered dangerous play). If you read the earlier comment above, isn't it possible that players will then start jumping into tackles and face-planting themselves to win penalties and cards? Based on what Read was saying straight afterwards to the ref, do not be surprised if the ABs give that ruling a little test in the future. I don't really think that it is within the spirit of the game and would be a bit of a bummer to see a match decided on that (whoops, too late now).

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    ok, but over analysis and knowing everything is pretty acceptable... but I really truly hope you weren't being serious by suggesting that it could have been a yellow because he nearly landed on his head/neck... I mean that is a stretch surely... Have chop tackles actually been taken out of the game though :/

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    and the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone..... its soft based on rules from 5 years ago I agree, but chop tackles have been cut out of the game + you have to take responsibility for the guy you lift or take out in the air over analysis and pretending to know everything are key attributes of ex players and arm chair rugby fans. you cant try to deny a bit of rugby geekiness in the middle of a lions tour ffs

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    I'm going to interpret this post as ironic, because if it's serious, then I'd be shocked. Faumuina's exceptionally unlucky penalty is essentially the result of a grey area in the laws of the game where there's insufficient clarity regarding jumping in open play. Saying it was anything more would be quite exaggerated.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    in terms of consistency of refereeing decisions the only two incidents that are near identical, but had different outcomes, were the charge downs on BB and Farrell.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    "interesting that in the game, nothing was made of sincklers landing" ....no it's not...it's decidedly uninteresting.... Dear Lord what is going in this world... I mean I made a comment about how it's good to analyse the game as rugby fans all over will tend to do, but talk about over analysing... "very close to landing on his neck and head"....really....I mean REALLY.... yeh sure, his back is connected to his neck, neck connected to head and all that...so they're in the same region as each other, but for crying out loud that is about as soft as it comes if you start calling that a yellow.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    you could argue that the Faumuina tackle is the worst of all the above. without considering the fact sinckler is in the air, its a no-arm chop tackle. interesting that in the game, nothing was made of sincklers landing. one leg is above the horizontal and he is very close to landing on his neck and head. I'm amazed that this didn't get checked by the TMO and it should have been a yellow card

    Reply

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